Wedged in among big screen releases, Marvel Studios took an interesting turn in 2011 and starting doing what they called One Shots, which were short, direct-to-video stories, mostly focused around SHIELD, designed to support the larger narrative and tell little stories with some of the supporting characters.
I’m focusing on two of those One Shots here – The Consultant and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer.
The Consultant was produced to air sometime after The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2, and features a heavy dose of Phil Coulson. It was included with the Blu-Ray of Thor, so even though in continuity it feels like it comes before Thor, if you saw Thor in the theaters, you didn’t get a chance to see this One Shot until afterwards.
That can be an important distinction when you think about “First Appearances” because infamous SHIELD agent Jasper Sitwell (revealed to be a Hydra sleeper agent in Captain America: Winter Soldier) appears in both Thor and in the Consultant. I’d say Thor should be considered his first appearance, even though within continuity, The Consultant happens first.
This One Shot is interesting as its shot with a combination of new footage as well as recycled footage from the previous films. This allows Tony Stark, General Ross, and Nick Fury to tell more of their story alongside Coulson and Sitwell, creating a pretty neat tale which considers whether or not Emil Blonsky should be freed from prison and considered as part of the Avengers Initiative. It’s a neat little “one off” story that is by no means required watching, but it certainly extends the Cinematic Universe nicely and fleshes out some minor characters a bit more fully.
Like The Consultant, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer is a release that was included with Captain America: The First Avenger, yet within continuity certainly appears to occur either before or during the Thor film. It features Coulson interrupting a robbery of some kind and showing off some of his fighting skills rather than just focusing on his “Secret Agentness”. It’s a short one shot, and certainly fun to watch, though like The Consultant should not be considered required watching.
For folks who have been watching Agents of SHIELD it may not seem like a big deal to see a pair of One Shots focusing on Phil Coulson, back during the early days of the MCU, he was a popular (but under utilized) character, and the fans were eating up every little appearance he made. Funny how things can change, and now you can pretty much watch him every single week on ABC.
Neither of these One Shots are “must watch TV” to be sure, but they’re short little snippets that add just enough little spice to an already rich universe, and considering they came bundled with the Blu-Ray, it’s tough not to appreciate the extra touch.
Check out the Other Posts!
- Revisiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 12 – Ant Man
- Revisiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 11 – Avengers (Age of Ultron)
- Revisiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 10 – Guardians of the Galaxy
- Revisiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 09 – Captain America (Winter Soldier)
- Revisiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 08 – Thor (The Dark World)
- Revisiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 7.5 – All Hail the King
- Revisiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 07 – Iron Man 3
- Revisiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 6.5 – Item 47 and Agent Carter
- Revisiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 06 – The Avengers
- Revisiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 05 – Captain America (The First Avenger)