Marvel To Restructure Their TV Division Lending Credence To Claim That New WGA Deal Would Eliminate Woke, Diversity Hires
A new report details that Marvel Studios is restructuring its Disney+ television division lending credence to the claim that the new Writers Guild of America (WGA) deal would eliminate woke, diversity hires.
Screenwriter Script Doctor detailed how the WGA deal would eliminate woke, diversity hires during an appearance on Midnight’s Edge Midnight’s Edge in the Morning show.
He explained why this would be the case, “So basically what we are seeing here from the youngins is there’s going to be less, possibly less opportunities for them especially in something like the pre-greenlit or mini rooms. And that comes down to two factors that I can think of right now.”
“The first one is that the current MBA clearly defines that a showrunner has to be a union writer,” he said. “So it can’t be an internal executive producer like a Kevin Feige. It also gives them a bit more power in to who they select for the writing positions in the minimum staffing mini rooms and it also says that whoever they select has to be approved by the company or the showrunner has to argue for them to be involved.”
“Now, with regards to those rooms, you have showrunners that would only– a real showrunner, a good showrunner is only going to hire writers that they are going to get value out of in their room. Which means that if you are diversity hire and that’s all you’ve got going on you are of no value to a showrunner which means you are not going to get your ‘guaranteed hire’ over there. And I think that’s a good thing,” Script Doctor elaborated.
As for his second point, he detailed, “The other aspect with regards to the contract pertaining to mini rooms is that the compelled hiring has now increased– the compelled hiring and the extended timeframe for which they have to work on the show, which is like the minimum of 10 weeks.”
He explained, “That essentially turns the mini room into something more expensive than the traditional model of developing a pilot, producing the pilot to be screened before an audience test to see whether or not it’s actually going to be good, and then giving it the greenlight to go into an actual series order. The mini room basically tries to force a hit show within a six episode, or eight episode, or ten episode structure, get it all written before any of it is filmed, and then push it out there.”
He then provided an example, “You can take a look at a pilot like Ahsoka and say to yourself, ‘Okay, that’s a show that was done in a mini room. It was done by one writer Dave Filoni. And if you put that through the pilot test there’s no way it would have been picked up for the remainder of the episodes.’ And that’s a good thing. You don’t want that.”
“So, right now, it looks like mini rooms are kind of being, for the moment, they’ll be kind of priced out on a budget side of things from the studios because it’s more lucrative and less risk for them to actually go back to shooting a pilot, testing it, and then determining whether it’s going to be given a series order as opposed to building a show in a limited amount of time and then just pumping it out for you to be stuck with it, and can’t control, develop, or change it based on audience reception,” he elaborated.
Script Doctor then asserted, “And when you have those types of orders and you have the showrunner being in charge of it and picking the writers they want to work with and being able to argue why they need it for the benefit of the show, you then basically exclude any of the writers in town that are not going to be of value to you.
“And I think everybody listening and gentlemen on the panel know those types of writers are not going to be lasting in this industry because they’re not qualified. And I think that’s great. I think that’s great that there’s less jobs for them because that gives me a better chance for having more job opportunities,” he concluded.
This new report notes that Marvel Studios will be moving away from the pre-greenlit model where they approve an entire show and put it into production without producing a pilot and having it tested to determine whether it should be greenlit or not.
Borys Kit at The Hollywood Reporter explains, “Showrunners will write pilots and show bibles. The days of Marvel shooting an entire series, from She-Hulk to Secret Invasion, then looking at what’s working and what’s not, are done.”
They also plan on hiring seasoned full-time TV executives to run their TV operations instead of borrowing from their film division.
Marvel’s head of streaming, television, and animation Brad Winderbaum confirmed these changes noting, “It’s a term (showrunner) we’ve not only grown comfortable with but also learned to embrace.”
He added, “We need executives that are dedicated to this medium, that are going to focus on streaming, focus on television because they are two different forms.”
As far as his overall outlook with these changes, he explained, “We’re trying to marry the Marvel culture with the traditional television culture. It comes down to, ‘How can we tell stories in television that honor what’s so great about the source material?’”
This report also comes in the wake of comments that Bob Iger made in a CNBC interview back in July. Iger was asked by CNBC’s David Faber, “Is there a problem though at Disney Animation? Is the loss of John Lasseter years ago been a blow that you haven’t been able to recover from?”
He answered, “Well, first of all, the studio and its movie assets are number one at the global box office so far. That said we are extremely realistic and I’m very objective about that business. There have been some disappointments. We would have liked some of our more recent releases to have performed better.”
“It’s reflective not a problem from a personnel perspective, but I think in our zeal basically grow our content significantly to serve mostly our streaming offerings we ended up taxing our people way beyond, in terms of their time and their focus, way beyond where they had been,” he explained.
He then specifically used Marvel as an example, “Marvel’s a great example of that. They had not been in the TV business at any significant level. Not only did they increase their movie output, but they ended up making a number of television series.”
“And frankly, it diluted focus and attention. And I think you are seeing that is more the cause than anything else,” he stated.
What do you make of this new report that The Walt Disney Company is abandoning their Disney+ TV model for a more traditional linear TV model? Is this a signal that woke, diversity hires are on the way out and Marvel might return to quality storytelling?