Marvel’s shorts have grown into a big deal.
Disney chairman and CEO Robert Iger ordered up the ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after watching last year’s One-Shot, Item 47 — a heist comedy featuring Maximiliano Hernández’s Agent Sitwell in pursuit of a couple (Lizzy Caplan and Jesse Bradford) who’ve figured out how to operate one of the leftover alien guns from The Avengers.
Also directed by D’Esposito, Item 47 was a major expansion of the previous straight-to-DVD shorts the company had commissioned, featuring Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson.
Agent Carter is another leap forward for the series, which is now delving into classic characters from the comic books … inching ever closer to utilizing some of Marvel’s superheroes. (More on that later.)
“First of all it’s a period piece. You have three fight scenes as opposed to Item 47, where we just had basically one action scene,” says D’Esposito. “We had five days – one more day than we did on Item 47 but I think it’s double in size. And also the visual style of it, that requires time. So there was pressure on us. I have people looking over my shoulder, looking at the watch saying, ‘Come on, you’re costing us a lot of money!’”
Usually that’s D’Esposito’s job. “I’m saying, ‘No, it’s fine, we can go a couple more hours here!’”
Agent Carter was one of three ideas the studio was considering in its short series. Item 47 went first because it tied directly into the aftermath of The Avengers, and Agent Carter got the greenlight because it serves as connective thread between Iron Man 3 — since it features Dominic Cooper as Tony Stark’s father — and the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
“Not everyone can be frozen in ice from that period,” D’Esposito jokes. “So it was: How do we tell another Hayley Atwell story?”
Here’s how …