The Walt Disney Company (DIS): “Man of Steel” May Be a Hit for DC, but Marvel Just Changed the Game

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Marvel took my advice. Sort of. Robert Downey Jr. will be back as Tony Stark and Iron Man, but only for two sequels to last summer’s Marvel’s The Avengers.

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)The deal, undoubtedly big, will pair the actor with writer and director and Joss Whedon at least once more in hopes of turning the Avengers franchise into something lasting for The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)‘s Marvel Studios. I like the odds, if only because creator continuity typically leads to really great comic-book stories.

RDJ returns as Iron Man in Avengers 2 and 3. Source: Marvel Entertainment.

Need an example? Let’s take the obvious: writer Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard. The pair won the Eisner (the comics industry’s top award) in 2010 for Best Continuing Series for The Walking Dead, which has seen more than 100 issues in its 10-year run and which today serves as the source material for AMC Networks‘ top-rated drama of the same name.

Whedon, too, knows the benefit of continuity, having won a similar Eisner for his work alongside artist John Cassaday in a 24-issue run of Astonishing X-Men. He also wrote and directed seven seasons of the acclaimed TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Star Sarah Michelle Gellar appeared throughout.

Promo poster for the first season DVD set of Buffy. Source: 20th Century Fox.

Movies tend not to enjoy this sort of continuity because it can take two years or more to make a film. Committing to, say, a trilogy is tantamount to committing a decade of your life to one massive project. Actors and writers — especially the successful ones — tend to avoid such professional straitjackets.

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