Each of the eight episodes will be directed by a noted actor or filmmaker.
Disney+ has a broad variety of content at this point—family shows, animated films, The Mandalorian, and so on. But there’s a distinct, Disney-specific formula that has emerged for the streaming network’s original series: documentaries talking up the cultural importance of Disney’s own brands and the creative contributions of the filmmakers, artists, and so on behind those works.
That continues with a new series titled Marvel’s 616; Disney just released a trailer for the show today.
616 will span eight episodes, each directed by a filmmaker of some prominence (some of them more widely known as actors, actually), and each focused on a different aspect of the world of Marvel comics and films and the fandom thereof. In some ways, it sounds a bit like the Marvel version of other self-promotional series like Disney Insider, Disney Gallery / Star Wars: The Mandalorian, One Day at Disney, and The Imagineering Story.
The first episode is directed by esteemed documentary filmmaker David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi) and is focused on the modern-Internet-meme-worthy cultural phenomenon that was “Japanese Spider-Man.” The Japanese version was a licensed character who differed in significant ways from his Western counterpart but who, nonetheless, made a cultural splash in his target market at the time.
Other filmmakers attached to the series include Paul Scheer, Gillian Jacobs, Clay Jeter, Andrew Rossi, Sarah Ramos, Brian Oakes, and Alison Brie. Other episode topics range from cosplay culture to high school plays based on Marvel properties, along with profiles of the women who have played a key part in creating the worlds and characters of Marvel and an exploration of lesser-known or forgotten Marvel characters.
All told, Marvel’s 616 looks likely to be the best-produced, most robust effort at cranking out documentary content about some of the world’s most popular comics, movies, characters, and stories—and thus, it may be of particular interest to those immersed in geek culture. The show’s title might seem odd to those who don’t live and breathe comic books, but “Earth-616” is the name used to describe the main timeline and canon of the Marvel comic book universe.
The series will premiere on Disney+ on November 20.
Listing image by Disney / Marvel