In a few months, I'll be tuning in to get a weekly briefing from Agent Phil Coulson of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, or S.H.I.E.L.D. Walt Disney's (NYSE:DIS) ABC network will air Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.EL.D. Tuesdays this fall.
I won't be the only one watching. An @AgentsofSHIELD Twitter account has more than 42,000 followers as of this writing. There's also a meme going about -- #CoulsonLives -- for nerds celebrating the return of Clark Gregg's character from the dead to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Count me among the thrilled. Gregg, as Coulson, doesn't just offer expert timing and comic relief in the Marvel Studios films. He's one of the two principal onscreen faces of S.H.I.E.L.D., along with Samuel L. Jackson as Director Nick Fury. They're like glue that binds the characters who come together in Marvel's The Avengers.
Having Gregg back opens a range of possibilities for moving the story forward. Having those stories play out on TV creates a Rule Breaking dynamic that puts Disney ahead of its big studio peers.
CEO Bob Iger and Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige have effectively given Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Joss Whedon cross-medium access to build a universe that engages fans even as they wait for the next film. Every episode becomes a potential preview. Mix in comic books and games, including licensed properties, and you've got the makings of a narrative that engages fans daily.
Can you imagine Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) making a similar deal for the Hunger Games series? I can't. Of the major studios, only Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) has the infrastructure to build a similar cross-media universe for its DC Comics characters. For example, Stephen Amell's Arrow -- a hit for Warner's CW network -- could appear in a 2015 Justice League feature film.
Will that actually happen? I'd bet on it, especially if the full episodes of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. play as well with fans as the trailer has:
Are you looking forward to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Do you consider Disney a Rule Breaker? Please leave leave a comment to let us know what you think of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and whether you'd buy shares of Disney at current prices.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple, Google, Rackspace Hosting, Riverbed Technology, and Salesforce.com at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.
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