As one of the biggest and most successful film franchises of all time, Marvel’s approach to developing an interconnected film universe has seemingly revolutionized the way superhero films are being made. Creating a shared universe with elements that crossover and interconnect individual films (culminating in perhaps the ultimate “team-up” film, The Avengers), this approach to filmmaking changed the way characters and storylines are developed. Marvel’s foresight has resulted in a long-term plan for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which at this point consists of three distinct phases.

With that said, there has been relatively little exploration of how this approach to filmmaking affects both the stories being told and the way they are being consumed by audiences. This collection seeks to investigate these issues, but in a way that mirrors the approach that Marvel has laid out for its properties. To that end, this edited collection is the first in a proposed trilogy of books, each volume of which will explore a distinct phase of the MCU and dissect how the characters evolve, how storylines grow, and how the success of the franchise continually expands the scope of the stories being told. Specifically, this proposed collection will look at Phase One of the MCU, which is comprised of the following films:

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • The Avengers (2012)

While a number of chapters have already been completed for this collection, we are still looking specifically for the following:

  1. Hawkeye/Black Widow – How do the non-super powered Avengers fit into the MCU? Are their roles different given they lack any paranormal enhancements?
  2. Villains – What role/function do the villains of Phase One play in the MCU and/or how are the depicted?
  3. Franchise building – How has the MCU shaped other comic book properties’ approach to film narrative (DC, X-Men) or other properties in general?
  4. Linkages – A general look at how different elements of the MCU (Tesseract, Nick Fury, Coulson, S.H.I.E.L.D.) are used to bridge films and create a cohesive cinematic universe.
  5. A limited number of other topics will be considered. Please e-mail with questions regarding topics not listed above.

Please note: the chapters contained in the collection will focus exclusively on events in Phase One of the MCU, so discussion of development or events from subsequent films should be avoided.

Chapters should be 5,000-7,000 words (MLA format, no footnotes or endnotes please) that fit into one of the above sections. Article abstracts (500+ words) and a brief CV should be submittedto Dr. Kristin Barton at kmbarton[at] Submissions with detailed outlines or in draft form will be given stronger consideration.