Marvel One-Shots are a series of direct-to-video short films produced by Marvel Studios, set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). They are included as special features in the MCU film's Blu-ray and digital distribution releases, and are not included on the DVDs.
The first two films star Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, and offer up self-contained stories about a day in the life of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. The third film stars Lizzy Caplan and Jesse Bradford as a down-on-their-luck couple who find a discarded Chitauri gun after the events of The Avengers. The fourth film stars Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger. The fifth film stars Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery after the events of Iron Man 3.
In August 2011, Marvel announced a couple of short films would be released direct-to-video. Co-producer Brad Winderbaum said "It's a fun way to experiment with new characters and ideas, but more importantly it's a way for us to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe and tell stories that live outside the plot of our features." The first two films were made in conjunction with The Ebeling Group, being directed by Leythum and written by Eric Pearson.
Marvel Studios co-president Louis DíEsposito reiterating this idea stating that the goal of Item 47 was to "expand the world and show you the more human elements of it". He continued that Marvel is wrestling with the idea of introducing established characters who may not yet be ready to carry their own feature films in future One-Shots, saying, "Thereís always a potential to introduce a character. We have 8,000 of them, and they canít all be at the same level. So maybe there are some that are not so popular, and we introduce them [with a short] Ė and they take off. I could see that happening".
In July 2013, DíEsposito said he considered making stand-alone shorts for several characters, including Loki, a young Nick Fury, and Black Panther. Regarding Loki, DíEsposito said "Being on Asgard is very difficult for us to do in a short. Itís just impossible for us cost wise. The short would be 30 seconds, and itís over. One shot of Loki on Asgard." On Fury and Black Panther, he remarked "Itís very complicated to do: who plays those characters? And designing the costume, getting it going Ö We tried. We were there in development, and we tried, but they were very difficult for all the reasons I gave. And we donít want to do something thatís half baked because itís not good for us and itís not good for our fans." During the Agent Carter panel at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International, D'Esposito stated it is being considered to bring the shorts to the theaters, appearing before features.
In October 2013, Ben Kingsley said he was working on a secret project with Marvel involving "many members of the crew that were involved in Iron Man 3," later revealed to be the short, All Hail the King. In a February 2014 interview with Total Film, Drew Pearce mentioned other shorts that he wrote that never came to fruition including ones based on Sin, Crossbones and Damage Control.