Of the 23 Marvel Cinematic Universe films we’ve gotten so far, the most well-received ones have been Black Panther, the second and third Captain America flicks, and Avengers Infinity War and Endgame. It’s a stunning run of sustained consistency elite athletes and movie studios dream about and it’s primarily because of a little critically-acclaimed TV show: Community.
Except Black Panther. Community had nothing to do with that movie, I just needed to pad out the list of examples.
Those aforementioned Captain America and Avenger flicks were all directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. But before they made their way to the MCU, they were best known for directing a bunch of great TV shows, the most popular being Arrested Development and Community.
So how did a couple of TV directors go from directing some cult show to directing several big-budget Marvel films?
As it turns out, it’s because of their great work on Community, which caught the eye of Marvel boss Kevin Feige. In an interview with The Wrap, the Russos said Feige really dug the show, particularly the ‘Modern Warfare’ episode they directed which spoofed Hollywood action movies via a ridiculous paintball competition.
After catching Feige’s attention with Community, the Russos said they met with the guy and really connected “on a lot of levels” about comics and pop-culture. Next thing they knew, they were brought on to direct 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the rest is movie history.
It also explains why there are a bunch of cameos from the Community cast sprinkled in the Russo-directed Marvel films, like Danny Pudi (Abed) in Winter Soldier, Jim Rash (Dean Pelton) in Captain America: Civil War, Donald Glover (Troy) in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley) in Endgame.
Hell, Brie Larson was actually in a bunch of Community episodes and she ended up being Captain Marvel so what goes around comes around.
Now given the way Marvel works, all those Captain America and Avengers movies directed by the Russos were going to be made with or without them. But would those have been as good as the ones we ultimately got?
Impossible to say but they certainly would’ve been different, and we don’t have an Endgame quantum tunnel to travel back in time to find out what would’ve happened if someone else were the directors.
But as it stands, Community not only entertained us, it also indirectly resulted in some of the MCU’s best outings. The show finished years ago but I continue to see its value, now and for years to come.