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Koh, Wilson: "‘I am Iron Man’. The Marvel Cinematic Universe and celeactor labour." In: Celebrity Studies 5.4 (2014), S. 484–500.
|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Koh2014
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Keywords: Adaption, Comic-Verfilmung, Figur, Film, Marvel, Superheld
Collection: Celebrity Studies
This article analyses why assertions of superheroic identity, textually privileged yet seemingly redundant, occur during the climatic moments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe origin story films, and why producers often cast lesser-known actors as leads in them. Drawing upon the fields of celebrity studies and media industry studies, this paper considers these two questions to be interlinked, and accordingly proposes a two-part answer to them. It first considers what these non-A list stars bring to superhero origin movies with regards to existing economic value, degree of fame, and star trajectory. It thus reads the casting of lesser-known stars as leads in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a canny strategy by Marvel Studios to manage paratextual star narratives and trajectories, the verisimilitude of the onscreen fantasy, and the studio’s present and future bargaining leverage. Subsequently, this paper argues that this combination of producer strategies is an updating of the oneiric climate that Umberto Eco has compellingly argued to be a structural necessity for texts which operate within the superhero metagenre. These combined strategies are read as treating the superhero as a postmodern star, asserting the primacy of the character – as opposed to the actor – as the primary attraction for the present and future audiences of these franchises.
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