Transmedia storytelling of Marvel Universe

In order to determine the basic features and symbolic functions of film genre, it is necessary to research the image symbolism, such as the superhero’s tights. The genre of the images is not only used to make sense in the use of a particular style of film, but is essential to the exposition of the story being told. The Marvel superheroes movie is a part of a film genre based on the Marvel Universe transmedia storytelling. Transmedia storytelling requires a complete and unified view of the world. The Marvel movie is adapted from Marvel comics, which already have many complex characters with developed relationships and backgrounds. The Marvel Universe is a standard specification, which is also the basis of the Marvel film formation as an industrial chain and business model (Schatz, 1981).


The Avengers (2012)

In The Avengers, the causality of the plot may be common to other transmedia storytelling works. Thor appears suddenly in a flash of lightning and kidnaps another character, Loki. Only audiences with a prior knowledge of Thor would know that Loki is Thor’s brother, who has exiled Thor to the earth. Hence Loki also comes to the earth for revenge on Thor. In this form of transmedia storytelling, the core elements in the construction of a complete world view through different media are the characters.


Thor (2011)

Jenkins notes in his book that “A transmedia story unfolds across multiple media platforms, with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole. In the ideal form of transmedia storytelling, each medium does what it does best—— so that a story might be introduced in a film, expanded through television, novels, and comics; its world might be explored through game play or experienced as an amusement park attraction” (Jenkins, 2006:95-96).


The unity of the characters provides modeling and visual symbols. In transmedia storytelling works, the audience are able to enrich their understanding of the characters through different media.


The network of Marvel’s transmedia storytelling utilizes almost all of the audience platform. In the era of media convergence, the use of the multimedia platform and the concentration of capital has become an inevitable trend. For example, even computer generated pictures are comparable to real life scenes in high-definition movies, but film and games obviously have different media characteristics. Transmedia storytelling uses the advantages of the different medium which influences the audience’s emotional interaction with the characters. This draws audiences to explore the story one more time, and results in higher sales (Long, 2007).

Written by Yilei Peng


Eco, U. (1985). ” Casablanca”: Cult Movies and Intertextual Collage. SubStance, 14(2), 3-12.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. NYU press.

Long, G. A. (2007). Transmedia storytelling: Business, aesthetics and production at the Jim Henson Company (Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

Schatz, T. (1981). Hollywood genres: Formulas, filmmaking, and the studio system. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.

Images*&imgrc=pEOKe2kUTRALPM: [Accessed 26 February 2017]. [Accessed 26 February 2017].*&imgrc=ygg98AdnD5H-DM: [Accessed 26 February 2017]. [Accessed 26 February 2017].*&imgrc=LTcKtz78AV8ZIM: [Accessed 26 February 2017]. [Accessed 26 February 2017].


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