When Marvel Studios finally executed its plan of teaming up various individual film characters into one big movie, The Avengers, it was a smashing success to the tune of $1.5 billion. After that, the studio turned its attention to the small screen with its first self-produced TV series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The show was met with a less-than-enthusiastic response, and while faithful viewers say it found its footing in the latter half of its freshman season, much of the show’s look-in audience had already abandoned it.
And so it’s with a certain mix of anticipation and caution that fans await Marvel’s upcoming series of Netflix shows. The studio will kick things off with a 13-episode Daredevil series, followed by Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage and culminating in a 13-episode team-up season of The Defenders. Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos recently spoke a bit about the shows, revealing that a crossover into the MCU “has been talked about” and confirming that the Netflix plan is modeled off The Avengers. Much more after the jump.
“It was really based on the theatrical model of The Avengers. Could you take another group of characters, The Defenders, and go about it the same way? Normally they do the big movie and then eventually they get to the group origin story. Having 13 hours to tell each of these stories, you can go right to the origin story and the action at the same time.”
While comic book adaptations on television are nothing new, some fans of shows like Smallville and Arrow would regularly hope that those iterations of the characters could maybe get the big screen treatment with the backing of a major film studio like Warner Bros. However, the truth is that while these shows get solid ratings for their respective networks, they’re not near strong enough to warrant putting $100 million into the same cast and creative team to make a movie. Frankly speaking, these shows were cast for TV, not the big screen.
However, Marvel could be looking to change that up with its series of Netflix shows. When asked whether these Marvel Netflix characters could crossover into the movies, Sarandos simply replied:
“It has definitely been talked about.”
The casting has certainly been strong on the first Marvel series, Daredevil, nabbing Vincent D’Onofrio to play Kingpin, Charlie Cox as Daredevil, and Rosario Dawson in a supporting role, and one imagines they might fit in quite well with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, the fact that original showrunner/writer/director Drew Goddard left the project in the middle of pre-production is a bit disconcerting (and don’t tell me he left because of “scheduling conflicts” with Sinister Six—he had plenty of time to complete Daredevil before moving to that feature).
Could the same creative struggles that plagued Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. be prevalent in Marvel’s Netflix shows? Time will tell, but speaking about Daredevil specifically, Sarandos says they’ll be going a bit darker:
“The series will not be afraid to go darker than the film did. What we love about this particular set of heroes is that they’re a little more down to Earth. Costume wise and also in that these are gritty crime stories, more in the streets than in the clouds.”
I’m hopeful that the Netflix model will be more befitting a Marvel television series than network TV, and it’s certainly an ambitious prospect to build towards a mini-Avengers on the small screen. Next up after Daredevil is Jessica Jones, run by executive producer Melissa Rosenberg, so it will also be refreshing to have a major female presence in the comic book universe. The major task, obviously, will be ensuring that these shows are genuinely good.
What about you, readers? Would you like to see these Netflix characters crossover into the MCU? Sound off in the comments below.