With the recent casting of Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin in Marvel’s Netflix series Daredevil, it’s clear that Marvel Studios is putting some serious thought into the casting and preparation of their impending Netflix shows. Alongside other creations Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist, Daredevil will crash onto the scene representing the “street level” characters of the Marvel movie-verse. “Street level” characters are essentially those heroes who operate in New York City, leaving the giant alien hordes and universe ending calamities to superheroes like the Avengers. The heroes that will be featured in Marvel’s Netflix endeavor tend to focus their fights on ninjas, gangs, drug dealers, and kingpins, fighting hand to hand rather than firing off repulsor rays or Asgardian hammers.
Should this first round be successful, Marvel will most likely be looking for additional properties to add to the roster. I’ve come up with some ideas for other Marvel characters that would fall nicely into this stable of heroes in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC.
Moon Knight has been called Marvel’s answer to Batman on many occasions, and certainly, this is the case in a lot of ways. Marc Spector, Moon Knight’s secret identity, is wealthy, dons a mask and cape to patrol the cityscape, and has no powers outside of his fighting prowess and gadgets, but there is one significant difference which separates Moon Knight from the Dark Knight. Moon Knight’s nuts! Now granted, dressing up as a giant bat after your parents are murdered in front of your eyes in order to brandish your own style of justice certainly takes a dash of insanity to accomplish, but Mr. Spector suffers from split personality disorder. Moon Knight and Marc Spector are only two of the personalities bouncing around in his head, as he also has to share headspace with the personalities of Steven Grant the entrepreneur, Jack Lockley the taxicab driver, and Khonshu, GOD OF THE MOON. He’s a weird character to be sure and in recent memory, had the personalities of Captain America, Wolverine, and Spiderman contending for his body (Marvel Studios owns one of those, so you could just replace the other two with Iron Man and Hulk).
In terms of villains who he could contend with, there’s….Bushman! He also has to fight the likes of Chainsaw, Werewolf by Night (when else would a werewolf be?), and Midnight! ….Look folks, they can’t all be winners, ok? The great thing about Moon Knight is the fact that he’s his own supporting cast. Marc Spector is a one man show if Marvel were to play up the insanity angle. Recent creators, Warren Ellis and Declan Shavley, have created a Moon Knight who still retains his insanity, but fights a world that is just as crazy as he is. From technological underground monsters to supernatural dream corpses, Spector lives in a world of vignettes, as the audience is dropped into the middle of a story to hammer home the madness of his life. While Moon Knight is certainly off the beaten path for a major motion picture in the vein of Iron Man, I think it could find its home on Netflix.
Now bear with me on this one as there have already not one, not two, but THREE movies dedicated to the Punisher. Surely, after all these attempts, it’s time to put the skull bearing sociopath to rest? Well my friends, you would be wrong as there is a wealth of stories and avenues that a show would be perfect for Mr. Castle’s endeavors. As you probably already know, the Punisher is the story of Frank Castle, veteran of a few wars, who comes back to witness his family killed in front of his eyes during a day at the park. Vowing vengeance against law breakers, he vows to spend the rest of his days hunting and killing mafiosos, drug peddlers, and super villains in general. So what to cover that hasn’t already been covered in the three movies? Well first off, it needs to be played 100% serious. Having the Punisher move someone’s car so they get parking tickets isn’t going to fly, as we need a Frank Castle who is drowning in misery and darkness. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel for Castle and he knows it, methodically hunting each of his targets and sternly languishing in the actions he has to perform. Think of it as Dexter with heavy artillery.
The best example of the Punisher you can find was in the Marvel series entitled, Punisher Max. In it, the Punisher was almost a supporting character to an ensemble of characters and situations that would fall into his lap. From fighting a russian slave trade to a seemingly unstoppable mercenary named Barracuda, Castle’s world was exceptionally black and white. What made these stories so strong was how not only did Frank come up against insurmountable odds, but also the lives of his enemies and regular people that were affected by the Punisher. When Castle saves a woman from the russian slave trade in the story arc, “The Slavers”, you follow what happens in this woman’s life shortly after, to devastating results. This would be a show that would be the first truly “Hard R” installment Marvel Studios would offer. Whether or not a Disney-backed Marvel would be willing to take the plunge is beyond me, but I’m still keeping my fingers crossed.
CLOAK AND DAGGER
Steering a bit back from the gloom and doom of the previous entries in this list, Cloak and Dagger are heroes who have bounced around the Marvel Universe but have never really found their footing in terms of retaining their own series. Sure, they’ve shown up in issues of Spider-Man and even been X-Men for the briefest of stints, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a number of consecutive stories where the two hold sway. Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen are two teenagers who are injected with a synthetic drug that grants them super powers, allowing Tyrone/Cloak to access the “Dark Dimension” from his seemingly endless cloak and Tandy/Dagger to shoot daggers of light at enemies. Their names are a bit on the nose, sure, but their abilities and visuals are often quite compelling and they tend to offer a view of New York City that you wouldn’t see as often from the likes of say Spider-Man or Daredevil.
Cloak and Dagger are essentially always on the run, fighting crime and trying to determine what they want to do with their lives. They’re not in it for the fame or fortune, but it would certainly be nice as they’re usually interacting with the homeless population of NYC. This would be the best way to present a potential Netflix series, again, focusing on an area of the Marvel universe that isn’t often explored. Much like Moon Knight, they don’t have much of a rogue’s gallery to speak of, but there’s plenty of options from the Marvel roster to toss their way. The most interesting part of the show would be to explore how truly alone these two characters are aside from having one another. Their powers make it impossible to function in everyday life, and there isn’t an Xavier’s School of the Gifted for them to rely on in the Marvel movieverse. They would definitely be up there in possibilities for offering a fresh take through the Netflix deal.
Man, is Sleepwalker ever weird! One of Marvel’s 90’s creations, Sleepwalker tells the story of an alien who inhabits the body of 20-something Rick Sheridan, who uses their newfound relationship to fight crime on the streets of New York City. The catch? Sleepwalker can only appear once Rick goes to sleep. Should Rick wake up, Sleepwalker instantly disappears, only able to re-emerge after Rick has conked out once again. As a kid in the 90’s, devouring any comic book I could get my hands on, Sleepwalker was one of those concepts and characters that was so out there, I had to get the next issue every month and really, its the best way to play it for a potential series. The concept itself is so ridiculous that you would have plenty of opportunities to play up for laughs as Rick desperately tries to knock himself out to stop a fire or save a kitten in a tree by using an alien who doesn’t really get mankind all that well to begin with. Sleepwalker as a concept contains so many different moving pieces, such as the fish out of water story with the alien, the growing up a teenage hero with Rick, and fighting crime on the streets of New York City.
Sleepwalker has had an appearance here and there since his original series was canceled during the 90’s comic boom, but its hardly been much to speak of. Its a concept and character that a Netflix series could approach with a new take, injecting new life into something that has languished for a few decades. Plus, who doesn’t want to see a frog faced hooded crime fighter burst forth from a teenage boy’s head??