Marvel is determined to turn our viewing habits upside down. There are those who argue that the Marvel Cinematic Universe should be viewed like a gigantic TV series and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is the showrunner. The studio’s first foray into television was the disappointing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which adhered to an episodic structure. As we previously reported, S.H.I.E.L.D. will return for a second season and be joined by the new (and more promising) series Agent Carter. But Marvel is also working with Netflix, and they’re developing series based on Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist, all of which will culminate in the miniseries The Defenders. It’s the kind of ambition we’ve come to expect from Marvel, and while they’re turning movies into TV series, they’re planning to turn network series into movies.
Hit the jump for more.
As you can imagine, Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada is in-the-know when it comes to adaptations of the company’s characters. A couple weeks ago, he said all of the Netflix series would exist within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While he still won’t go into specifics for the shows—and those specifics are probably still being worked out since the first of the series, Daredevil, doesn’t hit until 2015—he did comment on how they were taking advantage of Netflix’s all-episode premiere model [via Comic Book Resources]:
One of the advantages is really from the planning stage — obviously it’s much easier to work with a smaller number of episodes than it is with a larger number of episodes. We can sit there and look at 13 episodes and plan it out as a very large movie. It makes seeing the bigger picture a little bit easier.
You can’t deny that there will be binge-viewing. You know that there are going to be some Marvel fans that when this show premieres, they are going to go on to Netflix, and they are going to sit there for 12 to 13-plus hours, and watch the entire thing all the way through. It’s going to happen. The Netflix model offers us the advantage of being able to construct the show in a manner that is very different than a weekly network TV show. Even the way that you parse out information and reveals within the show can be different than you would on weekly TV. With weekly TV, you sit there and go, “The audience may not want to wait two or three weeks to get this particular bit of information.” Whereas with Netflix, we might be able to hold onto a particular piece of information, because they may just watch it two hours later.
It’s a different kind of construction. The simplest way to put it in comic book terms is that it’s the difference between writing a monthly comic series as opposed to writing a graphic novel. You can tell the same story within the same page count in both formats, but you may parse out that information or construct your story differently because of how it’s going to be delivered and consumed.
I absolutely love hearing this because it shows that Marvel is not only willing to make bold moves, but they know how to make those moves. They’re not simply using Netflix because it affords them freedom in terms of content; they’re also using it because they know how viewership habits can relate to storytelling. I know when I’m reading a graphic novel, I don’t put it down between chapters (unless it’s something massive).
It’s still going to be a challenge to create what sounds like a 13-hour movie, but with Drew Goddard (director and co-writer of Cabin in the Woods) at the helm of Daredevil, I think Marvel’s Netflix endeavor will be strong out of the gate.