After plans for a Ghost Rider series on Hulu were officially nixed, it’s starting to look more and more like the entire Marvel Television experiment will flame out in the shadow of Disney+. At least as far as live-action is concerned. A new report from Variety goes into detail on the major differences between the Kevin Feige-led, Marvel Studios-produced series coming to the Disney streamer and Jeph Loeb‘s slate of live-action Marvel shows, which has been whittled down to Hulu’s Runaways, Freeform’s Cloak & Dagger, and the upcoming Helstrom.
The main difference is simply a matter of presentation. When Disney+ debuts in November, it’ll eventually play home to live-action MCU series Loki, WandaVision, Hawkeye, and Falcon & Winter Soldier, which will not only weave through the main Marvel stories on a narrative level but will also look like they could be released in theaters.
“Feige’s shows are so far beyond anything Marvel TV has been able to do,” a TV lit agent says in the report. “He has access to all of these MCU characters that the other Marvel live-action stuff just doesn’t, not to mention way bigger budgets.”
And they do mean way bigger. The Disney+ series, each aiming for 6-8 episodes, will reportedly have budgets similar to their big-screen brethren, which typically run in the $100-150 million range. (The massive saga-ender Avengers: Endgame is a bit of an outlier at a whopping $356 million.) To compare, the first seasons of Netflix’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist cost $200 million altogether.
In the wake of the mind-bogglingly bad Inhumans fiasco in 2017, The Gifted wrapping up after two seasons, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. coming to a close after 2020’s season 7, it certainly looks like the future of Marvel Television, if anything, is in animation. Besides Helstrom, the only shows the studio has in the works are the animated quartet Howard the Duck, MODOK, Hit-Monkey, and Tigra and Dazzler, which Loeb currently plans to eventually bring together in The Offenders.