It was announced a while back that Marvel had partnered with everyone’s favorite internet addiction Netflix to create four new exclusive shows based on four ‘lesser’ known Marvel characters: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. All building to a Defenders mini-series featuring all four characters!
(See the original official press release down below!)
Many moons ago, Marvel teased their fans by hinting that they would be making live action versions of these (lesser known) characters and the internet was excited… and confused. With Marvel’s movie schedule already booked up until 2018, how could they possibly manage to squeeze these characters into live action adaptations as well? Netflix to the rescue! Netflix seems to to be the perfect home for these characters. Since Netflix is not as hindered by the rating system as ABC, Netflix would allow for more edgier versions of these stories to be told, as well as allowing for more proper character development.
Marvel Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, was recently quoted on Kevin Smith’s podcast as saying that “There will be some inter-connectivity, much like the movies. They will exist within the cinematic universe again, so this is all the same world as S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers.” The climate of the Cinematic Marvel Universe has changed drastically since these shows were first announced. SHIELD has fallen. Aliens have invaded. Twice. It’s going to be interesting to see how these characters fit in to the new dynamic established with the last few movies…
For those of you who are unfamiliar with who these characters are, here’s a quick breakdown of them and how they could possibly be portrayed on the small screen.
After being sent to prison, for a crime he didn’t commit, Luke Cage agreed to undergo an experimental procedure that gifted him with ‘unbreakable skin’ and increased strength. After prison, Cage returned to the wrong side of the tracks where he was raised and began cleaning up the streets as a ‘Hero for Hire.’
Not only would a televised Luke Cage show have an African American character in a positive leading role, it would show a super hero using his powers to help out regular citizens living in the run down parts of the city. (It will be interesting the see the effect the alien invasion from AVENGERS had on the regular people of New York City.) Luke Cage wouldn’t be a super hero show about fighting giant robots in time square; It would be a show about a regular guy fighting drug dealers on the streets corners.
Daniel Rand is the orphaned son of wealthy American entrepreneurs who is raised in the mystical Kung Fu kingdom of K’un L’un and is taught martial arts under the tutelage of Lei Kung. Proving to be Lei Kung’s prized student, Daniel is given the opportunity to gain the power of the Iron Fist by defeating a dragon named ‘Shou-Lao the Undying.’ (You still with me?) Determined to use his powers for good, Daniel returns to American and begins cleaning up the streets of New York as… wait for it.. a ‘Hero for Hire.’
Besides establishing the path that would eventually bring Daniel Rand and Luke Cage together as crime fighting partners, The Iron Fist show will probably feel very much like a magical Kung Fu version of BATMAN or ARROW. The show will probably deal with Daniel Rand trying to manage the corporate empire that his family has left for him, while secretly trying to establish himself as a protector of the city. My hope is that they decide not to take the character down such familiar territory of him balancing life between super heroics and his work life and just have fully embracing his mission and abandoning his corporate responsibilities and personal life.
I think Jessica Jones is one of the more interesting choices they made. She’s a private investigator that works on the ground floor of the Marvel Universe. She has a unique take on the world, having once been a superhero herself named Jewel. Jessica is one of the few people out there who truly understands what’s going on out there. She fought along side the Avengers and helped save the world a few times, but eventually decided to turn in her costume for a ‘normal’ life. It’s a unique take on the superhero world not being as glamorous as people make it out to be and having a character consciously deciding to walk away from it.
Jessica Jones’ story was first told in Marvel’s Max series, which told the more R rated stories that took place in that world. One of the main reasons Jessica decided to quit being a hero (besides never really feeling comfortable running around in skin tight uniforms and flying around) was that Jessica was captured by a mind controlling villain named The Purple Man and basically, became his sex slave for a couple of months. Marvel can easily steer clear of this story line and simply portray Jessica as a conflicted and complex human who decided she wasn’t cut out for the the super hero life but keeps getting dragged back into it. Jessica and Luke are currently married in the comics and raising a child together.
See the connection?
I probably should have started off with the blind lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen who uses his super hero radar powers to clean up the slums of New York city. I guess I just feel like it’s the one property that comes with the most nerd emotions attached to it. After the 2003 Ben Affleck film, Marvel is definitely going to have the most trouble convincing people that this is an entirely new take on one of their more complicated characters. Having lost his sight in a chemical accident when he was younger, Matt Murdock gained a super hero like ability to sense the world around him. This accident gave him enhanced senses, which somehow increased his agility and reflexes. I’m not too clear on that part of it.
My dream would be for this show to focus more on the investigative, ‘Law and Order’ side of Matt Murdock’s personality and less on his super hero antics. Jessica Jones and Daredevil could show one side of the Marvel Universe, while Luke Cage and Iron Fist show another. I would love to see a take on Daredevil that perfectly balances his determination in the courtroom with his eternal struggle for justice as Daredevil. Putting on the costume, is sort of a last resort for Matt Murdock. Only when justices fails, does Matt take matters into his own hands. A superhero show that focuses more on the secret identity? Yes, please!
Also, he’s a blind superhero! Okay, he may not be blind in the truest sense of the word, but, he is still a superhero with a disability. Definitely a character that needs to be more mainstream.
And If that wasn’t enough! All of these shows will culminate into one mini series, involving all of these characters, called the Defenders. *DROOL*. Basically, you can have all of these shows existing independently of each other, but with a common theme that would eventually bring them all together to form a new team. The Defenders always had a magical theme to them, so, maybe we can expect Doctor Strange to make an appearance and thus pave the way for Marvel’s Phase 3. Especially since he was briefly referenced in CAPTAIN AMERICA 2.
Man.. Marvel.. You are crushing it.
These series are set to hit Netflix in early 2015!
Here’s the press release from Marvel:
Burbank, Calif. – November 7, 2013 – The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) and Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) today announced an unprecedented deal for Marvel TV to bring multiple original series of live-action adventures of four of Marvel’s most popular characters exclusively to the world’s leading internet TV Network beginning in 2015. This pioneering agreement calls for Marvel to develop four serialised programmes leading to a miniseries programming event.
Led by a series focused on “Daredevil” followed by “Jessica Jones”, “Iron Fist” and “Luke Cage”, the epic will unfold over multiple years of original programming, taking Netflix members deep into the gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Netflix has committed to a minimum of four, thirteen-episode series and a culminating Marvel’s “The Defenders” mini-series event that re-imagines a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters.
Produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Television Studios, this groundbreaking deal is Marvel’s most ambitious foray yet into live-action TV storytelling.
“This deal is unparalleled in its scope and size, and reinforces our commitment to deliver Marvel’s brand, content and characters across all platforms of storytelling. Netflix offers an incredible platform for the kind of rich storytelling that is Marvel’s specialty,” said Alan Fine, President of Marvel Entertainment. “This serialised epic expands the narrative possibilities of on-demand television and gives fans the flexibility to immerse themselves how and when they want in what’s sure to be a thrilling and engaging adventure.”
“Marvel’s movies, such as ‘Iron Man’ and Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’, are huge favourites on our service around the world. Like Disney, Marvel is a known and loved brand that travels,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “With ‘House of Cards’ and our other original series, we have pioneered new approaches to storytelling and to global distribution and we’re thrilled to be working with Disney and Marvel to take our brand of television to new levels with a creative project of this magnitude.”
This new original TV deal follows last year’s landmark film distribution deal through which, beginning with 2016 theatrically released feature films, Netflix will be the exclusive U.S. subscription television service for first-run, live-action and animated movies from the Walt Disney Studios, including titles from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Disneynature and Lucasfilm. Netflix members can currently enjoy a wide range of Disney, ABC TV and Disney Channel films and shows across the 41 countries where Netflix operates.