If you’ve been paying attention to nerd news outlets today you’ll probably have already heard all about this but Marvel (and Disney) are teaming up with Netflix to bring FOUR new live-action Marvel series to the service. Yeah. Even though I already heard about this just writing out that sentence fills me with an uncontrollable amount of #feels.
I am just so ridiculously excited. I mean, I am a Marvel fangirl through and through. I have been ever since I started reading comics and I feel like the past few days have only served to validate that love tenfold. Between this announcement and the plans for the new, Pakistani-American Miss Marvel, the folks over at Marvel are doing a lot of really cool stuff and, honestly, it makes me proud to be a Marvel fan.
Let’s take a minute, though, to really think about what this Netflix partnership means. This is an incredible announcement for so many reasons.
1. It Further Validates Netflix and Online Original Programming – And Encourages More
First and foremost, this is a huge show of confidence in Netflix. Not that this confidence is unfounded. Considering the undeniable success of House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, Netflix has shown that it can hold it’s own next to the major players on traditional television. Still, it’s kind of a shock to hear that ABC Television will be developing four Marvel series plus a miniseries for Netflix. It makes some amount of sense, of course. It’s risky to put a new show on TV and Marvel can sort of avoid a measure of that risk by putting the series on Netflix where weekly ratings aren’t a concern and the shows can stand on their own merits.
So far shows have done very well on their own on Netflix. And I can’t imagine that five programs developed by Marvel will do anything but flourish and sell tons of subscriptions (or at the very least ensure that people renew). Adding these shows to the online streaming offerings can only strengthen Netflix’s position as a provider of new content which, in turn, could lead to additional shows. Proving that shows like these can do well online could encourag other content producers to move to Netflix instead of risking their ideas floundering on network television after pitching to a major network.
All I can think is… what if Firefly had this opportunity back in the day?
2. It Provides Increased Potential for MCU Interconnectivity
Part of the reason I’ve always loved Marvel is how absolutely connected the whole Marvel universe has always been. Superheroes in Marvel don’t exist in the sort of mini-vacuums that so many DC characters do. They do more than just exist in the same universe. They are more than just friends of convenience who come together in times of crisis. Their relationships get develop in the pages of individual series and – especially with the Avengers characters – it’s impossible to go more than a couple issues without someone else popping up or at the very least being mentioned.
I mean, these sorts of connections are constantly being made. Franklin Richard was the occasional fifth member of the Power Pack. The Thing served as a character witness for mutant and former new Warrior member Vance Astrovik in his murder trial. Tony Stark came over to help Clint Barton with his Christmas decorations. When Iron Man came out I don’t think we really knew just how crazy things were going to get. I don’t think anyone really expected an Avengers movie down the line.
Now, though, we’re constantly promised on-going, multi-character, multi-film relationships and plots. Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones will all have thirteen episode runs before the Defenders mini-series which will bring the four characters together. But considering how closely entwined Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’s stories become it is hard to imagine that we won’t see all four of them popping up from time to time in the other series.
3. It Gives Us Marvel the Opportunity to Explore Even More Characters
Not all Marvel characters can handle a movie on their own. There are plenty of awesome ones out there but they just aren’t worth the risk on a cinematic level. We get to see these characters now and again as secondary characters in cartoons and TV shows but rarely do we get a chance to see them developed on any size screen the way we do in the pages of comics. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD has already started to try and integrate comic characters into it’s show but even then they don’t get much development. Graviton has been teased as a future villain, perhaps, but so far even he hasn’t seen much action.
This deal with Netflix could change all that.
If these three shows and the miniseries do well it’s not hard to imagine that Marvel would like to recreate that success. There are plenty of other characters to draw inspiration from, too. Marvel has a massive catalog of characters and super-powered teams out there that are just begging to see a live action adaptation. While we may never seen a cinematic adaptation of the Runaways or New Warriors what’s to say we won’t see one on Netflix? It’s also, technically, a potential way to bring Spider-Man into the MCU for real instead of just through the non-canon Spectacular Spider-Man. Marvel still owns the television rights to Spider-Man…
4. . It Sets Up the Possibility for Star Wars TV Shows on Netflix
Think about it. We’ve heard rumors about a Star Wars live action series for years but it still hasn’t happened yet. Usually the excuse is that it would cost too much. But so far Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD has been managing okay on network television and Netflix offers a freedom that most shows don’t get. With that in mind, we may someday see a Star Wars TV Show on Netflix if the Marvel shows work out. It’ll depend on how well they are received and how much money they probably make down the line in DVD sales and what not.
But we know that Disney is already open to telling new stories. They have already announced standalone films about a few characters and there are plenty of stories to be told out there. The extended universe showed what could be done with the Star Wars canon and now Disney had it’s own opportunity to play around in the massive playground that is the Star Wars Universe.
Think about it. We’ve had the Clone Wars series, sure, and we’re supposedly getting the Star Wars: Rebels series next. Animated is fine but I can’t give up on the possibility of alive action Star Wars series. And the fact that Marvel – whose extension of their franchises has generally been done in an animated format – is bringing live action series to Netflix gives me hope.
Needless to say, I’m extremely excited about all of this. I love Daredevil and Luke Cage and Jessica Jones are like one of the best comic book couples ever. I’m really looking forward to them and I really hope they don’t get cancelled for some reason – like Agents of SHIELD’s ratings continuing to drop. Marvel has done amazing stuff so far and I really believe that the freedom that Netflix offers could ensure that these shows and the subsequent miniseries are amazing. I’ve always said Daredevil would do better as a TV series – Matt Murdoch has a larger story to be told than can be fit into just two hours. He’s not as easy to approach as a character as the bigger names are – like Iron Man, Captain America, etc. He’s well known but… he’s also more complex. And now they have the opportunity to show people that.
Really, I just can’t wait. I’m hoping it all works out because right now Marvel and Netflix are making media history.