As you are already well aware (unless you've lived in a cave since 2008), Marvel Studios have been a nice run of success with their characters' film adaptations. Bravely venturing into a method of film making that collaborates several different solo franchises, brings them together for one epic film, and then spits them back out into more solo films has been an extremely entertaining and rewarding experience for both audiences and the studio.
In 2008, we were blessed with the highly-praised Iron Man movie starring Robert Downey Jr., Gweneth Paltrow, and Jeff Bridges. It was thought, by the more casual movie goer, that this was just another run-of-the-mill solo superhero film like we had been seeing the past 8 years. But fans with a hawk's eye (see what I did there?) stayed for the after credits scene of Iron Man and were rewarded with this genre-revolutionizing scene:
I think it's fair to say that for those of us who were well aware of who the Avengers were, we had our minds blown. General audiences and casual fans may have dismissed this as a simple easter egg but then something else happened later that same year that really started getting the gears in people's heads turning. An appearance from Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk film.
This movie, to me, was a severely underrated film, especially within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is a shame that people don't give credit where credit is due concerning this film, as this was truly confirmation that we were going to see a shared cinematic universe. It was showing us that these heroes really were going to get a chance to interact with each other, on screen, in the future. It was all leading up The Avengers and there was no denying that anymore.
Sure, Iron Man had it's Nick Fury appearance by Samuel L. Jackson, but throughout the entire movie of The Incredible Hulk, we were treated to more S.H.I.E.L.D. references that seemed more relevant to the story, rather than just a simple tongue-in-cheek nod to comic fans in the Iron Man movie.
From that point on we were treated with so many great easter eggs that actually had meaning in films to come: Captain America's shield in Iron Man 2 (2010),...
...Thor's hammer in the after credits scene of Iron Man 2,...
...Hawkeye showing up in Thor (2011),...
...and of course, everything that led into the Avengers spiraling out of the after-credits scene of Captain America: The First Avenger (2011):
Sure enough this led to the critically-acclaimed film: The Avengers starring all the main characters and most of the original cast from the solo films (Norton replaced by Mark Ruffalo). It was a lot of fun and it was innovative in what it did. And since it's release, we've received a couple of great movies from Marvel Studios like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Of course, I thought that Thor: The Dark World was mediocre and Iron Man 3 I thought was a little disappointing. But despite some of my own opinins, these movies are making bucket loads of cash just from the name Marvel Studios and the acclaim it has in Hollywood now.
Marvel Studios is growing in a good way, not every movie has been perfect, but they just keep getting better and better for the most part. 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to probably far succeed past anyone's expectations.
But that is a long enough introduction, let's get into what I really wanted to talk about.
Marvel Studios Going Forward
Marvel Studios' ambitious have garnered it tremendous success and they are probably on Cloud Nine right now as the roll around in the never-ending revenue these films keep bringing in. In 2015, we'll see a much stranger character brought to screen in the form of Ant-Man (not as strange as the Guardians though) starring Paul Rudd, and further down the line we'll get movies like Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman, and a few other amazing characters which are just as ambitious as anything else Marvel Studios have done, if not more so.
But those future movies, as awesome as they are, aren't what I want to focus too much on, what my focus is on is Marvel Studio's involvement with Netflix in 2015. Marvel and Netflix are teaming up to release four solo, original series staring Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones.
This may seem insignificant to you if you don't know who these characters are, but that's not the point, or maybe that is the point. Perhaps with a character like Daredevil getting his own series, Marvel's trying to right the wrongs of 2003's Daredevil film and maybe with the other characters like Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones, they just want to put attention on lesser known, not-so-super superheroes. What's cool though is that each of these characters is going to get thirteen episodes each which will then lead into The Defenders series on Netflix, also thirteen episodes.
Allowing these rather obscure character thirteen episodes leaves a lot of leeway to dive into the heart and soul of each character, making them real to the audiences at home. This is actually, concerning Daredevil, a much more effective way of reviving a character. They're practically going to be getting a thirteen hour movie each. That's more than enough time to introduce characters, put them through their paces, and wrap it all up at the end of the season (personally I hope they each have more than one if they're any good).
It's also been said that the success of these Netflix original series may even lead to them getting their very own feature film; whether that's theatrical or Netflix original is unconfirmed, of course I don't know how all that works either.
But if you don't know much about these characters, I can give you the rundown of who they are based on info I've obtained from comicvine.com.
"As a child, Matt Murdock was blinded by radioactive waste while trying to save a stranger about to get hit by a truck carrying the dangerous material. In turn his other senses were heightened to superhuman sharpness and he gained a form of "radar sense". By day he is a successful trial lawyer but by night he guards Hell's Kitchen as Daredevil." ~ComicVine
Daredevil will be the first of the four series as he is probably easier to recognize even if it is because of the failed 2003 film. But I have high hopes for this show and expect great things from the actor that they cast, Charlie Cox. I also love the look of Daredevil so far. From what they've showed, Matt Murdock won't be starting his crime-fighting career off wearing red-tights and devil-horns, it's starting off as something a little more basic.
But for fans of the the classic red tights and devil horns, don't be afraid, there are rumors that ol'Horn-Head will be donning his iconic red-suit before the first season is over (with some speculated alterations).
We will also see great actors like Vincent D'Onoforio as Wilson Fisk aka the Kingpin, Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, and Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson, Matt Murdock's law partner.
Still no confirmed release date, but with the show having recently finished filming, I'm sure it won't be too long before we get a trailer with the date attached to it.
"Many of the stories that feature Jessica Jones, depict her struggle with fully taking on the role of a hero, due to her tragic experience with the Purple Man and anxiety over how best to look after her baby daughter. But together with her husband Luke Cage, Jessica is now a central figure in the New Avengers line-up and appears to have finally found a place to call home and a defining role." ~ComicVine
Jessica Jones, whose starring character is probably much more recently conceived than any of the other three Marvel/Netflix heroes, is probably one of the most unexpected announcements, but a welcome one. Avid comic readers will recognize her from her popular series "Alias" back in the early 2000s.
Jessica Jones is a very more broken character from what it sounds like in her origin and could provide a lot of awesome drama as well as action to her show and the Defender's show.
Jessica Jones does in fact have a relationship with Luke Cage, who it seems will be making an appearance in Jones' show on top of getting his own, so I wonder how and when that relationship will be explored. Will their romantic relationship begin in Jones' show, Luke Cage's, or be put off completely till the Defenders? My guess, it'll probably be in Jones' show.
It has also recently been announced that the role of Jessica Jones has been cast to Breaking Bad's Krysten Ritter. I have to confess that I haven't watched Breaking Bad, nor anything else that Ritter has starred in so I will be going into this show with no knowledge of the actor's credibility. I assume it's of high regard though if Marvel Studios and Netflix chose her to play the role of Jessica Jones.
Jessica Jones will be the show to follow Daredevil, but with no known release date as of yet.
"Luke Cage, wrongly convicted and unjustly imprisoned, was altered in a failed prison experiment that granted him bulletproof skin and superhuman strength. With his street smarts, and unending determination to do right, he fights for the common man!" ~ComicVine
I must confess, I haven't read many books with Luke Cage. I've read a few titles like Daredevil and Deadpool where he made an appearance alongside of Iron Fist as the Heroes for Hire. But I have know real sense of emotional connection to the character...yet.
I am still excited about this show because it shows us a completely new side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We've been across the galaxy in the MCU, but we haven't gotten down into the rougher street-life of the MCU and with Luke Cage coming into the picture, he's going to bring a new kind of hero to the character.
As I wondered about his role in Jessica Jones, it'll be interesting to know a few things like if Jessica Jones will be present much in the show and if so, where will the two be at in their relationship with one another or the other question would be, will Danny Rand make an appearance in the show as Iron Fist or not. It's amazing how Luke Cage could connect the other Netflix shows.
Just as Krysten Ritter was announced as Jessica Jones, it's also been announced that Mike Colter will be starring in the role of Luke Cage.
He's definitely got the look of Luke Cage, right down to the goatee. It'll be interesting just how violent his show will be since he is such a physical character. How many times is he going to get shot, stabbed, bludgeoned in this show just to show off his impenetrable skin.
I certainly hope that he and Ritter can develop an on-screen chemistry to allow for some believable, heart-felt and dramatic moments in their scenes together.
"The latest in a long line of warriors who wielded his power against the wicked, master of K'un Lun Danny Rand is the Immortal Iron Fist. He channels his anger and energy into his fist, creating a mystical glow and wielding an awesome power." ~ComicVine
I do not know too much about Iron Fist but I have been interested in reading his comics which are getting great reviews so far. Also, it should be noted that in the comics, Luke Cage and Iron Fist end up becoming a crime-fighting duo known as the "Heroes for Hire"; fingers crossed that however good the shows are, after Defenders, maybe there can be a Heroes for Hire series on Netflix.
Being the only one of the four Marvel Studios/Netflix characters not to be officially cast yet, it leaves us to question: "Who could play the Iron Fist?" Unfortunately, that's beyond my expertise since I'm not too familiar with the character myself. Here's a few that people have been mentioning for the role: Jensen Ackles, Garrett Hedlund, Justin Hartley, Mike Vogel, and Liam Hemsworth. Me personally, I'd vote for Jensen Ackles. He's just a cool dude and I want to see him in a superhero role of some sort.
Look To the Future of the MCU on Netflix
With the Netflix thing opening up countless possibities for some of Marvel's more grittier and/or lesser known characters, I have a few characters I'd really like to see get their own series. Mainly three: She Hulk, Punisher, and Blade.
I wouldn't be opposed to these guys getting their own show and/or making an appearance in one of the four original shows. I could totally see She Hulk make an appearance (not in Hulk mode) as a rival lawyer to Matt Murdock in a case on the Daredevil show, maybe make it a small case for one episode or something. I could really see Punisher going after Daredevil and them bumping heads together which really could be a series long thing for both of them. And then who knows, maybe Blade could make an appearance in Iron Fist since he deals with more the mystical side of things.
I know I've touched on these characters bit in my other article, Black Widow, Daredevil, & More: The 10 Movies Marvel Studios NEEDS to Make!, but some of that info on there is already a little out-dated and I feel that this would be the best option for the characters if they either don't get the chance to have their own movies or perhaps would provide a sort of launching pad for any one of these characters to get their own film franchise.
But there are countless other characters in the Marvel Universe that still remain untouched by other film studios that would be more than worthy enough to earn their own Netflix series.
Tying it Altogether
What's cool about them doing the Netflix thing is that it provides the audience with more and more characters without having to put a huge big-budget film, in a highly sought-after date of some kind. It also allows people to watch at their leisure. But more importantly, by adding characters via Netflix, it places so many more characters in the running to make an appearance in the highly collaborative Avengers: Infinity War movies.
Seriously, at what point will see all these characters together? And with them splitting Infinity War into two separate films, it allows the chance for a huge cast to assemble in even greater numbers than 2012's The Avengers, without feeling like they are being shoe-horned in with no backstory whatsoever.
So what do think of the Marvel Method of a shared universe branching out into Netflix? Are you excited for the Netflix series? Who would you liked to see make an appearance on screen within the Marvel Universe? Leave comments below!