ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, one of the greatest things about living in 2015 - aside from running water, modern medicine and the absence of saber-toothed tigers - is the fact that it's entirely possible to spend as much time as you could ever want embedded in whichever cultural realm you so choose. If you love sports, there's every chance you'll never run out of ESPN. If you love vampires, there're fifteen new novels being self-published every day, with every other one likely being made into a movie. If you love nature, every week is now basically shark week.

If your great love is the world of comic book and sci-fi geek-dom, though, you may actually have the best deal of all - with TV networks, movie studios, publishers and toy-makers now queuing up to produce more and more content each day.

Still no Squirrel Girl series, though...
Still no Squirrel Girl series, though...

Which, for all the issues that remain in terms of diversity, and for all the complaints we hear about superhero movie fatigue, is still a ridiculously awesome thing.

One, in fact, which might just be set to get even more awesome - since Disney CEO Bob Iger just revealed that:

Disney Could Create Specialized TV Channels For Marvel and Star Wars

Yup, that's right - as Iger revealed at a recent Disney Investors Conference Call:

"We have said that with these channels and these brands -- ESPN, ABC, Disney, maybe even down the road something related to Star Wars and Marvel -- we do have an ability as a company to take product, specifically filmed entertainment, television, movies, directly to consumers."

Which sure sounds to me as though Disney is seriously considering the creation - albeit not in the immediate future - of dedicated TV channels for two of their biggest properties - the Marvel Universe, and a certain Galaxy Far, Far Away.

The big question, then?

What Would That Mean?

Well, on the Marvel side of things, it wouldn't actually change all that much. Between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Agent Carter, the numerous animated Disney XD shows, the in-development John Ridley-produced series and the horde of Netflix shows that're en route, Marvel isn't exactly under-represented on the small screen.

For Star Wars, though, it could well set in motion an avalanche of televisual awesomeness - with the likes of Star Wars Rebels being joined by countless other shows, exploring the vast depths of a Star Wars canon that's lost its 'Expanded Universe' of background tales.

The most important element would likely be the basis on which the channels were launched - with it seeming a whole lot more likely that we'd see them emerge as HBO-alternatives than as new 'major' networks. Which, in turn, would have some huge consequences for their programming choices...

What, though, would we be likely to see? Well, for starters:

Worried About Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D? Don't Be...

One of the biggest changes that new, dedicated channels would bring would likely be the overhauling of the conventional network television fixation on ratings - with it being replaced by the longer-term view of the likes of HBO and Netflix, where revenue streams come via more innovative box-set and subscription-based routes.

Which, in practice, would likely mean that shows such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be able to survive on a smaller core audience of dedicated fans, rather than being forced to chase after a certain ratings target. Any new show would likely be created with appealing to a very particular demographic - all of us - in mind, as opposed to the generation of advertising revenue, and so could well find itself being shown Game of Thrones levels of faith by the powers that be.

We Could Finally See Star Wars: Underworld

After all, one of the main priorities for either channel would likely be to add as much 'adult' content as possible, so as to allow it to compete in the same market as HBO, AMC and Showtime.

Which, in turn, would make the arrival of a show like Star Wars: Underworld - the long-mooted gritty crime drama set in the Star Wars universe - a whole lot more likely, along with darker Marvel characters like Moon Knight, Ghost Rider and The Punisher.

Speaking of darker Marvel heroes...

Anything On Netflix Could Come to Regular TV

Now, one company that's unlikely to be thrilled about the idea of a whole Marvel-themed channel is the current provider of the darker end of the superhero series spectrum - Netflix.

After all, part of the logic behind them buying the rights to Daredevil (and the rest of the forthcoming Marvel series set to debut over the next few years) is that it'll drive fans to subscribe to the service. If there was another source of gritty Marvel awesomeness, that advantage would (partly) cease to exist.

Which could well work out fantastically for all of us, by prompting a renegotiation that'd allow the Netflix shows to be co-owned by Marvel's TV channel - and thus accessible to millions more fans than they would otherwise.

The biggest reason to hope for those channels, though?

The Possibilities Would Be a Whole Lot Closer to Endless

For all that it often seems that we could imagine any superhero movie or series one night, and wake up the next morning to discover its being produced by someone or other, it's sadly not quite the case.

The limitations of network television and summer blockbusters have inevitably limited the possibilities of what we can see on screen - partly explaining why the recent arrival of the darker, more complex Daredevil was so exciting. Were Star Wars and Marvel to have their own platforms on which to try out smaller-scale, riskier projects, though - as HBO, AMC and the like are - then we really could find ourselves in a position where that Squirrel Girl series we've all been waiting for could actually happen.

What do you reckon, though?



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