ByRob Taylor, writer at
Rob Taylor

There has been some concern among Marvel fans in recent days, with rumors being reported by Bleeding Cool that Marvel Studios may be about to pull the plug on two promised projects, namely the Inhumans movie and the Iron Fist Netflix show.

While there is no confirmation and the article, frankly has little in the way of actual evidence, it has been enough to upset a lot of people.

Importantly, however, Marvel have not come out and said anything themselves. This in itself is not an issue, as they rarely address rumors. However there may be a reason they are keeping quiet at the moment. There has just been a somewhat acrimonious parting of the ways between Marvel Studios/Disney and Marvel, disbanding of the "creative committee" that was allowing the comic side of Marvel input to the movies and cutting away Isaac Purlmutter out of the loop completely.

It is not impossible that these two projects were, as suggested, "his" babies, but it is unlikely that would affect the decisions. First off, let's look at why Inhumans could be a casualty.

Since it's addition to the MCU slate, Inhumans has had basically one name linked to it. Vin Diesel.

Diesel has long been teased for a mystery live action role, on top of his "I Am Groot" duties for Guardians Of The Galaxy. The most obvious role, and the one he himself seemed most interested in was that of Black Bolt, the king of the Inhumans whose very voice can shatter a city.

On paper, it is a great idea - take a guy who is currently voicing another character and have him acting without his voice for much of the film. Diesel's name would be enough to guarantee interest in the concept and the strong work done on Agents Of Shield would help get people ready for this new franchise.

Except then something wildly unexpected happened. Furious 7 OBLITERATED the second Avengers film at the box office.

Much was initially put down to it being Paul Walker's last role, and while that played a big part in people seeing the movie, Diesel himself finally got to "that" level with this movie. Becoming the driving force (no pun) intended of a franchise that could have simply disappeared with Walker's death, it now seems totally recharged with fans and Hollywood alike. Diesel is apparently even being eyed to write and direct Fast 8 and 9.

Which is a little awkward for Marvel and it's Inhumans plans, as Vin may, quite legitimately feel he has to see through the Fast series to it's conclusion and now pass on Inhumans.

It means Marvel are scrambling to find someone who can carry this character and new franchise as it's front man and lead an ensemble in a relatively short space of time. Genuinely it might be just too much of a stretch to do for the original release date.

It's possible that Captain Marvel's moving back is related to this, as they're preferred star, Emily Blunt is seemingly going for Mary Poppins as well. The deferral could be so she can do both. But with at least two more Fast movies on the horizon, it's not looking good for Inhumans right now unless some spectacular casting can be done quickly.

Personally, I think they can salvage it without Vin Diesel, there are some great actors out there, perhaps skewing a bit younger than planned. I could totally see Daniel Radcliffe in the role of Black Bolt, rising to his role as king and facing off against his brother Maximus. Sure it's been done with Thor to an extent, but with Inhumans already established, they could easily bring Chloe Bennett and Clark Gregg in as link characters to differentiate. Will they?

I'm not sure - there is also one other factor that might kill off The Inhumans.

The success of the Spider-man deal with Sony, and the difficulties Fox are going to face once [X-Men: Apocalypse](tag:1194267) is done with in keeping their talent could mean that a Marvel/Fox deal is likely. Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender are quickly becoming too expensive, while not on the level of the Avengers cast pay-wise, Lawrence especially can name her price. Channing Tatum is a clear attempt at replacing rather than complimenting the stars of the franchise.

Marvel/Disney have two things in their favour, a lot of cash incoming from Star Wars this year, and the TV rights to X-Men that Fox wants. It is entirely possible that after the Star Wars money hits in January (you know it'll do 2 billion in record time) then they make a straight cash offer to Fox, perhaps offering those TV rights as an incentive, agreeing to wait until Phase Four before unleashing Mutants on the MCU. If that happens then a likely casualty would be Agents Of Shield and it's Inhumans - as Fox would want a clear run at ratings for that period of time. If the X-Men can be in the MCU, then why are Inhumans needed?

So, between these two situations, Inhumans is probably not gonna happen.


Iron Fist is a different kettle of fish.

The rumor is that Marvel are "purposely" making this difficult to get made and there are some easy to see reasons. Of the 4 announced shows, Iron Fist is one that "fits worst" with the tone set for the MCU and Netflix shows.

Daredevil, Jessica Jones and thus Luke Cage all appear to be quite dark in their tone, where as Danny Rand is a far more colourful hero. That he's also another "Billionaire Playboy" is gonna cut right across DC's Batfleck and RDJ's Tony Stark, potentially diluting Iron Fist's impact.

It's also possible that there have been issues casting Iron Fist. Indeed only 2 names have really come up, the biggest being Ryan Phillipe.

As Iron Fist is a heavily martial arts based character, whoever gets the role will need to spend a good period training if they don't have it already and frankly Netflix/Marvel may not have found that person yet.

There is also the addition of The Punisher to the MCU and the inevitability that he will also get a show. Could they have decided THAT is a safer bet than Iron Fist? Or even that the "mystical aspects" could be handled by a Doctor Strange involvement in The Defenders? Absolutely.

The wildcard here however, is Netflix.

Marvel/Disney can advise, make difficult but the one thing Netflix hasn't really done yet is let its subscribers down and they don't want to start with something like Iron Fist. Not following through with an announced show, that has been hyped and referenced in Daredevil already would not only look bad on them, but could be seen as "bait and switch". It's never good business to renege on something you've promised, while studios have that luxury and TV can often kill a series after a few episodes Netflix really doesn't work that way, they are less concerned with success drivers that Marvel and Disney may be looking for and to them, Iron Fist, while potentially not as successful long term, could be a one season story that gets them a lot of interest from fans of martial arts.

In short, Netflix committed to a season of Iron Fist, so are very likely to want to produce that one season, even if the character doesn't become a fixture in the MCU.

The way to make that work?

Cast Jean Claude Van Damme as Danny Rand!

JCVD has enough star power and enough martial arts ability to hit the ground running in a later episode of Luke Cage. His accent lends itself to growing up in "Shangri La". His signing would generate interest and they can "give it the season". Mike Colter and Van Damme would make an interesting pairing and they could potentially make any second season of both Luke Cage and Iron Fist as a Heroes For Hire show.

Or... as I think they should do, they have Iron Fist as the older member of The Defenders who dies in the series - perhaps at the hands of an uber villain for their next TV phase. Van Damme would be perfect in that role, people would watch to see him killed and its impact on the Netflix TV universe.

Marvel might not like that outcome, but it is better for them than Netflix not making Iron Fist, having been promising it for two years. Not even a Punisher or Blade show would salve the upset fans and it would put Netflix in a difficult position. They just took most of their "big movies" off to fund shows like this, now they're not making them? It's a surefire way to lose subscribers and that's what THEY care about, not Marvel Studios wants and whims.


Which do you think will be cancelled?


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