With 2 seasons of Daredevil and the first season of Jessica Jones firmly in the books, we're starting to look forward to what's still coming. It's a good problem for Marvel and Netflix to have, for there to be so many fans itching for more. The love we all have for Marvel and what we've seen so far leads us to wonder the seemingly ever-present question of - what's next?
Before we get into what's coming, let's look at the Netflix Universe that we have so far. Our first character was of course, Daredevil, and through his "eyes" we are introduced to a story bigger than his fight against Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. The Kingpin for the protection of Hell's Kitchen. Through Daredevil's first season (and the second as well for that matter) we met the mystical collective known as The Hand, and started learning about that bigger story that was developing in the shadows of Hell's Kitchen. Daredevil was the opening monologue for a much darker truth that I'm hoping is revealed in the culmination miniseries The Defenders. Daredevil's story is expanded on in Season 2, and we really get into the grit and darkness that surrounds Matt Murdock.
After our introduction to Daredevil, we met Jessica Jones. Now, her story doesn't really cross over into the mystical world that Daredevil introduces with The Hand and The Chaste (the mystical sect fighting against The Hand). Jessica Jones tells a story that serves as a lynch-pin of sorts. Her story opens up Hell's Kitchen and shows that there is still evil lurking on the streets that isn't related to The Hand directly. Through Jessica Jones we meet more characters that could possibly play a bigger role moving into the future. Jessica Jones's cast of supporting characters includes: Patsy Walker (Hellcat), Will Simpson (Nuke), Jeri Hogarth and Luke Cage (Power Man). We know that Luke Cage will have his own solo series in the back half of 2016, but because of Jessica Jones we know that Hell's Kitchen, and all of New York for that matter, has a lot more going on than just what's happening with The Hand ninja clan. That is an important concept to remember as we move into what the future holds for Marvel's Netflix Universe.
The future is, quite honestly incredibly open for Marvel and Netflix when you think about it. Neither Jessica Jones nor Daredevil followed one specific story arc from the comics. Instead they took the 'spirit of the characters' and expanded on them in what Vincent D'Onofrio, who portrays Wilson Fisk, explains as a "13-hour film rather than a television series." As I already stated, Luke Cage is set for his introductory series and after that we will meet Iron Fist sometime in 2017, which will continue on that trend by Marvel. Then we will watch as all 4 characters: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage & Iron Fist come together as The Defenders. With that in mind the new question becomes:
Where does Marvel go after The Defenders?
Here's my theory: After the Defenders, Matt Murdock loses it, and I mean seriously loses it. He becomes so consumed with bringing an end to The Hand, that we get introduced to the Shadowland story arc. Now, if you have no idea what that story involves, I suggest going and reading the original comics because my synopsis won't do the story any real justice, but here goes.
Shadowland is a five-issue set of comics with four tie-ins, four more one-shots and two issues of Thunderbolts. The Shadowland saga ultimately shares the tale of Daredevil as he returns to Hell's Kitchen after traveling to Japan and becoming the leader of The Hand. Yes, that's the same ninja clan that he fought so hard against before. After he returns to Hell's Kitchen, he becomes a warlord of sorts as he establishes a castle/temple/prison and enforces his leadership over everyone within his reach. His friends and allies now are in conflict with his now even more brutal methods (killing Bullseye). His once allies, still holding out hope for his redemption, learn that in reality he has become possessed and is merely a pawn of the mystical sect of ninjas, The Hand.
Shadowland would be a way to introduce several new characters as well as act as a continuation for our current list of characters. In Shadowland Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Elektra, Kingpin, Colleen Wing, Misty Knight, Spider-Man, Moon Knight and even The Punisher all play a role in the story. So it would be easy to see Marvel take another set of 4 shows and have them tie into another culmination mini-series which would be Daredevil: Shadowland.
The four shows that I would use to usher in the Shadowland story are:
The Punisher (Season 1)
After Jon Bernthal's exquisite performance in Daredevil season 2, I'm itching for more of The Punisher on Netflix. A show following The Punisher would work well as the first series following The Defenders because by then we'd be into 2018. By then we'd be itching for something a little different than the ninja infused story that we've seen in Daredevil and what we'll likely in Iron Fist and The Defenders. The Punisher could also serve to introduce a new player in New York: Moon Knight. Now a lot of people want to see Moon Knight in a solo series, and even I called for it at one point, but I'm redacting that thought. Moon Knight plays a role in Shadowland, but more as an outside force and not a primary character.The Punisher solo series could follow Frank Castle as he faces off against his own consortium of antagonists in a way similar to what Daredevil did with it's first season.
New characters to be introduced: Marc Spector (Moon Knight), Jen Cooke, Elite (Vigilante Squad).
Old characters to be revisited: Matt Murdock (Daredevil), Wilson Fisk (Kingpin)
Iron Fist (Season 2) & Luke Cage (Season 2)
I think Iron Fist's development is more important to the outcome of Shadowland, but both are important in the grand scheme of Marvel. Although, since we don't really know anything much about either of their first seasons, it's difficult to anticipate where the second seasons will go. Yet, if the first seasons focus on the origin stories and attempt to ground the characters in Hell's Kitchen/New York City, then hopefully this is how each season two could go.
Iron Fist season 2 would bring in a deeper delving into the mysticism of The Hand as well as K'un Lun since Daredevil sort of introduced the two as being connected thanks to Madame Gao (Crane Mother). Hopefully, in the second season we'll be introduced to a much clearer picture of what is truly going on in the deepest, darkest part of The Hand itself. The Defenders may face off against the Hand in their mini-series, but I believe that that won't be the end of the story there.
New characters to be introduced: Master Khan, Scimitar, Misty Knight, Colleen Wing
Old characters to be revisited: Madame Gao (Crane Mother), Davos (Steel Serpent), Jeri Hogarth, Shang-Chi (Master of Kung Fu)
Whereas Luke Cage would bring a more grounded story that could incorporate Jessica Jones, seeing as in the comics the two eventually become married and have a daughter. Season 2 of Luke Cage could follow Luke as he deals with his past and Jessica's as well. I think Luke Cage season 2 will be more focused on Luke's search for answers in his own history and ultimately facing off against the other ex-soldiers that Doctor Burstein had also experimented on as well as learning about what is coming thanks to Daredevil.
New characters to be introduced: Jack Daniels (Spear), Mitchell Tanner (Warhawk)
Old characters to be revisited: Doctor Burstein, Jessica Jones, Willis Stryker (Diamondback)
Heroes for Hire (Season 1)
Normally Heroes for Hire is associated with Iron Fist and Luke Cage, but I think switching it up and going with the more current collection of characters would be more beneficial to the fruition of Shadowland. After both Luke Cage and Iron Fist moved on from Heroes for Hire, two women initially stepped in: Colleen Wing and Misty Knight. The two women join forces to start their own private innvestigation agency, Nightwing Restorations, Ltd. The partnership turns into a full-fledged team as Shang Chi, Buchanan Mitty (Humbug), Maria Vasquez (Tarantula) and Felicia Hardy (Black Cat) all joined to form Heroes for Hire. Heroes for Hire is a revolving door of team-ups which could be a fresh take for Marvel's Netflix Universe. A Heroes for Hire series could brighten the tone a bit before we move into the darkness of Daredevil: Shadowland, and focus on the various other villains and corruption that ultimately leads Daredevil to take the mantle in his castle in Shadowland.
New characters to be introduced: Shadow Stalker, Felicia Hardy (Black Cat), Maria Vasquez (Tarantula)
Old characters to be revisited: Daniel Rand (Iron Fist), Luke Cage
Shadowland (Mini-series Special)
This is where it would all come together. With the introduction of the characters above, we would have enough of the characters from the comic arc for it to not venture off too far from the established story. Shadowland would primarily follow Daredevil on his quest to Japan and his return to Hell's Kitchen. Shadowland would bring Daredevil into conflict with a majority of the characters listed above and, if rights weren't an issue, would bring both Spider-Man and Ghost Rider into the fold as well (but that's not likely to happen) as they both play a role in the comic story arc.
So, there it is. That's my Netflix Universe Phase 2 concept, and regardless of it actually happening, there's a lot to look forward to in the near and distant future for all the characters that we already know about, and some that we don't.