Television Has Been Good to Marvel
Although, up to now, DC has, pretty much, battered Marvel on the television side starting back with "Smallville" and continuing into their CW hey day with "Arrow", "Flash", "Gotham" and new entries "Supergirl" and "Legends of Tomorrow" along with their recently cancelled "Constantine", Marvel had begun to show signs of stirring from their slumber.
Several shows are already going, but a reorganization at ABC and new agreements with Netflix appear to have (temporarily?) derailed and / or delayed some of these offerings.
Marvel Cinema Has Really Been Busy
On their movie side - headed by Kevin Feige - Marvel has movies scheduled through 2020 and planned (reportedly) through 2028! A total of seven movies are scheduled through 2019; three unnamed pictures have scheduled release dates in 2020 and "The Inhumans", although taken off the schedule, is still planned for "down the road":
- Dr. Strange (Nov, 2016)
- Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May, 2017)
- Thor: Ragnarok (Nov, 2017)
- Black Panther (Feb, 2018)
- Avengers: Infinity War, Pt I (May, 2018)
- Captain Marvel (Mar, 2019)
- Avengers: Infinity War, Pt II (May, 2019)
- The Inhumans (tbd)
(keep in mind, this doesn't even include the movies done or planned by Fox or Sony!)
Since 2008, Marvel has released 12 movies (plus, Universal & Sony's "The Incredible Hulk" which was released in June, 2008 and is included in MCU canon):
- Captain America: Civil War (May, 2016)
- Ant-Man (Jul, 2015)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (May, 2015)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug, 2014)
- Captain America: The Wither Soldier (Apr, 2014)
- Thor: The Dark World (Nov, 2013)
- Iron Man 3 (May, 2013)
- Marvel's The Avengers (May, 2012)
- Captain America: The First Avenger (Jul, 2011)
- Thor (May, 2011)
- Iron Man 2 (May, 2010)
- Iron Man (May, 2008)
They're running about two movies per year since the start and appear ready to up that number to three beginning in 2020?
Everything's Coming Up Disney
Jeph Loeb is the head of the Marvel Television Division and his group (unlike Feige's) still reports to Marvel Publishing for their marching orders. Disney owns both Marvel Studios and Marvel Publishing, so there is still continuity between the two.
In 2013, Marvel launched their run at Network Television with their MCU-based "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.". The show opened to massive numbers only to falter as the season progressed ... the show seemed to be waiting on something to happen.
That "something" finally did happen ("Captain America: Winter Soldier") and, to everyone's chagrin, S.H.I.E.L.D., under orders from Captain America himself with the acknowledgement of S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury ... was disbanded.
But, now the television series was "unhooked" from the MCU, per se, and charged ahead "in the shadows" along the byways and side roads of the Marvel Universe. They continued to protect mankind from all the things with which we didn't want to deal and to assist us in keeping our planet safe. And, the movies continued rolling out, oblivious to the continued operation of new Director and friend of the Avengers, Phil Coulson, and his greatly reduced new S.H.I.E.L.D. operations.
The next year brought on "Marvel's Agent Carter" to fill in during "Agents of "S.H.I.E.L.D.'s" winter break and Marvel Television was in full operation.
The following year saw Marvel team up with Netflix and the rest is history!
Here are the shows Marvel currently has in production, long into the planning stages or in the early stages with general assurances they will be launched.
(1) Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. [ABC]
“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” stars Clark Gregg as Director (former Director?) Phil Coulson, Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May, Chloe Bennet as Skye / Daisy Johnson / Quake, Iain DeCaestecker as Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons and Henry Simmons as Alfonso "Mack" Mackenzie.
The just-completed Season 3 of AoS just saw off series regulars Brett Dalton (Grant Ward / Hive), Luke Mitchell (Lincoln Campbell / Sparkplug), Adrianne Palicki (Bobbi Morse / Mockingbird) and Nick Blood (Lance Hunter / the English guy). Dalton and Mitchell's characters were killed off in the final episode while Palicki and Blood's characters were spun off to the now cancelled "Marvel's Most Wanted" and marooned from AoS quite dramatically.
Also appearing (and, likely to continue in some capacity with the show) were Adrian Pasdar (Brigadier General Glenn Talbot), Axle Whitehead (James (Slade?) / Hellfire), Juan Pablo Raba (Joey Gutierrez / transmuter), John Hannah (Holden Radcliffe), Natalia Cordova-Buckley (Elena ‘Yo-Yo’ Rodriguez / Slingshot), and William Sadler (U.S. President Ellis).
Probabilities for reappearance in the future (if not this season) include J. August Richards (Mike Peterson / Deathlok), Ajani Wrighster (Ace Peterson), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Brian Patrick Wade (Carl Creel / Absorbing Man), and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury).
Stories that appear to have been dropped and could easily be revisited include Dr. Franklin Hall / Graviton (Ian Hart), ex-Agent Akela Amador / mini-Deathlok (Pascale Armand), Kree warrior Vin-Tak (Eddie McClintock), CyberTek / A.I.M. / Ian Quinn (David Conrad), Daniel Whitehall / Kraken (Reed Diamond), Alisha / Ginger Ninja – although, there’s only one of her five personas left (Alicia Vela-Bailey), Aesgardian Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander), Professor Elliot Randolph / Aesgardian Berserker (Peter MacNicol), Kebo (Daz Crawford), Donnie Gill / Blizzard (Dylan Minnette) and possibly even Dr. Calvin L. Johnson (Zabo) / Dr. Winslow / Mr. Hyde (Kyle MacLaughlin).
With Daisy now being ‘on the lam’ and Coulson having been replaced as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., the status of the Secret Warriors falls into limbo pending the resumption of the series next season. I wonder if Daisy will drop in on her dad…
(2) Daredevil [Netflix]
“Daredevil” stars Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock / Daredevil / Devil of Hell’s Kitchen), Deborah Ann Woll (Karen Page), Elden Henson (Foggy Nelson) and Royce Johnson (Sgt. Brett Mahoney). Also regularly appearing are Vincent D’Onofrio (Wilson Fisk / Kingpen), Elodie Yung (Elektra Natchios), Peter Shinkoda (Nobu), Rosario Dawson (Claire Temple / Night Nurse?), Peter McRobbie (Fr. Lantom), Matt Gerald (Melvin Potter / Tinkerer), Wai Ching Ho (Madame Gao) and Scott Glenn (Stick).
“Daredevil” ended Season 2 with Elektra dead (and her body robbed from its grave by The Hand). Stick is still at odds with Daredevil with both of them still determined to bring down The Hand – an ancient, mystical ninja organization that has the ability to raise their dead and return them to action. The Hand plan to resurrect Elektra and have her fulfill the prophesies that she would lead them to world domination.
The anti-heroic Frank Castle / Punisher (brilliantly portrayed by Jon Bernthal) has been announced to appear in his own Netflix series soon to be released (likely after the first release of “Marvel’s Defenders” series due out at the end of 2017).
(3) Jessica Jones [Netflix]
“Jessica Jones” (also known as“A.K.A. Jessica Jones” and, in the comics, “Alias”) stars Kristen Ritter (Jessica Campbell Jones cum Cage / Jewel), Rachael Taylor (Trish Walker / Hellcat), Eka Darville (Malcolm Ducasse), and Carrie-Anne Moss (Jeri Hogarth, Esq). Her series burst onto the scene almost as dramatically as “Daredevil”, which proceeded it on Netflix.
Season Two is set to feature Jessica exploring her origins by investigating the mysterious organization, IGH, headed up by the enigmatic Dr. Kozlov (Thomas Kopache) with a lot of trouble being heaped upon her and her friends by pill-popping Will Simpson / Nuke (Wil Travel) as the up-front bad guy. Rosario Dawson should reprise her role as Claire Temple and Royce Johnson should still be ‘in the neighborhood’ as Det. Brett Mahoney.
Luke Cage / Power Man (Mike Coulter) will still be around as her paramour and we might also have appearances by any of the other characters residing in Hell’s Kitchen.
* Could IGH stand for ‘Inhuman Growth Hormone’? Is she an Inhuman?
(4) Luke Cage [Netflix]
“Luke Cage” stars Mike Coulter (Luke Cage / Power Man) as the C.E.O. and main contributor for Marvel’s Heroes for Hire protection agency co-operated by him and his martial artist buddy, Daniel Rand / Iron Fist (Finn Jones). Another member of 'the neighborhood’ who will be helping Luke and Jessica maintain the peace in Hell’s Kitchen is Misty Knight (Simone Missick), an NYPD officer.
Cage and Jones will be opposed by Willis Stryker / Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey) and Alvarez / Shades (Theo Rossi).
Luke Cage is scheduled to drop onto the Netflix roster on September 30, 2016.
(5) Iron Fist [Netflix]
“Iron Fist” will feature Finn Jones as Daniel Rand / Iron Fist. The story is still under development and all that is known is that it will also feature Mike Coulter as Luke Cage / Power Man and Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing (Misty Knight’s ("Luke Cage") partner in their investigative agency, Knight-Wing Restorations – a sister to Cage / Rand’s Heroes for Hire).
Carrie-Anne Moss will reprise her Jeri Hogarth character from her stints on “Jessica Jones” and “Daredevil” Season Two as the television version of Jeryn Hogarth – the man who managed the Rand-Meachum financial empire for Danny Rand in the comics.
Scheduling for the show is anticipated to feature a Spring, 2017, drop onto the Netflix roster.
(6) Defenders [Netflix]
“Defenders” will feature all of the characters from the four (now five) other Netflix shows: “Daredevil”, “Jessica Jones”, “Luke Cage”, and “Iron Fist” (and, you can add in “The Punisher” which likely won’t land until after “The Defenders” has been delivered to Netflix).
Reports are Netflix is contractually obligated to deliver “The Defenders” by the end of 2017 (likely November).
(7) Cloak & Dagger [ABC Family / Free Form]
Free Form (formerly ABC Family) has ordered a live action television series from Marvel featuring the enigmatic teen duo, Cloak & Dagger. It is not yet known if the pair will derive their powers from an Inhumans origin, if they will be the creation of some dastardly villain or if there will be some other origination for their powers.
The live-action interracial romance follows the duo, two teenagers from very different backgrounds, who find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers while falling in love – Tandy [Dagger] can emit light daggers and Tyrone [Cloak] has the ability to engulf others in darkness. They quickly learn they are better together than apart, but their feelings for each other make their already complicated world even more challenging.
The show has not yet been scheduled for the fall, so it may continue to hang around "in development" until it is needed to replace some other (failing) series or for release next January. Stay tuned.
(8) Damage Control [ABC]
“Damage Control”, currently under development and likely scheduled for release in the fall of 2016, features those poor, underpaid slobs who have to go in behind those (in)famous “enhanced individuals” such as the Avengers and clean up the mess that gets left behind.
Not to be confused with DC’s new entry, “Powerless”, also scheduled for a fall release – only on NBC – the agents of “Damage Control” will be those hapless souls who actually have to pick up all the junk left over from the destructive head-on confrontations of super-powered individuals and / or alien races attacking the planet. The agents of “Powerless”, featuring Vanessa Hudgens as Emily Locke butting heads with Alan Tudyk as the owner’s idiot son, Del, will be tasked with assessing the damage and providing the monetary recompense prior to a group like Damage Control being brought onto the scene.
The combination of the two; although, they will never cross with their being from two different publishing houses - and different Networks - will provide awesome insight into how the world would deal with the aftermath of “heroic intervention”.
Historically (in the comics, anyway), the Damage Control team was funded by Iron Man/Tony Stark and Kingpin/Wilson Fisk as recompense and atonement for the destruction their technologies brought upon the communities upon which they were unleashed.
No one has yet been cast in the show and there are not yet any announcements of writers, show runners, directors or extended plots or synopses. But, Marvel and ABC have pretty much assured us that it will happen and that it should be in the fall of 2016. I am left wondering if Netflix will ultimately inherit all of the Marvel shows due to their deal with Marvel and the apparent demise (or delays) of most of ABC's entries in the MCU over the past year.
It's interesting that the abbreviation for "Damage Control"... is "DC".
(9) John Ridley's Project [ABC]
John Ridley (author and director of the Academy Award-winning “Twelve Years a Slave”), is still offering confirmation that he is, indeed, working on a Marvel Project for ABC.
What that project is has never even had a hint dropped other than to say it is the “reimagining of an existing Marvel property”. Initial guesses included “Cloak & Dagger” (which has now been debunked as that show is on the way this fall on ABC's Free Form Network [formerly ABC Family]), “Ms. Marvel” (Kamala Kahn – although using the “Ms. Marvel” moniker prior to the release of the Carol Danvers version of “Captain Marvel” in the MCU in 2018 would clearly not make any sense) ... and “Blade”.
It has also been suggested it could be Blade’s daughter, Fallon Grey.
But, to date, all we know is that he is still working on the project and that there is no scheduled date for its arrival on ABC.
(10) Another, unnamed comedy project [ABC]
Prior to the change in leadership at ABC, the network appeared to be fond of "pausing" their shows in November and leaving them on hiatus until March, filling in the gap with breakisodes provided by a short-season series (similar to the way “Marvel’s Agent Carter” was the winter break for the headliners of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”). Now, with Channing Dungey taking over for Paul Lee as the head of ABC, the network is bound to undergo changes - including the possible elimination of those "short-season" breakisodes Lee loved. So, those types of shows might be on the way out.
I had, prior to the leadership change at ABC, proposed the purpose of the new comedy was to provide those breakisodes while “Damage Control” is on its winter nap. But, that may no longer be the case and, if the new series is to progress, it might be in a different format or on a different network (Netflix?).
(11) The Punisher [Netflix]
Big news here: Jon Bernthal was so outstanding as The Punisher/Frank Castle in “Daredevil” Season Two, he was signed on to headline a new Netflix series based on his character.
It is not sure when this new series will drop into the Netflix roster, but we do know Netflix is now the exclusive platform upon which Disney, Marvel, LucasFilms and Pixar will stream all of their fantastic offerings. With that in mind, it is possible the “two-a-year” schedule for Marvel heroes to be delivered to Netflix may have just been advanced – astronomically.
(12) Marvel's Most Wanted [cancelled for now]
“Marvel’s Most Wanted” was set to feature former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Bobbi Morse / Mockingbird (Adrianne Palicki) and Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) as they fled from the fallout of their selfless sacrifice to protect S.H.I.E.L.D. from international embarrassment when Hydra attempted to assassinate the Russian President.
Also scheduled to appear were Oded Fehr (one of my favorite actors) and Fernanda Andrade. Delroy Lindo was set to play Dominic Fortune, a ruthless fortune hunter who has taken Morse and Hunter under his wing – so long as they play by his rules.
The change in leadership at ABC likely caused the decision to not continue the project. Or... the new agreement with Netflix means such programming is being moved to that platform? I'd go for that.
(13) Marvel's Agent Carter [cancelled for now]
“Marvel’s Agent Carter” featured Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter – dispossessed love of Captain America in World War II prior to his being lost in the arctic ice. The first season of “Agent Carter” was outstanding and led all the fanboys and fangirls to eagerly anticipate this would be the show that would document the story of the founding of S.H.I.E.L.D. and its subsequent absorption of the S.S.R. after S.H.I.E.L.D. had spun off from the S.S.R.
The second season, though, seemed to get lost in side stories and love-triangle plots that really didn’t make sense and that actually detracted from the decisive, focused and historically well-balanced character that had been developed for Peggy first in the movie, “Captain America: The First Avenger”, and later in the first season of her own series.
There is a massive online campaign to resurrect the series on Netflix that has gained over a hundred thousand signatures to date. And, Hayley, herself, has stated that she would love to continue the character despite her being cast as a lead in the new ABC series, “Conviction”. She believes she can do both and, with the shorter season of “Agent Carter” and, if it were to move to Netflix, the shorter production period, that should well be doable.
Hopefully, Netflix will hold the character to a workable path and do away with all the superfluous material that led the original production astray.
And, there's also the possibility of
(14) Blade (or his daughter, Fallon Grey)
Some of the denizens of the "Blade" saga might make the list -- if they don't get a movie, instead.
Wesley Snipes (Blade) has been in discussion for some time to reprise his role as the Day Walker in whatever capacity Marvel has in mind. Having finally gotten released from prison and, apparently, promising to clean up his act (a la Robert Downey, Jr), Wesley feels he can do the character justice and wants to restore his legacy in the Marvel canon.
If he does manage to do that, “Blade” would become the de facto first entry in the MCU having debuted ten years prior to Downey’s Iron Man.
There was some talk John Ridley might have an interest in the character – as the mentor and connective tissue to his newly developed series based, actually, upon Blade’s daughter, Fallon Grey. Whether or not this is the Project upon which Ridley is working is up for debate, but the possibility of Fallon getting her own series (or movie) has legs whether it is the Ridley Project or it is being worked upon in other dark corners of Marvel’s vast library.
But, if he has reformed somewhat, having Snipes reprise his role as Blade would go a long way toward solidifying Marvel’s status as the pre-eminent provider of live action content based on comic book characters.
And, it was be a nice throwback to that prior era.
Plus, there's rumors of
(15) Ghost Rider [Netflix]
“Ghost Rider” is another property that has been restored to Marvel. Having been sold to Sony & Universal in the 1990s as Marvel dismantled its empire in an attempt to stave off total collapse. Three iterations of the character on the Silver Screen proved more than Sony was willing to suffer.
So, they allowed the rights to the character to revert to Marvel.
Now, Marvel is considering how to go about producing this very dark, demonic creature in a format that would be acceptable to cosmic beings – and, the people of earth, who would, actually, be the ones paying for the production of the shows.
Rumors are that Netflix is the proper platform and with their new agreement with Disney, we may be seeing a lot of new Marvel (along with Pixar, LucasFilms & Disney offerings) begin to show up as “original series” on the streaming service.
Also, Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." are shopping for a few new actors for their Season Four. Two of those are said to need to be Hispanic with one disabled and in a wheel chair and the other "the most dangerous person in the room". This would tend to indicate the Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider will be appearing on Marvel's flagship show along with his brother, Gabe.
Of course, this does not preclude a spin-off of the character nor does it prevent the Johnny Blaze flavor of the character to be resurrected (pun intended) into a Netflix offering. Or, perhaps it could be Blaze's brother, Danny Ketch?
(16) Moon Knight [Netflix]
“Moon Knight” is often compared to DC’s “Batman”. He is wealthy. He haunts the night-time streets. He scares the bejeezus out of the bad guys.
But, he’s certifiably insane.
The difference is he dresses in all white rather than the black and dark gray of the Gotham champion. He also suffers from multi-personality disorder and is the creation of the Egyption god of the moon, Khonshu – after he had been “killed” by his partner, Raoul Bushman, another fortune hunter.
If Marvel decides to spin Moon Night’s dark tales onto Netflix… well… there will likely be a lot of viewers – including yours most truly.