We now know why “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” isn’t using Luke Cage (Power Man) or Jessica Jones (from “Alias”). In a joint statement from Disney and Netflix, Marvel Studios announced that they are working on four interlocking 13-episode (with options for more) TV series featuring the return of Daredevil and the screen debuts of Cage, Jones, and Iron Fist (Danny Rand). After the four initial series air, the quartet of heroes will team up in a culminating event entitled “The Defenders”. It is not known whether “The Defenders” will be a movie or a miniseries.
Daredevil has not been seen since the 2003 Ben Affleck movie that failed to impress viewers or critics (though the director’s cut wasn’t bad). Since Daredevil’s secret identity is lawyer Matt Murdock, perhaps “Daredevil” will feature more serialized courtroom drama a la “The Good Wife” in addition to nighttime crime fighting. Luke Cage’s show could feature a street-level view of the Marvel U, and Jones’ might center around her post-superheroic career as a private investigator (as seen in “Alias” and “The Pulse”). Iron Fist is a business executive with martial arts powers, so there’s ALL KINDS of storytelling potential there.
Prior to the climactic Defenders miniseries, the characters will almost certainly cross over into each others’ shows, as “Power Man and Iron Fist” was a long running team-up comic featuring the pair and Jones and Cage are a couple in the Marvel comic universe. All of the characters featured were all written at one time by Brian Michael Bendis, so it’s also likely that the tone and some of the stories will be coming straight out of Bendis’ “Alias”, “Daredevil” and “New Avengers”. Casting has not yet been announced.
This is a very interesting move. Netflix original programming has become big business, with David Fincher’s “House of Cards” and Jenji Kohan’s “Orange is the New Black” being compelling shows only seen on the streaming service. Netflix now has over 50 million subscribers, and with a $9 monthly fee, they’ve become a financial media powerhouse.
I personally hope they keep the series finite; we’ve seen how trying to keep Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returning to a status quo can be frustrating for viewers who expect more story-driven entertainment. “Agents” is trying very hard to be “Marvel NCIS”, and the series has struggled to maintain viewers after its initial big splash in September. With “Arrow”, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, next year’s “Gotham” on FOX, CW’s “Hourman” and now these series all airing soon, this is truly the golden age of comics on TV.
The shows are expected to begin airing in 2015 (also the year “Avengers: Age of Ultron” comes out). We’ll keep you posted here at The Place to Be!