The world was all abuzz when news hit in 2009 that Disney, the Mouse that Walt built, bought Marvel Entertainment. Speculation was fast and furious that good things were on the horizon, and so far, speculation has been right. It’s been four years, and things have been percolating in the background and popping into the public eye with fair regularity.
We’ve seen the third Iron Man movie, the first Thor, the first Captain America, and the wildly successful Marvel’s Avengers.
But Disney-Marvel haven’t rested on their laurels. They spun off from the success of the team-up movie and went from the big screen to the small screen with Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD — a show building off the charismatic Clark Gregg, to give hungry Marvel Maniacs weekly snack size bites of Marvel Cinematic Universe goodies between movies.
Now, Disney-Marvel is poised to put another feather in their cap by going from the small screen to the portable screen with their new Netflix deal. The big screen will remain the big idea movie territory with Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and a new Captain America film. The Netflix Marvel series, set to start in 2015 (take heart, it’s already nearly 2014) , will star some of the street level Marvel Heroes. These aren’t necessarily their big-gun, big name ones, but still ones who hopefully will draw a sizeable audience. They are:
Daredevil: The blind but radar-powered brawling hero who has already had a movie that was less than what Marvel films are used to seeing in terms of popularity. But the name carries recognition with it from the film, so they’ll have room to stretch their legs a little.
Jessica Jones: Lead character of the Marvel comic Alias, Jessica is a former superheroine who has given that life up, and who now works as a superhero-world private investigator. She still has her powers, despite her regrets of how it went when she wore the spandex. Her origin story happened in proximity to Daredevil’s, and her entire life happened in the background of other Marvel mainstays. This character has a rich psychological background that is going to be a fun challenge for a creative writing team, as well as some really painful backstory that will need sensitive and respectful handling. Since this was batted around as an ABC series awhile back, it’s good to see Jessica finally getting her series. It’s especially nice to see her as the one woman in this boys’ club of a collection. That’s also a woman getting her own show before DC floats even one female-led film. I would’ve liked Storm to be the first Marvel woman with a movie or series, but this is not a bad second choice.
Iron Fist: One half of the Heroes For Hire team, Iron Fist is a poor little rich boy who finds himself going on a spiritual journey and earning himself the martial arts chi skill whose name he bears. Marvel has updated him to a bit of a geek who reads comics on his private jet. Hopefully, Marvel will work his longtime love interest — bionic detective and Woman of Color — Misty Knight in, despite the cancellation of her Fearless Defenders series. For sure, though, we know we’ll see one of his best friends, as the fourth series is:
Luke Cage: Sweet Christmas! Although we probably shouldn’t expect to hear the old 1970s catchphrase in 2014, Luke “the hero formerly known as Power Man” Cage is the fourth character getting a 13 series show. In the comics, he and Jessica are married, which will make some neat tie-in. Iron Fist is one of his oldest friends, and together they formed Heroes for Hire, which again, will help tie the series together. It’s especially heartening to see a series in production with an African American lead. Disney’s devotion to diversity is really starting to show in good ways. Hopefully this will also mean good things for a Black Panther property in the future!
Defenders: The miniseries that’s supposed to wrap it all up. Much as Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America culminated in Marvel’s Avengers, DD, Jessica, Iron Fist and Luke Cage’s series will lead into a big team up called The Defenders.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing Netflix and Marvel’s offerings. One thing’s for sure — I’m going to be re-opening my Netflix membership!