Thursday, November 07, 2013

Marvel Sends Daredevil & Co. to Netflix

The Marvel Studios brand has already conquered movie theaters (look for my take on Thor: The Dark World tomorrow morning), and is attempting to make inroads on TV (Agents of SHIELD is still doing its thing on ABC), but now it looks like the Disney superhero factory is also looking to tap into the burgeoning marketplace of online original content. In a deal just announced this morning, Marvel will produce four interlinked, serialized dramas specifically for Netflix: Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and superhero P.I. Jessica Jones.

I'd been hearing whispers of something like this being in the offing for a few weeks now, but to see the details of the deal all laid today has me pretty jazzed. All four characters are more "street-level" than the cosmos-spanning, world-beating stuff we get from The Avengers and its appendages. The goal, per the press release, is to create an "epic [that] will unfold over multiple years of original programming, taking Netflix members deep into the gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell’s Kitchen."

What's interesting to note is that all four of the above properties have spent time festering in the development pipeline for what seems like several eternities. Daredevil, of course, got a big screen treatment ten years ago that practically rendered the brand radioactive (though its star seems to have done alright). Fox tried and failed to mount a reboot before ultimately surrendering the property back to Marvel. I've been hearing about an Iron Fist flick going back to the early aughts, when Ray Park was going to play the Marvel martial arts master.

Given that these are all fairly non-traditional characters who may not necessarily play to all four quadrants the way the various Avengers heroes do, this honestly seems like the smartest play to make on Marvel's part. In addition to expanding the venues for the company to exploit its properties, it also sets the bar for success at a much more achievable level than a mega-budget motion picture. Also of note: the Netflix Marvels will follow the same model laid down by Iron Man, et al, culminating in a team-up miniseries entitled The Defenders.

Given that the iconic comic book lineup of Defenders is comprised of characters who either require too big a budget (Dr. Strange, the Sub-Mariner), are unavailable (the Silver Surfer rights are still owned by Fox), or already spoken for (I'm pretty sure the Hulk's dance card is tied up with the Avengers), it makes sense that Marvel would put the name to use here. Certainly from the outside looking in, this is the beginning of something pretty interesting. While there's no expected arrival date for the various Netflix-Marvel offerings yet, I'm sure I'll be talking about it as we learn more.

(Source: Deadline)

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