Well, this is somewhat unexpected... and totally, totally awesome: Disney announced today that they are partnering with Netflix to bring four live-action superhero series to the subscription service, culminating in a giant mini-series event. Marvel is basically replicating their big-screen formula of having an array of stand-alone films all feed into the big team-up movies. This is very exciting news, indeed.
The four series, which will begin in 2015, will be based on "Daredevil," "Jessica Jones," "Iron Fist," and "Luke Cage." For those of you who don't know, Daredevil is the alter ego of blind Hell's Kitchen attorney Matt Murdock, who has heightened senses thanks to his lack of sight. Iron Fist is actually Daniel Rand, a practitioner of ancient and spellbinding martial arts. He has a very cool dragon tattoo on his chest. Jessica Jones, who we are the most excited about, is a former superhero and current private investigator -- that one is going to be good. And Luke Cage, who has superhuman strength and invincible skin, will also be a great anchor for a TV show, especially considering he's a BLACK SUPERHERO (who'd a thunk it?).
These individual series will all come together in "The Defenders" mini-series, which is basically a random grab bag of characters (the trippy original incarnation starred Doctor Strange, Hulk, Namor, and Silver Surfer). They're like the scrappy, second-string Avengers and that suits us just fine.
"This deal is unparalleled in its scope and size, and reinforces our commitment to deliver Marvel's brand, content and characters across all platforms of storytelling. Netflix offers an incredible platform for the kind of rich storytelling that is Marvel's specialty," said Alan Fine, President of Marvel Entertainment, in a press release accompanying the announcement. "This serialized epic expands the narrative possibilities of on-demand television and gives fans the flexibility to immerse themselves how and when they want in what's sure to be a thrilling and engaging adventure."
"Marvel's movies, such as 'Iron Man' and Marvel's 'The Avengers', are huge favorites on our service around the world. Like Disney, Marvel is a known and loved brand that travels," said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos in the same release. "With 'House of Cards' and our other original series, we have pioneered new approaches to storytelling and to global distribution and we're thrilled to be working with Disney and Marvel to take our brand of television to new levels with a creative project of this magnitude."
Beyond the scale and complexity of this deal, what makes it even more shocking is that Marvel is sidestepping ABC, the network that Disney owns (and where "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." currently airs). Although, again, something this complicated is better suited for an off-the-books type operation like Netflix. The less cooks in the kitchen, the better, and it's hard to imagine advertisers signing off on such a knotty and complicated plan. Excelsior!