Deconstructing the Netflix/Marvel “Defenders”
Marvel and Netflix have inked a deal that will bring Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones into your living room via 13 episode mini-series to be released on Netflix. When those series conclude, they will team up in a “Defenders” series and everyone at DC will wonder how the hell they managed to screw everything up so completely. While they’re busy trying to cram whomever they can into the upcoming Man of Steel sequel featuring Batman and greenlighting all manner of spinoffs from Arrow on the CW, including a new proposed Hourman series, Marvel is finding a way to get their properties on screens in ways that people will actually watch.
Let’s face it, Netflix is the way most people consume long-form tv nowadays. Who do you know that didn’t binge watch Breaking Bad trying to get caught up for the series finale? While Agents of SHIELD is doing well enough, I think Marvel knows that TV isn’t the most viable option for many of their heroes. Serialized events may be the way to go, but 22 episode seasons on network TV is just not in the cards. Especially for something like a Jessica Jones show. They were trying to make that happen for a while and it just didn’t pan out. But if you make it part of a larger world with some other street level characters and release it on a platform that people are beginning to embrace wholeheartedly, you may be on to something.
Marvel has done something exceptionally smart here. They could have started a separate film universe that essentially parallels the Avengers level films. A “Marvel Knights” film universe, if you will. But that would require, bare minimum, two extra films on the slate for every year. They would be diluting themselves a little to heavily. By working with the Netflix platform, Marvel opens up a whole new avenue to exercise the film rights on their characters. Let’s not forget that they also have regained the rights to Punisher and Ghost Rider. Could they end up cameoing in these series? Or perhaps get their own focus in the “phase 2” of Marvel’s Netflix plan? It certainly has to be being discussed in Marvel office if they haven’t already committed to it.
This could truly be everything that those disappointed by Agents of SHIELD are waiting for. Kudos to Marvel for going for broke on this. I hope this leads to even more tertiary characters getting a little focus, even if they aren’t part of a shared event plan. I’d love for them to break out the horror based characters like Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night, Damian Hellstrom and others. Marvel also got back the rights to Blade, so they could really pull something special off in that regard.
If you aren’t excited for Marvel projects coming out in the future, you just aren’t doing the fanboy thing right.