Forming a super-team of the kind that media fanboys only dreamed of in their speculative fiction, Marvel and Netflix have joined forces to produce four original live-action series, a partnership that promises to safeguard the world against the threats of not having superheroes on every single entertainment platform and maybe going outside sometimes. The dynamically profitable duo will vanquish these beginning in 2015, with four thirteen-episode series based on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage—all culminating in a The Defenders “miniseries event,” in which a team of Marvel heroes will once more tentatively assemble, albeit in a way that’s a little less proactively “avenging” and a lot more defensive. (“Oh, I guess M.O.D.O.K. killing everyone is our problem, because The Avengers are too busy with the important stuff…”)
The Netflix announcement was preceded not only by those recent reports that Marvel was shopping five new series in the wake of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., but years of trying to bring these characters into its modern storytelling universe (increasingly just “the universe”). Daredevil, the blind superhero with the power to imbue every Ben Affleck casting with heavy skepticism, recently came back into the Marvel fold after Fox passed on Joe Carnahan’s movie pitch. Jessica Jones was being developed as a possible TV drama back in 2010, when the superpowered private eye/superhero love object was among the first of Marvel’s efforts to bring its smaller-scale, less expensive characters to TV screens. And that same year saw the initial hints that Marvel might introduce Luke Cage—hints that would continue through many months of Idris Elba interviews and Dwayne Johnson tweets—and make a film based on Iron Fist, before deciding that “martial-arts expert who achieves his powers by plunging his hands into the heart of a dragon” sounds more like a TV show, even though this is basically the same plot as Martin.
Indeed, it seems some version of this plan has been unfolding for some time, making one wonder what else Marvel has been concocting in its continued quest for domination of all the world’s entertainment platforms—which, really, only has music left. So, probably expect a new album from The Merry Marvel Marching Society pretty soon.