We’re deep into the age of comic book movies dominating the box office and just beginning to step into the realm of superhero television programming. DC’s Gotham premiered last night on Fox and today, season 2 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres on ABC. And there are many others on the way in the coming weeks (Arrow, Flash, Constantine), along with several additional new shows next year, including Agent Carter on ABC and Daredevil on Netflix.
With so many Marvel films in development with theatrical release dates over the next six years, it’s time to look to the small screen to where we believe several important Marvel Entertainment properties can find new life. ABC’s already casting for its Agent Carter miniseries which will fill the gap during the midseason break of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. come January, and after Daredevil launches Marvel’s Netflix universe – all taking place in Hell’s Kitchen, New York but within the same shared continuity as the movies and ABC shows. He’ll later be joined by Iron Fist, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage who all get their own Netflix series as well.
We know that’s just the beginning, so we’ve listed several key characters and teams from Marvel Comics that we also believe should be adapted for TV. Some of them already had films, and some of them had films and/or TV shows in development at one point that never reached completion. All of them however, are characters we want to see realized in the near future.
Cloak and Dagger
Cloak and Dagger was one of three properties ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee said were in development for television a few years ago but like The Incredible Hulk series, development has gone silent. With Marvel’s plans going forward involving all live-action media sharing the same cinematic universe, the same continuity, Cloak and Dagger are two characters we expect to be brought into the fold.
The series would follow Tyrone “Ty” Johnson (Cloak) and Tandy Bowen (Dagger), two teens who meet after running away from their homes and stumble into super powers. They use their abilities to help other runaway children and to rid the streets of drugs. While Cloak and Dagger never succeeded as a long-term book series on their own, the pair continually make guest appearances in other books, including Runaways (more on this later!) and have had a number of important run-ins with The Avengers and characters that are getting their own Netflix series. Cloak and Dagger are the perfect type of characters Marvel could feasibly introduce in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. before spinning off into their own series.
If the failed launch of the Daredevil film franchise can eventually net the character a self-titled series on Netflix, we can say the same should happen for Elektra, who got a spinoff film from Daredevil… which also happened to fail. A character who originated in Daredevil comics, Elektra is one of Marvel’s most badass female characters and one that we can only hope gets a a cameo in Daredevil.
She’s a ninja assassin whose ties with Kingpin (also featuring in the Daredevil series) and the criminal organization known as The Hand – another villainous group we need to see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – make her a potentially key character in what Marvel’s long-term Netflix plans are. We’d be shocked of Elektra doesn’t eventually factor into the Dardevil series.
When we were trying to determine what Marvel TV show Joss Whedon would be helping to craft for ABC, as much as we wanted it to be, we knew it wouldn’t involve a character like Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher. The man who lost his family and as a result, chose to live a life of eradicating crime in his own lethal fashion is back under the Marvel Entertainment umbrella and the potential of an R-rated character such as The Punisher on the screen has been teased by the writers of Captain America films as well as Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige.
With four high profile Marvel characters coming to Netflix – beginning next year with Daredevil – Marvel is making a point of letting fans know that not everything they’re going to make on the small screen will be family-friendly for ABC. Netflix, much like Amazon and other networks Marvel pitched that programming to initially, is a potential home for more adult-focused Marvel adaptations. If the Netflix experiment works, perhaps we could see characters like Punisher show up there or other TV platforms down the road as well.
Fun Tidbit: Directors Anthony and Joe Russo did tease to Coming Soon that Punisher may have been in that background for a scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Like Punisher – and we’d argue Blade and Ghost Rider too – Moon Knight is another R-rated character that deserves some live-action love. We don’t think at this point Moon Knight is likely to lead his own blockbuster film under the Marvel Studios umbrella, but like The Punisher, an adult-focused adaptation on the small screen might be the perfect home for this ex-marine named Marc Spector.
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets increasingly more international (and intergalactic) in scope, we’re seeing more and more locations explored in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and will continue to in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron. Let’s add Egypt to that list and have Spector, nearly dying while working as a mercenary, rescued and taken to a temple where he’s given a second chance at life (and at making up for his sins as a mercenary) as the avatar for the Egyptian moon god Khonshu.
Moon Knight offers something different than anything we’ve seen in the MCU to date, and better yet, the character has served as a member of other Avengers teams and offers a unique antihero who shares some of the same ideals as The Punisher but is also psychologically damaged. He’s human, using weapons, a cool suit and his skills for combat, but does get stronger depending on the phases of the moon.
Fun Tidbit: Moon Knight gets a set of moon-themed weapons designed by a future version of Hawkeye. His latest suits take some inspiration from Iron Man.
Marvel Entertainment had big plans for Runaways a few years ago when a film adaptation was originally planned to debut in 2012, the same year as The Avengers. It had a script ready to go from Iron Man 3 co-writer Drew Pearce, who told us in an interview he wants to see it made with a big budget, and it had a director in Peter Sollett. Since then, nothing.
With the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, an argument can be made for more unique teams of characters on the big screen, but with so many high profile properties and sequels vying for release dates in the next few years, perhaps television can serve as a better home for Runaways to give its unique roster of characters more screen time. And that’s something we believe Runaways needs since it tells the story of a group of teens who discover their parents are super villains. They run away and become heroes themselves, stealing some important artifacts from their parents.
What makes Runaways a particularly interesting pick for us is how it can build off of mystical elements of Doctor Strange, alien elements of Guardians of the Galaxy and other potential plot threads being seeded in Agents of S.HI.E.L.D. and The Avengers, giving viewers a different perspective on it all. Also, they have a dinosaur…
Fun Tidbit: The Avengers 1 & 2 writer-director Joss Whedon actually wrote a few issues of this comic series.
Let us know what Marvel Comics characters you’d like to see get their own TV series!
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns at a new time, Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
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Cloak and Dagger (2010) #1 cover art by Mark Brooks
Shadowland: Elektra #1 cover art by Sana Takeda.
Punisher: War Journal (2006) #25 cover art by Michael Golden.