10 Options For Joss Whedon’s Marvel TV Show on ABC

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 13th, 2012 at 10:59 am, This is a list post.

What is Joss Whedon's Marvel TV Show on ABC?

Joss Whedon ABC Marvel TV ShowDuring an investors call this week, Disney announced that they've signed a three-year deal with Joss Whedon that will see him write and direct The Avengers 2 and help oversee Phase Two of the Marvel cinematic universe.As part of that deal, Whedon will also be developing a live-action television series for ABC that will fit within the shared universe the films do. What that is we don't yet know, but we can safely say it's something he wanted as part of the agreement.Let's examine some of the commonly suggested and rumored properties that Marvel Studios can potentially develop for television on ABC with the help of Whedon. Items listed must qualify under a few conditions, namely that Marvel Studios actually owns the rights to the character(s) and that said property fits within the Marvel cinematic universe.

The Incredible Hulk

 Joss Whedon ABC Marvel TV Show HulkThe Incredible Hulk is currently the one Marvel television project furthest along in development at ABC, with Guillermo del Toro and David Eick (Battlestar Galactica) serving as showrunners. Del Toro's latest update, coming earlier this week, revealed they've picked out an established writer (with a busy schedule) who they're waiting on - but he remained intentionally mysterious on who exactly.Not long after del Toro's update, Disney announced the Joss Whedon deal with Marvel Studios, including word that he would be helping develop a "new" TV series for the same network which makes us curious if he's going to be helping bring Bruce Banner to TV just as he did in revitalizing the character in The Avengers. Considering the initial plan for this series was to follow a younger Bruce Banner, if Whedon were involved, it would need to fit within the film continuity and ideally, would star Mark Ruffalo. That makes an in-film-continuity Whedon-del Toro-Hulk TV series entirely unrealistic - but one of the most fun possibilities.VERDICT: Not likely.

Cloak and Dagger

 Joss Whedon ABC Marvel TV Show Cloak and DaggerCloak and Dagger, along with The Incredible Hulk, are two of the three properties ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee said were in development for television last year. This one would follow the story of Tyrone "Ty" Johnson (Cloak) and Tandy Bowen (Dagger), two teens who meet after running away from their homes and stumble into superpowers. 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. Little is known about the status of the show and it makes us think it's going nowhere.VERDICT: Not going to happen over the other options.

Jessica Jones

Joss Whedon ABC Marvel TV Show Jessica JonesJessica Jones was the third series in early development at ABC before the project was canned a few months ago. It was being written by Dexter and Twilight's (we know) Melissa Rosenberg. Much of Jones' early life in the comics involves Spider-Man and Daredevil, both of which cannot be used by Marvel. Jones is a relative newcomer to Marvel Comics and stands out due to her dropping the superhero life in favor of being a private detective. She has a child with hubby Luke Cage and is best friends with Ms. Marvel.If there's one thing Joss Whedon is most consistent with, its his ability to bring strong female characters to the screen, and we've now seen that on both television and film - where Scarlett Johansson stole the spotlight for much of The Avengers. Jones has been involved in all of the recent Marvel crossover events but her story arcs are reliant on other major players.VERDICT: There's a reason it was dropped by ABC already.


Joss Whedon ABC Marvel TV RunawaysRunaways was very close to becoming a film already, with Marvel Studios preparing to shoot Runaways in March 2011 and Peter Sollett directing. It was originally meant to share 2012 with The Avengers but the studio shifted all of their attention and marketing efforts to promote their flagship title instead. Writer Drew Pearce was moved to Iron Man 3 but still hopes to see Runaways hit theaters eventually. Since Marvel is going Cosmic post-Avengers with Guardians of the Galaxy and still needing to introduce other characters before The Avengers 2, the film version of Runaways is becoming less realistic.For TV however, it may be perfect, especially for Joss Whedon who just so happens to have written a few issues of the comics. He was even rumored to be directing Runaways before Sollett signed on and he got The Avengers instead. If Whedon was picking his own show to develop for Marvel, this would be it.VERDICT: A top contender for Whedon.

The Punisher

Joss Whedon ABC Marvel TV Show PunisherDuring the Marvel Studios Comic-Con 2010 panel for Thor and Captain America, Marvel pres Kevin Feige responded to a fan question about The Punisher where he confirmed that Marvel Studios had reacquired the rights to the character after Punisher: War Zone failed at the box office (and among critics). Last year, Criminal Minds writer/producer Ed Bernero was putting together a pilot for a Punisher TV show which ABC and Fox both passed on, leaving the character in a state of live-action limbo.Punisher was rumored to, at one point, potentially be a part of the Captain America sequel, but as we know now, that's not the case - as the film will instead tell the story of The Winter Soldier. Punisher is a very violent character and would have to be retooled quite a bit from Bernero's idea before ABC would want to take a second look at it. While this is a very unlikely possibility for Joss Whedon, the one thing Punisher has going for him is the crossover potential with other characters. That and they could easily get Tom Jane back in the role considering his personal love of the character. Watch his Dirty Laundry short film about the Punisher if you haven't already - you won't regret it.Feige said this before the release of Thor and Captain America: "Punisher's back in house, and various plans are in the works."VERDICT: The Punisher won't be on ABC.


Joss Whedon ABC Marvel TV Show SHIELDNot long after Samuel L. Jackson locked into a nine-picture contract with Marvel Studios, he name-dropped S.H.I.E.L.D. as a movie his character would appear in. By all accounts, this movie doesn't appear to be something Marvel is currently developing and instead, Captain America: The Winter Soldier may serve as a SHIELD movie, featuring Steve Rogers working with plenty of characters from the organization.With Whedon's show taking place in the same continuity as the films, and SHIELD being a part of all of them in some way, there are plenty of opportunities to have the show and movies promote each other. Just think of the guest appearance possibilities. Better yet, if the Helicarrier were to be used, Marvel Studios already has the sets and digital assets constructed from The Avengers film production. Adding credence to this rumor is Deadline's scoop from a few weeks ago indicating that Marvel's TV division has a "a kernel of an idea" that they're talking with ABC about, one that would be set in the film universe but wouldn't star any of its characters. Its described as a "high-concept cop show" and was "referred to as Shield." Coincidence?Perhaps TV star Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill) could be involved in such a series?VERDICT: A SHIELD-focused TV series is the most likely option.

Heroes for Hire

Joss Whedon ABC Marvel TV Show Heroes for HireIron First and Luke Cage are two characters who have been frequently mentioned in interviews over the years as characters Marvel wants to develop but neither has come close to being realized. A Heroes for Hire team-up that would feature both characters seemed more likely but there's still no activity on that front from Marvel Studios. Marvel had hired Rich Wilkes to pen an Iron Fist screenplay two years ago and we've heard little since. Same goes for Luke Cage where two-and-a-half years ago Marvel was reportedly chatting with a "notable Hollywood star" about the role.The Heroes for Hire comics have relaunched several times with different casts of characters over the years and the potential for a superpowered ensemble who use their abilities for money is smart. Better yet, if certain characters stand out, they can pop in films should Marvel Studios desire to use them. The concept of the show allows for characters to be swapped in and out when needed and can allow for a wide variety of creative and unique storylines.VERDICT: Very possible if Marvel doesn't have room for Iron Fist/Luke Cage films.

Damage Control

 Joss Whedon ABC Marvel TV Damage ControlDamage Control represents a brilliant look at the stories we love in comics from a perspective we would otherwise rarely consider. Damage Control is a small part of Marvel Comics history, having only released in four limited mini-series, but the concept behind it is everlasting.It follows a construction company (partly owned by Tony Stark) that essentially deals with the aftermath of superhero battles. Think the ending of The Avengers - someone has to clean up that mess from the alien invasion.While Damage Control would offer an entertaining and interesting crossover with events from the films, there are only so many stories to tell and would be better served folded up into a SHIELD TV show.VERDICT: On its own, no, as part of a S.H.I.E.L.D. show, yes.

The Defenders

 Joss Whedon ABC Marvel TV DefendersThe Defenders series originally brought together Dr. Strange, Hulk and Namor as the core three heroes of the team (Hulk and Dr. Strange being the headliners), with Silver Surfer as the fourth. Over the years a variety of lesser known characters joined the group led by Strange, but only Strange has remained the constant over the years.A Defenders show could substitute for (or crossover with) Guillermo del Toro's Hulk TV series and its ensemble cast and potential for additional characters could appeal to Whedon. Silver Surfer cannot be used of course due to Twentieth Century Fox maintaining those rights but the latest rumors had him and Galactus potentially reverting back to Marvel Studios in exchange for an extension on the Daredevil license.The group was initially formed to fight demons from another dimension when the Dr. Strange comic series was canceled - and worked to defend the planet ever since. The Defenders has been revived under modified titles over the years with the latest version coming last year from Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson. Interesting timing. And get this, its roster includes Dr. Strange joined by Hulk, She-Hulk, Iron Fist, Namor and Silver Surfer.VERDICT: Better than a Hulk solo show, but too ambitious for TV.

Young Avengers

Joss Whedon ABC Marvel TV Young AvengersWhen The Avengers fell apart, the Young Avengers stepped up, comprised of a team of "super-powered fanboys" who, in typical comic book fashion, just so happen to perfectly fit the molds of their older counterparts. For Captain America, there is the super soldier named Patriot and for Iron Man there is Iron Lad.While the books are legitimately good, in essence, a live-action Young Avengers is simply a lower-scale Avengers with mimics of the headliners from the films. It's is a little too outlandish for TV.VERDICT: Not a realistic option.


Joss Whedon ABC Marvel TV Black PantherRunaways (which could still be a film) and a SHIELD-focused series are the two most realistic options for Whedon to help develop at this point, but Heroes for Hire would also lend itself well to TV if the characters weren't also being developed for feature film use.There are plenty of other suggestions we've read from readers and Twitter that we've intentionally not included. The Inhumans and Black Panther for instance, won't be introduced via live-action TV. The She-Hulk comic lends itself well to television as a mix of a lawyer procedural and Hulk-smash action, but with a Hulk series coming to ABC, it doesn't make sense to prepare a separate standalone She-Hulk at the same time.Blade, like Punisher, was reacquired by Marvel Studios but it's not a fit for ABC prime time. Blade is an R-rated character and to be done properly, needs an R-rated film (same for The Punisher, really). Let's not forget the failed Spike TV Blade series from 2006.The most obvious items left out are properties owned by other studios. So, count out any chance of Daredevil, Fantastic Four or X-Men TV shows on ABC since they're all owned by Twentieth Century Fox - the same goes for Ghost Rider and Spider-Man who are owned by Sony Pictures.Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.
TAGS: agents of shield, aka jessica jones, cloak and dagger, heroes for hire, iron fist, luke cage, runaways, the avengers, the avengers 2, the incredible hulk, the punisher


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  1. Runaways sounds like the best shot. The Young Avengers fanboy in me really, really wishes YA would make it to the screen, but I realize that it’s never going to happen. :\

  2. Super stoked about this article. Haven’t read it yet but I don’t want to work today… Here I go!

    • LOL!

      • Completely agree with most of it. I would love a Heroes for Hire or Shield. Something worth noting is that Cobie Smulders contract is up with HIMYM after this year. Would be perfect timing for her to be in the Shield show.

  3. A SHIELD series would be fun, especially given Whedon’s talents with ensemble casts. I think it will be Runaways, personally. The macabre voiceover guy in my head, on the other hand, keeps saying: “This fall, on ABC Family, Frank Castle had it all…”

  4. I’m betting on & hoping for it to be The Runaways. Would be some good television.

  5. Didn’t like it so much when I heard of a SHIELD movie, I think it would be better as a TV show, IMO.

    Runaways as well…

  6. I would like to see a Doctor Strange TV show, since Marvel doesn’t have any immediate plans for him in their movie schedule.

    Hulk’s been done.

  7. Guys its gunna be The Hulk. If you go back and look at what Guillermo Del Torro’s been saying about who is involved in the Incredible Hulk series and what network it’s going to be on, you’ll understand (http://screenrant.com/hulk-tv-show-writer/)

    • Read the first slide of the article. I agree with Mr. Keyes. It’s not going to be in the MCU which eliminates it.

      • The “initial” concept was announced years ago. Don’t see why it can’t be changed. And the Hulk is a show they are actually talking about.

        There is going to be a Hulk TV show, and they probably will bend the story structure to fit with the movie universe. Joss Whedon could do that.

        • That’s what I was going to say.
          When the Hulk series was first announced they said it would take place in the MCU, then a while back del Torro said it WOULDN’T be set in the MCU anymore and now they’re looking for a new writer to write the script… so IMO Whedon working on the Hulk tv show is still a very likely possibility.

          The show has changed so much since it was announced, I can’t see why it won’t change again…

  8. I think that it should be called marvel knights and have the ground level heroes working together with a fluctuating cast, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Punisher, Dr.Strange and Daredevil (hope fox loses the rights). None of these characters powers would be hard to pull off on a TV budget.

    • Now that would be so cool!! I love it!

    • I like that idea and they could work in SHIELD by following these heroes (like Black Widow said they were following Bruce Banner).

  9. I couldn’t see Whedon putting out a kick/bad *** Punisher or Heroes for Hire. Two Marvel entities im really looking forward to. Marvel Studios has too much on their plate.

  10. Anyone see the show No Ordinary Family? I think if ABC were able to put that type of budget into this show that it’ll do just fine.

    • They just need to do better on casting. NOF had a few characters that were in Buffy, not that that’s a big deal.

  11. I’d like to see “Heroes for Hire”. That way they could cycle other characters in and out while have Cage and Fist as the main characters. Besides Cage and Fist are getting some air time currently on the new Spider-Man series.

  12. SHIELD tv show please…great vehicle for cameos, introduce the lesser known heroes and villains (pretty much the ones not getting the green light for movies). I say have Agent Maria Hill “star,” Cobie Smulders is great on TV and there are rumors of How I Met Your Mother ending bc Jason Segel is done with it so her schedule should be freed up. With Sam Jackson’s contract ending with Marvel soon we need more screen time with her to establish the connection as seeing her as a leader and SHIELD’s top dog. Just FYI. These episodes could really include anything from the MCU. jsut IMO

  13. I think a Black Panther show would be cool and introduce other characters such as Ant-Man or even cameos from the Avengers them selves. Then again Heroes for Hire would be cool. Defenders would be uniquely epic as well also they’d have HI’ll which they want on tv

  14. I wouldn’t mind seeing a show that was based the recent SHIELD comic series that was about the origins/history of shield, that had Leonardo da Vinci and whatnot as Agents from past time periods

  15. I really think that Runaways would be the best option. Either way I hope that it is a show with a main ensemble cast as Whedon is superb at character studies within an action element, which was probably why he was chosen to direct the Avengers in the first place.

    Looking forward to whatever TV show he does make, big Buffy and Firefly fan

  16. I disagree with Rob Keyes. Why would you not jumpstart the Hulk TV Series. Why is the guy a hater? The Hulk would be a great TV show edition. Besides The Incredible Hulk is the best hero of them all anyway.

    Rob needs to get his facts straight, He’s looking quite stupid.

    No Offense.

    • He is saying that Joss isn’t doing the Hulk show. Not that the Hulk show won’t happen.

    • Chris, I think you are misunderstanding the article.

      The Hulk show is already happening, del Toro is just waiting on another writer:

      What I’m saying here is that it’s not the same show Joss Whedon signed to help develop for a variety of reasons listed in the post.

      ps. I dig the Hulk. Never said otherwise.

      • Rob,

        Are you being completely honest in that opinion or are you throwing a little chum to us hungry sharks?

        There aren’t a “variety of reasons” you site. There is one: The initial concept and all it entails. That concept was announced long before Avengers and Hulk’s increased popularity. Don’t you think the concept could be tweeked easily enough to increase Banner’s age?

        And having Ruffalo play him would be “ideal,” but not crucial. However, on the one hand Ruffalo might not want to do a TV show, and might ask a lot of money to do so. On the other hand, he then runs the risk of another actor becoming the favored Hulk. It’s not impossible that he’d choose to do it at least through his movie obligations (he could even negotiate Hulk appearing in other Marvel movies in order to speed that up. Who’d complain?). You also sited the word “new” as if Hulk doesn’t fit that word. But it is a “new” show. It doesn’t exist at this point.

        You may end up being right, and I could be wrong, but I’m not swayed by your line of reasoning at this time. Maybe there is more you know, or you’re picking up some inflection or innuendo from some source I don’t know of.

        I do remember that after Avengers, Marvel said they were considering making Hulk “the face of Marvel studios.” When talking about the possibilities of movies, Fiege said they wanted to be careful. That Hulk may be best in cameos and in Avengers (although TV is a whole lot different from movies. I think Hulk is too one-dimensional in a movie format). I read a lot of thought and caution into that. I seriously question that they haven’t thought about tweeking this show to fit the current Marvel Universe. Again, when they first started talking about the show, Hulk was bit of a red-headed stepchild in the movieverse. Things have changed in only the last few months.

        A Hulk show featuring SHIELD and other characters? “fun possibilities” indeed.

        • Not sure what you mean, by honest.

          Again, I think you guys are misreading. There are two confirmed facts about the show in question that Whedon will help develop:

          1) It’s “new” as Marvel said in their official statement.
          2) It’s within the film continuity.

          “New” to me, means that it’s something unannounced for TV. Not a project that already has a treatment and a draft and showrunners. Within the film continuity means it’s going to be about characters not starring in The Avengers.

          Therefore, the show Whedon will work on won’t be Hulk in my estimation.

          • Just “sincere.” I was just suggesting you might be holding back a little on your entire opinion in order to allow for some back-in-forth. Nothing too nefarious.

            I have the same interpretation of “New,” but I also keep up on these news. The average person doesn’t even know about the show. It is “new” to them.

            “Within film continuity,” to me, sounds like it just fits in with the films “Universe.” I don’t see why this would be disqualified. Regardless, I imagine the way they are approaching Hulk has changed a lot, and probably still is.

            I’ll admit, I’m biased towards the Hulk show. But we’ll know for certain soon enough.

  17. It would counter act the big screen and wouldn’t work without big names stepping into TV but a Disassembled/House of M/Civil War series would be awesome but too big. SLJ could always extend his contract. I couldn’t careless about Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill.

  18. Daredevil would be the easiest to put on tv

  19. If they do The Punisher TV Series, it better be a Starz Original Series and not ABC. It will be the only way to do Punisher justice and have an insane level of blood n gore. *Interrogation Mode*

  20. Maybe if disney wants to pour more monry than there usual sitcom budget, a Young Avengers could happen on Disney XD. But as for ABC I think Shield would be the most likely (and maybe that would allow Shield to be downplayed in the films…) and Runaways seems like something up Joss Whedon’s ally for sure.

  21. It will be Hulk, tie-in with Ruffalo’s 2015 “The Hulk”. Predicted here.

    • I agree. Not sure about “the Hulk” movie though. I think they could use Hulk in the TV show to introduce characters, and SHIELD.

  22. Great idea: Punisher TV series on HBO/Showtime/AMC

  23. Hoping theyll go for a shield type show that seems most realistic

  24. I think that S.H.I.E.L.D needs to be the glue that ties everything together in the movie universe. Heroes for Hire could have a regular cast of Luke Cage, Danny Rand, Jessica Jones and Misty Knight and guest star heroes like Moon Knight, Paladin, Cloak and Dagger and any other characters that Marvel has rights to. These are all smaller characters that probably would never get the big screen treatment anyway. I f a character proves popular enough they could spin off on the big screen or into their own series.

    • Thief! How did you read and post what I was writing??! ;)

  25. Has SR ever been right with these posts? You guys make it and act like you know they’re going to follow your plans HAH!

    “10 Options for Joss” HAH!!!!!

    • TrillaDude, don’t make ScreenRant angry. You wouldn’t like them when they’re angry.

      • =D

    • Well, these aren’t the ONLY 10 options ;)

      At the beginning of the post, I specifically mention 10 commonly “suggested and rumored properties” for what it could be and expand from there.

      I do believe SHIELD will be a part of it regardless though.

  26. Of the list, I agree with Rob on the more possible ones……

    SHIELD – My only problem with this concept is, although it will be a part of the same universe, it won’t have any of the Avengers? Considering BW and Hawk are “agents”, you would expect them to at least show up occasionally.

    Then there is the issue of casting. I highly Doubt that Jackson or anyone else would agree to be on it so all those roles would have to be recast which makes no sense, especially if they WILL be in future movies like Avengers 2, Capt. America 2, etc. If it’s a shared universe then the characters NEED to remain consistent, if at all possible.

    Runaways – Is possible because, as was mentioned, Whedon has been involved in this plus this franchise has been close to reaching the production stage so they have fleshed out material.

    My issue with this idea is, it’s a show based around a bunch of kids and feels more like MMPR (Mighty Morphing Power Rangers), so better suited for the juice box crowd on the cartoon channel. I just don’t see the over 20 demographic being interested in watching this and not suited for primetime TV.

    Heroes For Hire – THIS is my bet because it has a lot of things going for it:

    - Whedon is familiar with the street level action format (Angel and Buffy) but can also work with larger casts in a TV format (Firefly)

    - The main characters can function completely independent of SHIELD or The Avengers but still be a part of the same universe should someone decide to drop in for a random cameo.

    - Focuses on two characters that require very little in the way of big budget FX to bring them to life (Martial Artist with glowing fist and invulnerable/strong guy). A very attractive selling point for those bean counters ;)

    - They can then rotate in and out a lot of Marvel’s lesser knowns that have little to no chance of getting their own movie; Moon Knight anyone? She-Hulk, White Tiger, Collen Wing, Humbug, Brother Voodoo and anyone else they want to add (or even make up). It would be similar to how a later Smallville worked.

    The only question would be…having a good enough story arc thread to keep the series going because purely episodic just doesn’t work anymore. If they can work that out then it’s the perfect choice imho.

    • What he said!

    • Agreed. The Heroes for Hire sounds like the best bet to me too

  27. The very first thing that I thought before I even read any of the article,was Cloak and Dagger,and to be honest,it’s probably the most sensible choice,aside from The Hulk.

    Most of the other choices seem either too ambitious in that their budget isn’t going to work for network tv,or just don’t fit well on network tv at all.

    Cloak and Dagger is pretty easy to do,but whether it would succeed or not is a different story.I would say that they would have to be a little bit older to work though,and my choices for the leads would be Amber Heard and for some reason,I can’t see anyone else besides Leonard Robers (D.L. from Heroes) as Cloak.

    The age difference is pretty significant to be cannon,but I think that it could work in terms of budget.

    I think that if they really wanted to take a wild swing at something that no one is expecting,I could see them doing a Groo The Wanderer show that’s totally tongue-in-cheek,just like the comic.

    I think that the only reason that The Hulk might not happen is if they really want to do another movie.Personally,I think that if they do a tv show,a lot of stuff is going to get hamstrung by budget and network standards and practices.Can’t really see MODOK,Hulk Busters,U-Foes,or most of his villains do to they would just look too cheesy for tv.

  28. Shield- all the way. The cameo’s alone will be worth it!!!

    • Hulk, with a lot of SHIELD.

      Avengers set it up perfectly. They said they would let him go and they only wanted him to locate the Cube.

      The show will start a year or two before Avengers, so they can have him struggle with controlling Hulk.

  29. Hey Rob, Im glad you read through the comments for the last Article you wrote about Possible Marvel, Tv ideas, when I mentioned Damage Control, and I agree that it would be best handled as a combo Shield and Damage Control show. I really think it would be the most plausible and could deal with Heroes and Villains with out having them actually in the show. This would also fit in with what Marvel has done with their Shield web episodes and Item 47. This would allow for tie ins with their movie properties as well keeping the light hearted and comedic side they have laced their properties with. I like that you have also mentioned the Cobie could make a great bridge between the movies and tv. I think hardcore fans may not like that they dont have any heroes in the show, but lets count the successful hero shows that have made it in tv and there really havent been many that last longer the 3 or 4 seasons and that the lucky ones. Let them keep it to names , news paper articles or items and they will keep fans happy, like Thor’s Hammer found in the middle of Time Square and no one can move it or cleaning up Brooklyn after the Hulk destroyed it.
    I would love to see a Heroes for Hire also, I just think it will get canned before it gets any steam going, and I would hate to see that happen