With the earth-shattering news last year of Disney acquiring Marvel, many wondered what opportunities such a merger would open doors to for the powerhouse comic publisher. Disney’s empire spans across many mediums including that of television with networks such as ABC for which the Marvel brand could – and will – take advantage of.
Earlier this summer, Marvel Entertainment launched a new division specific to television to be headed up by comic industry veteran Jeph Loeb and Marvel exec Dan Buckly. The new division would handle projects such as cartoons, straight-to-DVD features and what everyone would love to see one day, live-action Marvel television programs.
Back at San Diego Comic-Con, MTV asked Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada about their new-found situation under the ownership of Disney and how it can positively affect their growth in the TV market, although he was tight-lipped about any specific potential projects.
“We have a strategy at Marvel — nothing we’re really ready to talk about… What I can talk about is that it’s a brave new world for Marvel. Now that we’ve been purchased by Disney, we’re part of the Disney family. Our strength, our leverage is that much more… Disney’s an international, worldwide company, and Marvel’s well on its way to becoming that as well. Marvel does things that Disney’s has trouble doing — which is attracting a male audience. That’s really our bailiwick, and not so much for Disney. Where they’re very strong in girls, we’re very strong in boys. It’s a perfect marriage.”
We can agree that Marvel will open doors for Disney (and vice versa) to hit different demographics with their wide-range of recognizable brands and a library of over 5000 characters, but what will we see next? Over the years, we’ve seen iterations of popular characters and series such as Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk and others, but what will Marvel’s new division, under the supervision of Disney, bring us that’s new?
“We’re talking to some people, we have some great ideas, [and] we want to make sure that whatever we come out with first, whatever we decide to come out with first, is explosive and just has everyone smiling from ear to ear and saying that is quintessentially Marvel.”
What about a live-action Marvel series instead of the usual animated fare?
“Anything and everything is on the table… We’re thinking about every possibility for Marvel. The one thing about Marvel is that, it while may seem like we do a lot of things by the seat of our pants, we’re a very methodical company — we think about things very thoroughly and no decision is made in a vacuum.”
Hopefully this means we’ll see Marvel expand into something completely new and unique, offering unique television we’ve yet to see. ABC (Disney) has the financial power to spend big on prime time series such as Lost so a live-action Marvel superhero series may not be too far-fetched.
The question is, what would such a series be about? What character(s) would it feature?
When I think Marvel and television, I immediately reflect upon the animated X-Men cartoon of the 1990s, also known as the greatest cartoon of all time. I’d love to see a live-action X-Men series but with Fox owning their rights and the budgetary needs of such a show, that’s not likely something we’ll see for very long time, if ever.
With Marvel Studios doing amazing things on the film front, expanding the franchise with many of their characters in early development as their own solo movies, there’s so much opportunity for Marvel and Disney to do great things. Let’s hope what they do is as great as the potential.
Perhaps those rumored Marvel short films to introduce secondary characters, debuting alongside their blockbuster theatrical releases such as The Avengers will lead into live-action television programs? There’s a thought.