As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand across movie screens and beyond, one of the most promising frontiers of the studio’s multimedia strategy has been the Netflix streaming service, which launched its first Marvel property, Daredevil earlier this year. However, the Netflix corner of the MCU has been primed and ready for some big expansion, with three other series – Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist – and a major team-up event (The Defenders) already planned for.
But as major new additions to the roster (like The Punisher joining Daredevil season 2), fans have been wondering about – or in some cases wishing for – a bigger span of possibilities from MCU Netflix. Thanks to the TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour, we now have a more information about where the Netflix Marvel characters are headed – and when – plus, possibilities for a new series.
Jessica Jones Confirmed for 2015
The first bit of news is that the Jessica Jones Netflix series (starring B**** in Apt. 23 star Krysten Ritter) is definitely coming in “fourth quarter of 2015.” There was some expectation that we would see the series debut in early fall, so for some fans, fourth quarter is later than expected, but it still keeps things on the predicted trajectory for Defenders solo series.
Jessica Jones is a former super hero who becomes a private investigator in NYC. The show will introduce a well-known Marvel villain to the MCU (The Purple Man, played by former Doctor Who David Tenant) – as well as helping to launch another Marvel Netflix superhero series, Luke Cage. Cage (played by The Good Wife‘s Mike Coulter) is a hero with Superman-style invulnerability; in the comics, he and Jessica Jones become an item and have a daughter, and the shows are expected to follow a similar route. Luke Cage is expected sometime in the first half of 2016, though a firm date has yet to be determined.
Defenders Crossover Plans
After the four superhero solo series have had their run on Netflix, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are expected to unite into the superhero team known as The Defenders. It was early on that we heard plans for the team up between “street level heroes” of the Netflix MCU; however, firm dates for the event were never set.
It has left some fans wondering if Marvel isn’t taking a more cautious approach, making sure each individual series works, before going full-forward on the team-up. With rumors of there being difficulties in launching certain characters, Marvel’s caution in approaching The Defenders could be prudent.
Here’s what Variety writer Laura Prudom revealed from the TCA:
Once all four Marvel Netflix shows have been launched, they'll cross over for Defenders, but "some will selectively have multiple seasons"— Laura Prudom (@LauInLA) July 28, 2015
Added Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos (via IGN):
“I think ideally there will be a rhythm of about every six months you’ll get a new season or a new series from the Defenders group. And then they’ll crossover into a combined [Defenders] season once we’ve launched the first season of each of the four characters… Some will selectively have multiple seasons as they come out of the gate. So they’ll probably be two launches a year.”
The “every six months,” fits the expected timeline for rollout between each series – but the mention of ‘selective multiple seasons’ adds a further note of caution to this approach to Netflix MCU.
Daredevil is a character who is ripe for multiple seasons, for sure – but Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are another story. Cage and Iron Fist alone could be combined into a Heroes for Hire team-up series, with Jones a part of it as well; meanwhile, Daredevil could continue on his own, while new blood gets brought in for their own turn at a series.
Speaking of which:
Punisher Netflix Series?
Former Walking Dead star Jon Bernthal is the new Punisher in the MCU, and he’ll be making his debut in season 2 of Daredevil. This has naturally led fans to speculate where else Bernthal’s Punisher could show up in and around the MCU – in the films, or (naturally), in his own violent and gritty Netflix series.
The question came up during TCA, and Sarandos showed that Netflix (if not Marvel) is thinking along the very same lines as fans. Here’s what the Netflix CCO said about Punisher maybe getting his own series on the streaming service (via IGN):
“It is possible for sure. That’s the beauty of the Marvel universe. Any of them could spin out into films too.”
Hardcore MCU followers have come to learn about the struggles that have existed between Marvel Studios (the movie side) and Marvel TV. At first there seemed to be an “us and them” approach, and though some hints of that rivalry still remain, there has also been some needed collaboration.
The final costume of Daredevil season 1 (the red one) was in fact designed by the movie division as well as the TV side, for example, so it would seem both divisions are playing a littler nicer. Then again, there’s still the question of when the TV characters will even get basic acknowledgement in the films (see: no Agents of SHIELD in Avengers 2), so perhaps Sarandon’s claims about feature film potential for Marvel Netflix characters is a bit more wishful thinking than headline, at this point.
Daredevil is currently available on Netflix. Jessica Jones premieres in Fall 2015, followed by Luke Cage and Daredevil season 2 in 2016.