Earlier this week at the 2016 TCA press tour, ABC president Paul Lee spoke about the network’s slate of Marvel Comics-related television series. Lee’s discussion of shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, soon gave way to the announcement that Marvel’s Most Wanted – the on-again, off-again S.H.I.E.L.D spinoff series staring Mockingbird and Lance Hunter – was officially on-again and that a pilot had been ordered. Before the panel was over, Lee made a point to remind everyone that ABC would be looking for laughs in the MCU with the single-camera comedy series Damage Control, before mentioning that there was a second comedy in the works – though no specific details were mentioned.
Naturally, the announcement of anything related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (TV included) is going to immediately garner a great deal of interest, but with details so scarce (i.e., non-existent) there’s not exactly much for anyone to get excited about. And with Damage Control in the early stages of its development, there isn’t a Marvel TV comedy template for this “unannounced series” to be weighed against, even on a conceptual level. So what’s to be done when there are sweet, sweet Marvel Comics-related shows potentially being developed and yet no one is talking about them? Why you go straight to the source, that’s what.
In a new interview with ComicBook.com Marvel TV’s executive vice president Jeph Loeb addressed the possibility that the studio was developing a second comedy series by essentially saying he couldn’t say anything. In fact, when asked what he could say on the topic, Loeb responded with, “That would be nothing,” and a laugh.
While the absence of a denial isn’t necessarily proof that Marvel is moving forward with a second comedy, Loeb did offer a few additional comments about the importance of humor in the Marvel Universe – both inside the pages of the funny books and within the rapidly expanding confines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His comments mention the speculative exploration of “half-hour comedies” and what value there might be in mining laughs in a world where men and women dress up in costumes to punch bad people (and sometimes one another). For Loeb, reminding people it’s okay to laugh helps make the actual telling of the stories better.
“When you look at any Marvel property, our secret sauce has always been not so secret in that we believe that humor is part of it. It doesn’t really matter how dark we get, and certainly people felt that Daredevil and Jessica Jones were darker than they had expected Marvel properties to go, there’s still a great deal of humor in those shows.”
“We’re bringing that a man can get bitten by a radioactive spider and then go out and swing across the skyscrapers of Manhattan, or that a blind superhero can actually, somehow, use his heightened senses in order to take down those that are opposed to abiding by the law. If you’re going to have that as part of it, it’s always a good idea to make sure that the audience is aware that, yeah, it’s funny. It helps along the way in telling the story.”
Loeb brings up a good point in terms of the importance of humor in darker series and how offering up a sense of variety in terms of tone makes for a better product. In other words, even the darkest, punchiest shows, like Netflix’s street-level superheroes, need to let a little light in every so often. As Loeb said: “There are moments of levity [in] life that you need to bring to the table, or else it just becomes overwhelmingly oppressive.”
It is interesting to get this perspective from someone as high up the Marvel TV food chain as Loeb, but it still doesn’t answer the question of whether or not a second comedy is actually in the works from Marvel, or whether it will air on ABC. Again, Loeb avoided saying anything directly about the potential sitcom, but, more indirectly, he did approach the idea of “half-hour comedies,” stating what would be needed from them, in order for them to fit in with the rest of the MCU.
“If we were to explore half-hour comedies, we would keep in mind what’s important about Marvel, which is that it needs to feel grounded and real, and at the same time that it has that kind of rebellious quality to it. Marvel has always been sort of the bad boy of the comic book universe. I don’t think that’s ever going to change. I think, to be perfectly honest about it, I think we’re now the sort of, the bad people, not the bad boy.”
So, there you have it. Loeb has yet to confirm that a second Marvel TV comedy was in the works (because that’s what bad boys do). On the bright side, his comments about the role of humor in superherodom may help assuage fears that, if and when Marvel develops more sitcoms within the cinematic universe they have created, they won’t feel out of place, but rather will help to make the universe as a whole feel more “grounded and real.”
Screen Rant will keep you updated on any news regarding a second Marvel TV comedy as it is made available.
Agent Carter season 2 premieres Tuesday, January 19th, 2016 at 9pm on ABC. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3 returns on Tuesday, March 8th at 9pm on ABC.