Comic fans knew to expect something potentially groundbreaking when Marvel announced their deal to bring four new series to Netflix, with Daredevil the first to be completed. Marvel Comics Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada has revealed that the tone of the show won't be the only thing making the series unique when it reaches Netflix in 2015.
Comic book movie fans may not realize that it was Quesada who helped save Marvel Comics from the brink of bankruptcy - yes, bankruptcy - back in 1998, bringing fringe characters like Daredevil and The Punisher back into the spotlight with a darker, more refreshing approach. Understandably, that history with the visually impaired attorney/acrobatic vigilante has made the upcoming Netflix series one of particular interest to Quesada.
In an interview with CBR, the Chief Creative Officer explained that the Netflix projects are one of his top priorities, overseeing the adaptation of Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and The Defenders. But Matt Murdock will always hold a special place for the artist-turned-executive (news sure to boost optimism among fans of the hero):
"I've been working very, very closely with the entire team on all levels of the show. I think everybody knows my relationship with the character of Daredevil, and how important the character is to me -- not just on an emotional front, but on a professional front. How DD brought me back here to Marvel, and how instrumental he was to even me being in this particular position I'm in today. I'm very involved with the show, as well as everything that we're doing with the Netflix shows. I'm incredibly excited, plus the dark and gritty noir world of DD and the Netflix characters, it's kind of where I live so it naturally attracts me to begin with."
Marvel's recent parade of blockbusters has led many fans to believe that several licensed properties (from Fantastic Four to Spider-Man) would be better served if returned to their parent studio. The campy Ben Affleck-led Daredevil (2003) in particular is still a sore spot for fans of the hero, and Marvel is taking some clear steps to avoid that film's mistakes (the series will actually be filmed in New York City, for instance).
But according to Quesada, those in charge aren't bothering with regret (even if Affleck is), stating that "we're not going into this show with the idea of trying to erase the memory of anything that came before." Fans may not be so willing to forgive and forget, but there's no question that the new format selected for Murdock's second wind still carries some risk. Not as much as a blockbuster film, perhaps, but Marvel has also chosen to avoid the standard TV formula selected by Warner Bros. and DC Comics for both Gotham and The Flash.
The Netflix model has seen recent success, but in the case of Daredevil, Quesada hints that fans wishing for a big screen reboot may be pleasantly surprised:
"One of the advantages is really from the planning stage -- obviously it's much easier to work with a smaller number of episodes than it is with a larger number of episodes. We can sit there and look at 13 episodes and plan it out as a very large movie. It makes seeing the bigger picture a little bit easier.
"You can't deny that there will be binge-viewing. You know that there are going to be some Marvel fans that when this show premieres, they are going to go on to Netflix, and they are going to sit there for 12 to 13-plus hours, and watch the entire thing all the way through. It's going to happen. The Netflix model offers us the advantage of being able to construct the show in a manner that is very different than a weekly network TV show... With weekly TV, you sit there and go, "The audience may not want to wait two or three weeks to get this particular bit of information." Whereas with Netflix, we might be able to hold onto a particular piece of information, because they may just watch it two hours later."
It's difficult to tell how the finished product will differ from standard TV seasons when all is said and done, but clearly Marvel has hedged their bets by assigning writer/director Drew Goddard to run the project (presumably before he shifts focus to Sony's Sinister Six team-up). It's worth mentioning that while Marvel is taking a different direction than WB (although Gotham's creator confirms the series will be one long story arc as well), Quesada sees comic book talent across the entire industry - the main reason he doesn't see the wave of superhero blockbusters 'crashing' now that it's arrived:
"This is something I've been hearing now for over 10-plus years. "When is the wave going to die? When are people going to say, 'I'm sick of comic book movies'?" You know what? I'm sick of people saying that... Everybody who is in our industry, everybody who loves what we do, from the creative side to fandom, we've been here forever, and we keep coming back for more, as long as the books are good, as long as the stories are great, regardless of whether they are Marvel, DC, Image, Dynamite, superheroes, alternative, indie, corporate-owned, creator-owned, licensed, paper, digital -- it doesn't matter where they're coming from. People just want great stories."
What do you think of Quesada's comments? Do you see Marvel's deal with Netflix as just the first of many comic book adaptations, or will future adaptations depend largely on the success of Daredevil and his colleagues? Share your thoughts in the comments.
We'll keep you updated on Marvel’s Netflix series as the details arrive.
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