As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand on the big screen, the studio has been extending its reach on television as well. Netflix has had impressive success with its Defenders series of heroes, including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and the upcoming Iron Fist and The Punisher. ABC is airing its fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and though a spin-off of that series has fallen by the wayside, they are pursuing other Marvel projects for the future.
One of those projects is a TV series to be developed by Oscar-winning writer/producer John Ridley (12 Years a Slave). This news first dropped back in April of 2015, with Ridley supposedly reinventing an "existing Marvel superhero character or property" for ABC. While the network and show creator have repeatedly assured fans that the project is still in the works, we have yet to receive any concrete information on what type of "quality stuff" Ridley is hoping to bring to the small screen.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey offered yet another update on the status of Ridley's totally hush-hush Marvel hero reboot:
"Yeah, so John is working on a rewrite of that script for Marvel at the moment. We have not seen a new version of it. He’s been on production of his show, over in London, and on season 3 of American Crime, so those are the things that have been top of mind for him of late. But I have heard from Marvel that he is working on a revision to that script."
The London location Dungey is referring to is for 1970s-era mini-series Guerrilla, which Ridley is writing, directing, and executive producing with Idris Elba for Showtime. A year ago Ridley was also working on American Crime, as well as the pilot for detective drama Presence, but was insisting he was still interested in exploring a series that combined social consciousness and "straight entertainment" as well as another Marvel show already has:
"You look at Jessica Jones, and [Marvel’s] doing an interesting job of integrating [social consciousness]. I would say in general, graphic novels, their reason for existence is a little different. It’s about wish fulfillment, whether you’re talking about Peter Parker, a young, misunderstood kid trying to figure out his way; if you’re talking about Bruce Wayne, a man who’s dealing with the loss of his parents; whether you’re talking about Clark Kent, an orphan who’s trying to figure out what he’s meant to do without the guidance of his parents."
After two years of speculation about Ridley's mysterious project, it's looking like the end result is still far away from completion. Original conjecture suggested the new series might be an adaptation of Cloak & Dagger, but that is going ahead for a 2018 release on ABC's Freeform network with showrunner Joe Pokaski. Other fans thought it might be a new version of The Runaways, but that idea's been taken up by Hulu. There's still some hope for Ms. Marvel, aka Kamala Khan, but with so little information to go on, it's tough to make any educated guesses at this point.
The fact that Ridley is working on a "revision" of a script at least means there is a completed draft of the project, however flawed the writer or studio may think it is. With Ridley's continually busy schedule, it's difficult to guess when this might get further into development, but Marvel fans can hope that the long wait for an emotionally and socially-deep story from the Oscar-winner will be worth the wait. Stay tuned to Screen Rant for any further updates.