Marvel's Cinematic Universe will expand to Netflix with a series of superhero TV shows based in Hell's Kitchen, starting when Daredevil - from showrunner Steven DeKnight (Spartacus) - premieres on the streaming service next week. Melissa Rosenberg's (Dexter) A.K.A. Jessica Jones series will follow sometime later this year, before Luke Cage arrives in 2016.
The 2016 launch for Luke Cage has been confirmed in Marvel's announcement that Cheo Hodari Coker is set to oversee the project. Coker will pen the first two episodes of the series, in addition to handling showrunner/executive producer duties. However, Mike Colter will first play the title character (a crime-fighter with super-human strength and durability) on Rosenberg's Marvel/Netflix show - as the love interest for the former superhero turned private investigator Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter).
Coker was previously a writer/producer on TV series like Southland, Almost Human, and Ray Donovan; he also co-wrote the 2009 Notorious B.I.G. biopic Notorious. The extensive amount of crime drama TV work under Coker's belt (including his experience from working on NCIS: Los Angeles) ought to serve him well as the showrunner on Luke Cage - a series that will examine the life of a superhero fighting street crime, similar to the other Marvel/Netflix programs.
That Coker worked on short-lived (but well-received) sci-fi buddy cop show Almost Human is all the more encouraging here, seeing as Luke Cage (like Almost Human) is seeking to combine more grounded character drama with fantastical genre elements - in this case, a world populated by metahumans with super-powers. Marvel's Netflix shows may wind up serving as a nice compliment to the style of its big-screen features and TV shows (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter), thanks to their emphasis on more mature genre content.
Coker, Rosenberg, and DeKnight also represent a nice diverse collection of talent - not just in terms of background, but also the showrunners themselves. One benefit of the Netflix model is the series format allows for greater artistic freedom, so fingers crossed these storytellers' voices will come through strongly on their respective Marvel comic-based shows. The same goes for the candidate recruited to be the showrunner on the Iron Fist series (and, after that, the team-up mini-series The Defenders).
Daniel Rand a.k.a. Iron Fist is no stranger to Luke Cage in the Marvel comic books, so odds are the character will share the screen with Colter at some point over the course of Coker's Netflix series. The way things are shaping up, Marvel's Hell's Kitchen shows will inter-connect with one another in nice and clean ways, while still including nods to the larger events on Earth in the MCU (see: the Avengers reference in the latest Daredevil trailer).
Lastly, given the speed at which these Netflix shows are coming together, one assumes Iron Fist will debut on Netflix as soon as late 2016 - with The Defenders following in the first half of 2017. It's nice to see these Marvel series are neither (seemingly) being rushed, nor are they taking as long as Netflix head Ted Sarandos suggested they might.
Daredevil will be available for viewing on Netflix starting April 10th, 2015. A.K.A. Jessica Jones will debut later in 2015, followed by Luke Cage in 2016, and Iron Fist (most likely) in the second half of 2016.
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