John Ridley, Academy Award-winning writer for 12 Years a Slave, may have been at the winter TCAs to discuss season 2 of the ABC drama American Crime, but he still managed to answer a few questions regarding his long-in-gestation television project for Marvel. With the studio making announcements over the past few days, like Marvel's Most Wanted getting a pilot order from the Disney-owned network, the time seemed right for some details on Ridley's mysterious project to come to light. And while Ridley was open to discussing his secretive project with Marvel Studios saying "the Marvel project is still very much alive," specifics on what (or who) the series would be about remained elusive.
In his limited discussion of the project, Ridley confirmed that it was still moving forward and that it was related to his pilot Presence, but the filmmaker was primarily interested in talking about specific ideas that have, in his mind, been integrated into the larger stories being put forth by Marvel Studios – especially in their television department. With his answer, Ridley singled out Jessica Jones, which, of all of Marvel's television projects – both at ABC and Netflix – certainly was the most socially conscious.
That mixture of social consciousness and "straight entertainment" are key to what Ridley hopes he will be able to pursue with his work for the studio. Read his response below:
"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.
That’s not unusual for the graphic novel space, so I would just say I hope that I would bring an appropriate amount of reflective sensibility to whatever project I may or may not be involved with in the Marvel universe. But I do want it to be entertaining in its own right. American Crime is its own thing; I hope to continue with American Crime. I would relish the opportunity to work in spaces where it really is about straight entertainment."
In contemplating his comments, there are a number of Marvel properties that spring to mind – both as something befitting Ridley's talents as a writer and his desire to pursue socially conscious ideas within the realm of superhero fiction. Prior to his statements at the TCAs, Ridley was reportedly (via EW) linked to a project that would see him "reinventing an existing Marvel superhero character or property for ABC." Of course, that was back in April of 2015, and while the Internet speculation machine went into high gear, suggesting Ridley's involvement could be connected to anything from a new approach to Cloak & Dagger, Blade's daughter, or even the all-new Ms. Marvel, none of these titles have been mentioned outright (let alone whispered) by Ridley or the studio. As such, without his being connected to a specific title or character, Ridley's project seemingly fell by the wayside.
So, even though this information from Ridley doesn't offer much for fans to get excited over, with regard to seeing a specific property or character come to ABC, it does afford those interested in all things Marvel a better idea of what the man behind the potential series is hoping to accomplish. While it's always nice to hear that a creator is approaching a new project with a clear purpose in mind, this news generates questions beyond which property Ridley may hope to reinvent. Mostly, it seems to ask: Why is Marvel waiting so long to make an announcement as to what John Ridley is working on?
There's reason to believe Ridley just hasn't had the time to develop the property properly (to his or to Marvel's liking), since it's understandable season 2 of American Crime would likely be a time consuming endeavor. With his plate full, it makes sense that both he and Marvel would prefer the specifics of the would-be future series to be made more concrete before things move forward. Whatever the answer, it seems with the project "still very much alive," fans will just have to continue to wait before more revealing information in made public.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on John Ridley's Marvel project as the new 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. Daredevil season 1 and Jessica Jones season 1 are now available on Netflix. Luke Cage season 1 and Daredevil season 2 will debut on Netflix on March 18th, 2016. Release dates for Iron Fist and The Defenders on Netflix have not yet been announced.