We now know that Marvel is planning to expand the MCU by creating a series of big-budget TV shows that will launch on the Disney Play streaming service. So far, there have been reports that Marvel is planning on series starring Tom Hiddleston's Loki and Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch, but is it possible that we've known about some of the other shows for some time, and have erroneously believed they were movie projects?
Marvel tends to release three films a year - typically two sequels and one new franchise launch. Given that the studio will now be busy producing TV shows as well, that output probably isn't going to increase anytime soon. But Marvel has rights to over 7,000 characters, a number that will increase dramatically should the Fox/Disney merger go as planned, and the comics are adding new characters all the time. That means a lot of characters and concepts could wind up being developed for Disney's streaming service.
Marvel has quite an amazing number of potential projects in the works, including a handful that they've hinted at as being "imminent." Some are spinoffs featuring secondary characters, while others introduce brand new heroes into the MCU. Inhumans has already transitioned from a planned movie project to a TV show, so could the same thing happen to other characters and superhero teams?
- This Page: From Ms. Marvel to Moon Knight
- Page 2: From Hawkeye to the Thunderbolts
Debuting in Marvel Comics back in 2013, Kamala Khan - a.k.a. Ms. Marvel - is one of Marvel's most culturally relevant legacy heroes. Kamala was created in a similar mold to Peter Parker: a young "everyman" superhero whose struggles are so very familiar to her readers. She's also Marvel's first American Muslim superhero, and the comic has traditionally explored concepts of social justice in the context of traditionalist faith.
Back in May, Kevin Feige confirmed that Marvel Studios has plans for Kamala Khan. He's keen on a comic-book-accurate portrayal, which is why Marvel has held back on the project until after the release of Captain Marvel next year. "We wanted to get Captain Marvel out there first," he revealed, "so that there is something for a young Muslim girl to get inspired by." It would make sense for Marvel to use these TV shows to launch legacy heroes like Kamala; they'd be aimed at the right demographics to make Disney Play attractive, they'd spin out of the movies pretty effectively, and their episodic format would allow Marvel the time to world-build around them. As Ms. Marvel comic book writer G. Willow Wilson has reflected, the richness of Kamala's world and the depth of her supporting characters are major reasons the book has been a tremendous success.
According to Kevin Feige, Nova has "immediate potential" to enter the MCU. In the comics, Richard Rider is a teenager who becomes a member of the space-faring Nova Corps. The MCU version of the Nova Corps, Xandar's protectors, were introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy (albeit very different in design to the comics). Xandar was ravaged by Thanos when he sought out the Power Stone, and it's safe to assume that the Nova Corps was decimated. That's the perfect setup for Nova's comic book origin, which saw him recruited because the Corps' numbers had been reduced after a bloodbath.
Nova is another hero who's ideally suited to a TV show adaptation. Like Kamala Khan, he's perfectly aimed at the kind of demographic Disney Play seem to be trying to reach. What's more, stylistically the early Nova comics felt rather like a cosmic version of Spider-Man (creator that Marv Wolfman intended him to be a homage to the wall-crawler). That would, however, mean that a Nova film wouldn't really add to the diversity of tones and styles we typically see in the MCU movies. A TV series would probably be a better bet.
Kevin Feige has always been quite open about the debt Marvel Studios owes to Blade. "There were two things that sort of launched the modern era [of superhero movies]," he noted last year. "One was X-Men, which was the first thing that people said, "Oh, there's life here." But a few years before that, there was Blade. A character nobody had heard of at all, had only appeared in a few issues of Tomb of Dracula or something, turned into a big franchise." He views Blade as a "legacy character," and has always believed he should enter the MCU at some point.
Wesley Snipes recently revealed that there are a lot of conversations going on about Blade right now. According to Snipes, there are two possible projects in the works, and the only problem for Marvel is deciding which one to go with. There's been some speculation that one of these projects could be adapted from the never-published Blade the Hunter comic, a concept that saw Blade discover he had a daughter - and introduced her to the family business. That could be a smart way of doing a Blade series for Disney Play; it would honor what has gone before, while simultaneously introducing a fresh, younger character for new viewers.
Back in 2004, Marvel began to work on the idea of self-financing their own films. The proposed first wave included Power Pack, but that project was dropped as the nascent studio began to focus on the Avengers franchises. Kevin Feige recently confirmed that Marvel Studios is still interested in exploring the concept; "We wanted to do something for families, something that's a little younger." As he noted, Ant-Man has essentially become that family-focused franchise on the big screen; but could Power Pack serve a similar purpose on Disney Play?
There have long been rumblings that Marvel Studios is interested in developing Moon Knight; in fact, back in 2017 James Gunn even pitched an idea for a movie to Marvel execs, but decided he simply didn't have the time to work on it. In truth, though, this is a character who lends himself perfectly to a creative TV show. Marc Spector suffers from a version of dissociative identity disorder, and his confused mental state makes it difficult for him to differentiate between reality and hallucination. Many writers have used this as a storytelling tool, portraying the world through Spector's eyes so as to confuse readers, and that approach really does work best in an episodic format.
Page 2 of 2: From Hawkeye to the Thunderbolts
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019