One of the major — if not THE major — reasons that Disney purchased Marvel two years ago for $4 billion was that the House of Ideas supplied a ready-made audience of material aimed at boys under 18 — the one quadrant Disney has always had the toughest time reaching. Disney does princesses and Pooh great, but they had to create a whole cable network that could be specifically branded for boys — Disney XD, which already airs various Marvel cartoons.
So this look at just how Disney has used the Marvel universe by Mike Gold is quite interesting as he points out that Marvel TV shows in development at Disney include the Hulk, AKA Jessica Jones (ALIAS), Cloak and Dagger, and a possible Miley Cyrus vehicle based on Mockingbird:
Step back a pace and take a look at what’s going on here.
Most of these shows are built around female superheroes. As headliners, such characters are anathema to motion picture studios. But Disney is betting heavy, heavy bucks that the distaff side will draw a sufficient audience to warrant the investment.
That’s pretty cool – and very risky. Women heroes haven’t fared much better on the small screen: Nikita was renewed by the skin of her teeth, The Bionic Woman revival flamed out, as did Charlie’s Angels redux. David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman didn’t make it past the pilot stage. Yet Disney is developing no less than three Marvel shows built around women.
Although Marvel’s movie slate is totally boytastic, it does seem that the small screen offerings are fitting into the Closer/Medium/Damages/Prime suspect vibe: women solving crimes and kicking butt. The small screen has long been much friendlier to female protagonists and Disney/Marvel can’t help but have noticed that.
It also fits into some theories from the time of the sale that felt that Disney would revert to type and make even Marvel’s world of superheroes way more girl-friendly than you ever thought it could be. X-23, where you be?
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.