We knew Marvel and Netflix had been sitting in a tree, but they have been doing a whole lot more than kissing. The union instead will result in four bouncing baby TV streaming series, featuring some of the MOST DEMANDED Marvel characters of all: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and, oh yes, Luke Cage. The deal will see Marvel Television will develop four 13-episode TV shows starting in 2015, which will culminate in The Defenders:
Led by a series focused on “Daredevil,” followed by “Jessica Jones,” “Iron Fist” and “Luke Cage,” the epic will unfold over multiple years of original programming, taking Netflix members deep into the gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell’s Kitchen, New York￼. Netflix has committed to a minimum of four, thirteen episodes series and a culminating Marvel’s “The Defenders” mini-series event that reimagines a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters.
Obviously, this is a huge deal for both Netflix and Marvel. Netflix has had success with their first few streaming TV series—House of Cards, the return of Arrested Development and Orange is the New Black—and they earlier inked a deal to roll out 300 hours of family friendly streaming TV based on Dreamworks Animation characters . The Marvel deal ups the ante with very recognizable characters who already have a vocal fanbase. For Marvel, presenting these characters in the “binge watching” format not only gives these “B-listers” a vastly wider platform, but presents some very intriguing storytelling opportunities.
Daredevil was the star of an uneven film before the rights reverted back to Marvel after Fox couldn’t figure out what to do with him. Iron Fist and Luke Cage remain hugely popular cult characters whose media development is constantly rumored. Jessica Jones, who first appeared in the book Alias by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, was previously in development as a TV show at Disney, so the interest in this character at the Mouse has been there for a while.
No creative teams or other details were announced, but you can bet that casting Luke Cage will be leaping to the top of the superhero casting game.
The big worry: will these TV shows be better than Agents of SHIELD?
The Walt Disney Co. (Marvel is a known and loved brand that travels,” sNYSE: DIS) and Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) today announced an unprecedented deal for Marvel TV to bring multiple original series of live-action adventures of four of Marvel’s most popular characters exclusively to the world’s leading Internet TV Network beginning in 2015. This pioneering agreement calls for Marvel to develop four serialized programs leading to a miniseries programming event.
Led by a series focused on “Daredevil,” followed by “Jessica Jones,” “Iron Fist” and “Luke Cage,” the epic will unfold over multiple years of original programming, taking Netflix members deep into the gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Netflix has committed to a minimum of four, thirteen episodes series and a culminating Marvel’s “The Defenders” mini-series event that reimagines a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters.
Produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Television Studios, this groundbreaking deal is Marvel’s most ambitious foray yet into live-action TV storytelling.
“This deal is unparalleled in its scope and size, and reinforces our commitment to deliver Marvel’s brand, content and characters across all platforms of storytelling. Netflix offers an incredible platform for the kind of rich storytelling that is Marvel’s specialty,” said Alan Fine, President of Marvel Entertainment. “This serialized epic expands the narrative possibilities of on-demand television and gives fans the flexibility to immerse themselves how and when they want in what’s sure to be a thrilling and engaging adventure.”
“Marvel’s movies, such as ‘Iron Man’ and Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’, are huge favorites on our service around the world. Like Disney, Marvel is a known and loved brand that travels,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “With ‘House of Cards’ and our other original series, we have pioneered new approaches to storytelling and to global distribution and we’re thrilled to be working with Disney and Marvel to take our brand of television to new levels with a creative project of this magnitude.”
This new original TV deal follows last year’s landmark movie distribution deal through which, beginning with 2016 theatrically released feature films, Netflix will be the exclusive U.S. subscription television service for first-run, live-action and animated movies from the Walt Disney Studios, including titles from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Disneynature and Lucasfilm. Netflix members can currently enjoy a wide range of Disney, ABC TV and Disney Channel films and shows across the 41 countries where Netflix operates.
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.