Marvel and Netflix have announced a staggering deal which means they’ll be releasing four TV shows online over the next few years. Starting with a thirteen-episode order for Daredevil, Netflix and Marvel will subsequently release a Jessica Jones show, a Power Man show and an Iron Fist show – all leading to a team-up event called Defenders, featuring all four characters.


So, this is absolutely staggeringly huge news. The first show, Daredevil, is scheduled for 2015. From the announcement:

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.

marvelnetflix.jpg“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.



  1. This seems like a real mixed bag for me. Daredevil is hard to do well and Powerman/Iron Fist isn’t that interesting to me. On the other hand, I would kill for an Alias/The Pulse style show.

  2. “Will they be as low budget looking as SHIELD is?”

    I would expect it to be.

    If Disney won’t shell out the $$$ to make SHIELD look good for its own network, why would they do that for Netflix?

  3. If they do it right, they won’t have the same production problems SHIELD does. It’s essentially just a bunch of people fist fighting in the streets with minimal effects.

    I, personally, think this could be bad ass…especially if they let it go NR instead of trying to make it PG or PG-13. These aren’t characters that are popular with kids so I think it could work.

  4. Does the Hell’s Kitchen of Marvel have an resemblance to the Hell’s Kitchen of New York City?

    I second Dakota North. This project is the “underpowered” corner of the Marvel Universe, The “Gotham” of the 616, with crime bosses and people REALLY good/evil at what they do, but generally through training, not super powers.

    Hmmm… interesting triangle between Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Daniel Rand.

  5. I dunno, if they can’t get a show about powerless spies to look like it cost more than a shoe-string, I can’t imagine they’d be able to do better for a set of shows that are much higher concept.

  6. Mostly this proves that without the mutants, the list of Marvel Second Stringers I am interested in watching is pretty slim. Yawn.

  7. While there are, and should be major reservations on how this all turns out in reality, can I just say one thing: Jessica Jones! That right there is enough to get me on board, at least initially. If they keep her as interesting and complex as she was in Alias, they have the makings for a great show, imo.

  8. If the comic fans aren’t on board, then it might be a hit. The popular comics aren’t always what general audiences want, and vice versa.

  9. My kids (11 and 8), by choice, watch almost everything on Netflix, with one exception: Agents of SHIELD, which they/we have turned into a family TV hour.

    This move is for them, and great job Marvel for creating content that kids want to see.

  10. The readiest comparison to the Marvel/Netflix series might be Netflix’s House of Cards, but there are also the soaps that went online after going off the air: All My Children and One Life to Live. Broadcast series are platforms for ads, but they also compete for ratings. It’s noteworthy that House of Cards doesn’t have ads:

    House of Cards carries no advertising, no commercial breaks. Without advertising, there is less need to spread episodes out over time. Without advertising, there is less pressure to regularize audience attention. [. . .]

    Why, then, create House of Cards as a serial at all, if Netflix does not need to tempt audiences into repeated scheduled viewings? Probably because open-ended episode structure is still one of the best ways to encourage viewing of more than one episode. Increased viewership overall would help amortize the show’s high production cost–not because Netflix earns revenue on how many viewers see each episode but because viewer engagement will likely lead to more subscriptions to the service.

    The Marvel/Netflix deal deserves a lot of analysis, but I’m thinking that Netflix hopes that basing new shows on comics characters will attract more new subscribers to the service than programs based on other concepts will.


  11. Can they bring in the Shroud, Dominic Fortune, and the Paladin–and rename it “That 70s Squad”? Cuz then I’d watch it for sure!

  12. Just make the Brubaker run of Iron Fist and I’ll be really excited to watch it. I agree with many about Agents of SHIELD. What a bummer. It’s so boring, badly acted, and low par special effects. I’ve tried to watch 3 or 4 episodes and keep falling asleep.

  13. There have been a couple of mentions lately about Netflix being hard up for kids programming. Maybe we’ll get some “Power Pack” and “Runaways” out of this if there’s enough positive response.

  14. I wouldn’t expect to see Moon Knight or others like him–Marvel avoids costumes like the plague in live action (except for Spider-Man and Cap). Everyone one is dressed in that black leather ninja crap. The heroes announced have minimal costume needs (my guess is that Iron Fist will definitely not wear a mask, and Daredevil may be in just a red sweatshirt). I hope I’m wrong and these shows will embrace the comic book trappings the movies have avoided. Really, Thor can’t wear his helmet for five minutes?

  15. Hmmm. I actually am enjoying the slow build-up for the characters in AGENTS OF SHIELD.

    That being said, I’m excited about the prospect of some new series from Netflix. My one Fanboy Reaction Moment comes from the thought of doing THE DEFENDERS with that line-up. Where’s Doc, Subby, Hulk and the Surfer? Okay, I don’t expect the last three (to expensive or tied up in other rights), but Valkyrie, Hellcat and Nighthawk would be fun to see on screen with Doctor Strange.

    But, enough kvetching. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with these ideas. And the idea that it will be on Netflix is more than intriguing.

  16. Daredevil is the perfect property to start off with, and has some great recent stories to adapt, from Bendis to Brubaker to Di… to Mark Waid’s recent runs. I’m excited!

  17. I must be missing something with the complaints of the so called “cheapness” of the FX in Agents of SHIELD. What special effects blockbuster is airing weekly on network tv that I’m not watching? The effects and location shoots are quite impressive for a network show. The sky diving sequence in last week’s episode was pretty impressive. Are people actually comparing AoS’s effects to the Marvel movies? How come no one’s complaining how Arrow doesn’t look as good as Man of Steel or The Dark Knight?

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