Television? Make Mine Marvel
With Jessica Jones due to arrive on Netflix November 20th, let's take a look at all of the upcoming Marvel small screen projects.
First off, let's start with the brand new trailer that hit on Friday. We've had some short teasers that hint at just how dysfunctional our hero is but this full trailer gives us a real taste of what the show will truly be like. I'm especially excited to see a genuinely interesting female superhero that isn't just that most well meaning of descriptors "strong" - why can't female characters be flawed too?
Jessica Jones has been a super hero, a private investigator, a journalist, a mother and an Avenger.
It's pleasing that, although characters here exhibit more "traditional" super powers than Daredevil, it still feels part of that same street level world. The show looks thrilling, dark but with hints at real humour and I can't wait to see how it all plays out. The show also looks set to show us what happens when two super powered people bump uglies (the prospect of superhero sex was hinted at in The Incredible Hulk) and I suspect there may be some high insurance claims.
The show was originally called Alias: Jessica Jones but was changed for fear of confusion with the Jessica Garner/J.J Abrams spy-fi hit. It's based on Alias by Briand Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos which is currently back in print, as is its follow up The Pulse which saw Jessica Jones join the Daily Bugle (get ahead of the curve and pick them up from your local independent comics retailer now).
The Alias book made Jessica something of a fan favourite and it was a shame that in recent years she has been sidelined to the role of mother (spoiler, her and Luke eventually have a kid). The Bendis/Maleev run on Daredevil was a big influence on that show too and Bendis continues to be a source of inspiration across the MCU. Although the character doesn't have the recognition of some of the others being adapted for the small screen it really feels like Netflix have a hit on their hands, not just because of the goodwill carried over from Daredevil or the Marvel brand, but because they have picked a genuinely interesting character. This really has the potential to be water cooler TV.
The show features Mike Colter as Luke Cage (who will be getting his own show next year), Carrie-Anne Moss (whose character is rumoured to link to Danny Rand aka Iron Fist) and David Tennant as Killgrave aka The Purple Man. We'll also be introduced to other heroes such as Misty Knight.
It remains to be seen if Tennant's villain will have the impact of Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin but it is just possible that Netflix will prove that they have the most diverse, most interesting, most terrifying rogues gallery of the whole MCU.
DAREDEVIL SEASON TWO
A teaser for Daredevil Season Two was released at New York Comic Con and gives us our first glimpse of Jon Bernthal as The Punisher. Daredevil and The Punisher went up against each other in the aftermath of The Kingpin's defeat in (you guessed it) Brian Michael Bendis' run on the book so it will be interesting to see if that story line gets picked up here.
The Punisher is potentially being set up as an antagonist here but his appearance may also be acting as a back door pilot for his own Netflix series. The show will also feature Elektra who was referenced in the first season of the show.
Whilst it's great that, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe "everything is connected", the only concern is that the team are able to avoid "Iron Man 2" syndrome, a sequel rushed into production with the added weight of having to set up the forthcoming team up series The Defenders. Hopefully lessons have been learned.
LUKE CAGE, IRON FIST and THE DEFENDERS
Five Netflix/Marvel collaborations were ordered, of which Luke Cage would be the third to hit the small screen. The show is rumoured to take us out of Hell's Kitchen and up to Harlem.
It's been noted that not much has been made of Iron Fist as of yet (especially with it scheduled to air this time next year) and not much ground seems to have been made on getting the show into production. There were casting rumours a few months back including Ryan Phillipe (which, having been an admirer of his since Christopher McQuarrie's excellent The Way of The Gun I was totally on board with). It seems that no one has been able to pitch it just right as it will introduce mystical elements into what have so far been relatively gritty and realistic shows. It's possible that we might not hear much about this for some time but hopefully Doctor Strange will make the magical side of the MCU more palatable to viewers. Luke Cage and Danny Rand formed Heroes For Hire, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Luke Cage act as the set up for the Iron Fist stand alone.
On the distant horizon we have The Defenders, a street level version of The Avengers, the series will see Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist team up to face a terrible evil. Not much else is known about this show other than it will likely hit our screens sometime in 2017.
MOON KNIGHT and BLADE
These are strictly rumours, but with Blade's daughter about to take his mantle in the comics it has been hinted that Marvel are really eager to do something with the character now they have the rights back. The last Blade TV Series was a mess so, please, we need something to bring the Daywalker back into the light. Or the shadows. Just don't mess it up.
It's also been rumoured that Moon Knight is being considered for adaptation. Marc Spector, ex mercenary turned investigator and possessed by the ancient Egyptian God Khonshu, is one of Marvel's more sinister and out there characters. Brian Michael Bendis (him again) had a critically acclaimed run on the book and he has been recently reimagined by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey in a much more TV friendly costume. A Moon Knight series would be weird, whacky and utterly wonderful to see. Ellis' short tenure on the book envisaged him as a sort of consulting detective and was also written as 6 stand alone issues, which gives the perfect feel of episodic television. It's great and if you've not read it then make sure to add it to your Christmas list.
Now, I always expected Damage Control to turn up eventually, most likely as a sight gag in an Avengers movie, tidying up after a superhero smackdown. I did not expect it to become an in development ABC sitcom. Rumour has it that Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3, ITV2's No Heroics) has been pitching this as a movie for some time - which reminds me, his unproduced script for The Runaways is meant to be excellent - but now the Damage Control crew are set to lead Marvel's first Sitcom. I've just given you the same information twice. Marvel are making a sitcom. It still doesn't seem quite right, does it?
In the comics Damage Control was co-owned by Tony Stark and Wilson Fisk, a company whose sole purpose is to rebuild after the destructive events of a super powered fight. They've had four limited mini-series to date and often appear in other series. It completely makes sense that Tony Stark would want to set something like this up in the aftermath of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Damage Control played a key role in Marvel Comics' Civil War event.
Could this be a chance for Cobie Smulders to return to prime time sitcom? I really wouldn't be surprised to see Maria Hill become a recurring guest star and she'd certainly fit right in. The show is being developed by former Daily Show executive producer Ben Karlin so here's hoping for some really smart comedy. We can also expect easter eggs galore, both in terms of the MCU and more obscure parts of the Marvel comics.
Marvel movies have always been commended for their sense of humour (very much the antithesis of the darker DC releases) but I can't yet quite see how this is going to work, especially with the fall out of the Avenger's actions being a big dramatic concern of the MCU as of late. An all out comedy doesn't seem tonally right.
I am, as always, willing to be proven wrong and if all goes well expect a Damage Control: Ultimate Collection of the comic miniseries released so far to be published sometime next year.
There's so much great genre TV at the moment. Make mine Marvel.