The Marvel cinematic universe started in 2008 and has grown and flourished since then. The franchise includes not only film but also TV work. They have made a number of superhero shows and this year they are launching some more. These new shows are ambitious and look promising. I wanted to take a look at their future super hero shows as some of them look pretty interesting.
At this point Marvel are dominant in superhero film. They are easily the leaders of that field. Marvel has conquered the film world but their TV efforts have been more mixed. There is a general perception that the Marvel films are much better than their TV shows and there is a bit of a gulf in their quality. A show like Agents of Shield is weak for instance, and Iron Fist got dismissed by the critics. The films have definitely been better- but this might be about to change.
Marvel have several new TV shows in production. They are adapting the comics Inhumans and Cloak and Dagger, they have an X-Men show in the works at FOX, and they are continuing their Netflix shows through The Defenders and The Punisher. These new shows all look good. They might offer something different and fresh, and enhance the franchise even further.
Inhumans is possibly the most high-profile show they are doing. This is a series from ABC and is going to air this autumn. The comic is about a group of characters who have gained special abilities from alien interference. They are genetically superior to humans and have enormous strength. They can do things like destroy things with their voice or attack people with their long hair. The Inhumans have their own world called Attilan. The characters are a Royal Family of superheroes and are all linked to each other.
The adaptation of Inhumans is currently filming in Hawaii. It is shooting this spring to meet the fall air date. Anson Mount and Serinda Swan are playing the king and queen of Attilan, with Iwan Rheon as the king’s brother, a villain who schemes against his brother Black Bolt.
The premiere episodes are going to be released in cinemas, almost like a film. This is appropriate as Inhumans was a film initially and had been mooted for Phase 3 of the film series. Then they decided to make it for TV instead. The show has a complicated world and a rich set of characters and this project is probably more suited to a long-form TV series than a film. There is a lot they could do with it. I wonder what it is going to be like – what tone are they going for, because it literally is a royal family with court intrigue and such.
It isn’t the usual situation with a protagonist and their abilities, the format which a show like Daredevil would do. It is a family with all the bonds and in-fighting which a family has. It is an interesting and rich dynamic where the characters all have close connections to each other. Even if they try to destroy each other they are still family and nothing can erase that. The king’s brother tries to get rid of him, there are lots of cousins and relatives, they even have a pet dog which is a fairly significant character in of itself.
Inhumans is actually tied to Guardians of the Galaxy as the alien race the Kree are part of both comics. The Kree gave the Inhumans their abilities through experiments they did to them. This is a link between the two works. It isn’t clear if they are going to do a crossover though. Marvel are reluctant to mention their TV work in their films for some reason. It is not a given that they would tie the two together.
Inhumans is going to be eight episodes long which should give them time to delve into the characters and their world.
Cloak and Dagger is also a project which looks striking. This is about a couple of runaway teenagers who gain superpowers after they are involved in an experiment. Again the starting point is slightly different to the usual superhero fare. This is about a young couple who are in a romance. It has a culture clash aspect. The boy is a working class guy from the streets while the girl is wealthy and WASP-ish. The two of them fight crime together and have a relationship.
It is a young adult series which touches on issues such as drugs and race. It is going to air on Freeform which is mainly a channel for young people. The first season is entering production this year though it might not air until 2018.
The comic has had various permutations but it always has the same dynamic, which is that Cloak and Dagger work well together. Their abilities are intertwined and they complement each other. They support each other and generally they are stronger together.
I like the art and imagery from this comic, the visual motif which it has. The comic is quite beautiful at times. It should translate into something appealing on screen.
There is also the work which Marvel are doing on Netflix. Netflix have made a number of shows of Marvel characters. They are making some more and launching them this year.
The Netflix shows are well liked although to be honest they don’t do much for me. Most viewers seem to enjoy them but I didn’t stick with them. I am not sure why but they didn’t grab me. Netflix has two new efforts this year so they obviously are popular.
Their new shows are going to take the Netflix work to the next level. Just as the films came together in The Avengers, the TV shows are going to do the same thing. They are doing a crossover event called The Defenders, which is going to feature all the characters who have their own shows already.
The Defenders is in production right now and is set for release this year. This is the culmination of the Marvel shows on Netflix which are almost like a closed series in of themselves. They focus on what is called street-level characters, which means superheroes who function in gritty environments, with a greater sense of realism than the films.
The Defenders show is about Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Rand working together and joining forces to fight a larger threat. The villain they fight is The Hand, a female villain called Alexandra who is too strong for them to defeat on their own. Some other familiar characters are also going to feature.
When the Marvel films combined all their lead characters it was pretty spectacular and compelling. The TV equivalent should be good too. These franchises have already crossed over before so this is likely to work well. Jessica Jones and Luke have a relationship and have appeared on screen together already, and there is a lot of continuity going through these shows. It should be fascinating to see all the characters work together.
After the Defenders Netflix are launching a show about The Punisher. This character was a success when introduced on Daredevil and now is the star of his own show. This started filming in October 2016 but it is set to air after the Defenders. It shall probably air in the fall of 2017.
The Punisher is one of the darkest characters which they have in the franchise. This is a comic with a lot of violence, featuring a lead character who is harsh and almost a villain. A former marine fights crime and is helped by his military contacts. It has a clash of military characters and a lot of criminal characters. The tone of it is no holds barred with stories about revenge and mental torture.
The Punisher is a popular character and this is likely to be a hit show. Bernthal has already appeared as this character in Daredevil and did well in the role. It shouldn’t be hard to make a good series about this comic.
FOX are also making a show from a Marvel comic. They have been developing a TV series about mutants with special powers. This is in the vein of the X Men film series. Amy Acker and Sean Teale are among the cast.
The story is about a human couple who discover that their child is a mutant. Mutants face discrimination and the couple have to hide their child from the government. They join with a secret network of mutants who exist in hiding. A variety of mutant characters are set to appear.
Just on concept, this is a strong project. It has the potential to cross over with the X Men films. The first episode is directed by Bryan Singer. The possibility is there for characters from the films to appear. The sentinels are said to feature on the show.
This is going through the usual development system which TV shows go through. The pilots are made and then in May the network decides whether to pick up the series or not. The pilot is in production at the minute and filming started this month. I would think it is very likely that FOX choose this to go to series. The X Men are very popular and a TV show about them should do well.
It should be interesting to see how these shows turn out. They represent a chance for Marvel to do something new and add new characters to their universe. The bulk of them launch this year.