This week, while all of the attention of comics-loving filmgoers worldwide is focused on the release of THOR: THE DARK WORLD, Marvel and Netflix dropped a lovely grenade into the mix. The announcement of a content deal that will see four of their characters get full series treatment that culminates in a crossover matchup is a game-changer, for two big reasons:
Another Home Run For Netflix Original Programming
Earlier this year, Disney partnered with the streaming service for the first-on-broadcast rights to all of their upcoming films, including Lucasfilm and Marvel. With HOUSE OF CARDS, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK and ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT proving Netflix can bring in the viewers with quality properties. Rather than taking a new slate of Marvel characters to a network like the CW or AMC, Marvel is betting that characters like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist would benefit from binge-watching Netflix fans.
More Marvel Characters Get The Spotlight
Calling the four titles Marvel is producing with Netflix “second tier” seems a slight, but in all fairness the casual fan isn’t likely to know much about any of these characters. (Hell, I had to look up details on Jessica Jones.) That said, the four characters all share the same locale – Hell’s Kitchen, New York – and will wind up joining forces as THE DEFENDERS for the crossover series. Additional heroes are bound to show up to bolster the shows’ ranks, as well as the occasional visit from the “A-List” Marvel Cinematic Universe characters.
No showrunners or casting decisions were announced, only the anticipated dates for the debut of the series. (Here’s hoping Isaiah Mustafa gets a solid look as Luke Cage. C’mon. He’s ready.)
The full press release:
The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: 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 mini-series 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.