IGN ran a story earlier today with comments from Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos about the future of the streaming service’s relationship with Marvel and a potential production timeline for the release of new seasons and series based on Marvel properties. Netflix, which already debuted “Daredevil” earlier this year to much acclaim, has three further series in the works, along with a second season of “Daredevil” and a culmination miniseries of the four shows following later. Sarandos on the current plan…
“I think ideally there will be a rhythm of about every six months you’ll get a new season or a new series from the Defenders group. And then they’ll crossover into a combined [Defenders] season once we’ve launched the first season of each of the four characters. Some will selectively have multiple seasons as they come out of the gate. So they’ll probably be two launches a year.”
While we should absolutely take him at his word, that is an extremely conservative estimate. Sure, it jibes with the fact that we were given “Daredevil” back in April and are receiving “Jessica Jones” later this year, but we already know that we are getting three seasons next year. “Daredevil” is currently shooting its second season and will premiere in April or May. “Luke Cage” will shoot this fall or early next year and premiere a few months after “Daredevil“. “Iron Fist” is also expected to begin production sometime in the next nine months, with a 2016 debut on Netflix still likely.
That’s three seasons pegged for 2016 as is and that doesn’t even factor in a potential second season of “Jessica Jones“. Based on the success of “Daredevil” and Marvel’s hot streak in general (Ant-Man is a hit, after all), I’d say a second run of “Jessica Jones” is pretty much a done deal and should be expected to arrive in late 2016 or early 2017. That will give us six seasons of material to head into the Avengers-esque team-up miniseries, “The Defenders“, in 2017. Seeing second seasons of “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist” before the arrival of “The Defenders” is highly unlikely; same goes for a third season of “Daredevil“. That said, all three are likely to arrive in 2018, along with a third season of “Jessica Jones“.
The picture this paints is not a new Marvel season on Netflix every six months, but every four. Why the conservative early estimate from Sarandos? It’s simple: they are hedging their bets. Much like Marvel’s film division when it comes to upcoming new properties, Marvel TV doesn’t want to promote second seasons for shows that haven’t arrived yet. I fully expect Marvel to announce Ant-Man 2 at D23 next month, just like I expect them to do the same at a later date when their other upcoming new characters (Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel) prove successful. Just like I expect an announcement of a second season of “Jessica Jones” about a month or two after its debut later this year.
It only took “Daredevil” a few months to begin production on its second season after the first one proved a hit. We should expect nothing less of the others. Marvel has tight-knit film crews pretty much working full-time in both Atlanta, Georgia and London, England now. The crew for Ant-Man is mostly the same as the crew now working on Captain America: Civil War. The same is being done with the New York City crew for Marvel TV. Many of those who worked on “Daredevil” moved over to “Jessica Jones” and are now back on “Daredevil” for its second season. If Marvel Studios wasn’t an old school studio before, they certainly are now.
Does receiving a new Marvel season on Netflix every four months sound like too much for you? I hope not, because it likely won’t stop there. Marvel TV has their hands on a lot of characters. Not all are solo series material, but at least another handful are. There’s a reason that Sarandos specifically says “the Defenders group”. He is only talking about our four main Netflix heroes above and excluding potential shows outside of that crew on down the line.
We know that The Punisher is arriving in the second season of “Daredevil” and certainly has a shot at getting his own show eventually if Jon Bernthal and Marvel TV’s take on the character proves popular. But what of other characters? One needs only look at the other Marvel properties that were previously set up at ABC to see the possibilities…
Shang Chi. Kazar. Moon Knight. Cloak & Dagger. Werewolf by Night. Power Pack. Plus newly regained characters Blade and Ghost Rider.
Should we expect all of those and more to get their own Netflix shows? No. Power Pack has previously been bandied about as a second Disney animated title (much like last year’s Big Hero 6) and that could still be a possibility for those characters. Cloak & Dagger is tricky as well, given that ABC’s “Agent Carter” will be introducing the Darkforce. Could they appear on that show or “Agent of SHIELD“? Certainly. Give the Darkforce, they could also have a place in a future Doctor Strange film. The duo also have strong ties to Spider-Man, so an appearance in a Spidey film wouldn’t be out of the question. There are many places for those two to debut.
Shang Chi seems likely for usage in “Iron Fist” at some point, be it in Danny Rand’s initial season or one at a later date. Could he get his own show at some point? Of course, but I wouldn’t expect it initially. Ka-Zar could make for a cool and incredibly different Netflix series detached from the others, but his detached Savage Land nature might work against him. The first four shows are building towards “The Defenders“. I can only imagine any future phase would build towards another miniseries, be it “The Defenders 2: Shadowland” or something else.
The clear standouts here are the likes of Moon Knight, Werewolf by Night, Blade, and Ghost Rider. Could four supernatural characters plus four solo shows equal one supernatural miniseries team-up? Definitely. I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at a “Nightstalkers” or “Midnight Sons” or “Tomb of Dracula” miniseries. Does that mean such a concept is in the works? No, though I imagine discussions have been had. The numbers are in its favor, as is the fact that superhero horror has not yet been explored in the MCU or the upcoming DC slate. NBC’s “Constantine” teased such possibilities, but never really went there and will now never get the chance. It’s uncharted territory and would certainly make for an interesting “Netflix Phase Two” endeavor if they ever decide to head down that road.
Bottom line? We are certainly going to get a new Marvel season on Netflix every six months at MINIMUM. At most? We are at the very least looking at 3 to 4 seasons a year*, with the potential to expand up to 10. I’m sure some are rolling their eyes at the thought of that much superhero TV being available on the world’s most popular streaming service, but to them I say only this: it’s going to help pay for all of your other favorite Netflix series, so quit whining. Besides, no one is making you watch them.
* – There’s also the off-chance that they get creative and combine “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist” into one “Heroes For Hire” series.