Netflix and Marvel announced today that they are going to jointly produce four original series based on Marvel characters Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage.
The partnership includes a minimum of four 13-episode series, which Netflix will stream in 2015. In addition, the streaming service will cap this string of original programming with a miniseries based on The Defenders.
This announcement comes as a bit of a non-surprise surprise. Marvel is having modest success with their Agents of SHIELD series, so everyone expected them to expand their live-action television presence, but I don’t think anyone foresaw the partnership with Netflix. Now that it’s here, though, it makes complete sense. Streaming is how people want to consume television now, and Agents of SHIELD proves that every week when so many viewers choose to DVR the show and watch on their own schedule. Add to that the fact that, just last year, Netflix and Disney inked a deal that will bring Disney’s films to Netflix Instant beginning in 2016 and the fact that–with shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black–Netflix is making their own push in original programming, and you see that Disney/Marvel teaming with Netflix is a no-brainer.
As for the series themselves, ever since the film rights to Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Punisher, and Blade returned to Marvel, I’ve hoped they would use their Marvel Knights brand to create a separate–but canon–timeline set in the 1970s, which is what Joe Carnahan’s Daredevil reboot would have been. The fact that Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist are all a part of this deal with Netflix gives me a little bit of hope that maybe Marvel is going that route (or at least something similar, like Heroes for Hire). The inclusion of Jessica Jones throws a bit of a wrench into that plan, since she’s not really a character that I’d say fits the dark and gritty world I had imagined, but it could still work–hopefully still set in the ’70s because that’s the best way to have this new team and not worry about wondering why The Avengers aren’t around, but a more contemporary setting could also be alright, if not optimal. It’s also possible that none of these series will crossover with each other (although that’s unlikely, as all of these characters have very close ties in the comics, and the miniseries based on The Defenders could possibly be an Avengers-esque team-up event).
Anyway, it’s all very exciting news. One more thing, for all the Marshmallows out there: a Jessica Jones series will almost certainly be like if Veronica Mars and Smallville had a baby, so that should be interesting.