Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season 10 Movies Booed At Cannes 10 Movies Booed At Cannes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

What Does The Netflix Partnership Mean For The Marvel Universe? 7 Points To Consider

The Playlist By Edward Davis | The Playlist November 8, 2013 at 1:44PM

Has the revolution begun? Netflix announced just a few days ago that they had delivered 2 billion hours of just streaming content in their fourth quarter this year. Before that, Netflix chief Ted Sarandos provoked the industry with a confrontational keynote speech about releasing films day-and-date on the streaming service and warning theater owners that they will "kill movies" if they continue to resist multi-platform distribution. A convenient, self-serving statement, he's since back pedaled away from those comments (after all, it’s Netflix who mostly benefits here).
4
Marvel/NetFlix

Has the revolution begun? Netflix announced just a few days ago that they had delivered 2 billion hours of just streaming content in their fourth quarter this year. Before that, Netflix chief Ted Sarandos provoked the industry with a confrontational keynote speech about releasing films day-and-date on the streaming service and warning theater owners that they will "kill movies" if they continue to resist multi-platform distribution. A convenient, self-serving statement, he's since back pedaled away from those comments (after all, it’s Netflix who mostly benefits here). Nevertheless, the Netflix behemoth is rattling cages with their media dominance and yesterday, in another display of their growing hegemony, the company announced another game changer: partnering with Marvel Studios to create four live-action superhero series that will kick off in 2016 (not 2015 as previously announced, according to Disney CEO Bob Iger). 

The Marvel titles include "Daredevil" (already once besmirched theatrically by the lame Ben Affleck version), "Luke Cage," "Iron Fist" (already in development as two separate movies), "Jessica Jones," and a mini-series based on the super group "The Defenders." The hook is the series will be set in the gritty Hell’s Kitchen of New York depicted in Marvel’s comic universe (a type of now non-existent dangerous, crime-ridden 1970s New York that Daredevil inhabits in the comics). The shows will begin with "Daredevil" first and it will all culminate in a “Defenders” mini-series. The implications of this news within the cohesive Marvel Cinematic Universe are myriad. And here’s several different scenarios to consider as Marvel pushes ahead.

1. It’s like “The Avengers” model for TV.
It’s almost like Kevin Feige, Bob Iger and co. are saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." So they'll introduce one character (one series) than another, then another and then ramp up into one big super-hero team mini-series. Familiar much? This is “The Avengers” archetype to the letter. Build character, build brand equity, build a whole new powerful team-up, only just on a different platform—Netflix.

The Avengers

2. Does this mean all these characters are now off the table for Marvel's unannounced 2016 and 2017 films?
Yes, pretty much. The deal is exclusive to Netflix and as you can already tell by Sarandos and Netflix’s business model, they like to keep things that way. Plus, as the press releases says, “the epic will unfold over multiple years of original programming.” Meaning even if it starts in 2015/2016, you may not get to endgame of “The Defenders” for a few years.

It’s not unfeasible that they could use these TV series’ as roadmaps to movies eventually (more on that in a second), but under the auspices of this deal, it would have to be after the series are complete. Plus let's safely assume that Marvel—a business that likes to gets its ducks in a row far in advance—is already developing its aforementioned 2016 and 2017 films as we speak, so those slots are essentially spoken for at least in a general capacity (perhaps weighing some potential already written treatments/screenplays) and waiting to be announced sometime in 2014. (And while something extravagant like “Dr. Strange” might be on the table, we’d bet the Phase Three titles are much safer choices like “Avengers 3,” “Captain America 3” and already-established brands.)

3. Or are they laying the groundwork for a roadmap that leads to some movies?
Again, Simon Says no. At least not for those aforementioned release dates and not any time soon. Marvel and Netflix will play within this new arena and gauge their respective futures base on the popularity of their Netflix consumption. So yes, they could see how audiences take to the series and then, at some point, perhaps build a bridge to culminate in a feature length movie. But Marvel, despite what some may think, is rather canny about not leaping to the screen with rushed ideas or characters. They’ve already seen “Daredevil” fail onscreen (at least critically and from a fan perspective) and all of these the characters (Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones) are less fantastical and operatic than their super-powered big-screen counterparts. That said, Marvel will never completely close a door.

"Marvel has thousands of characters…and it is not possible to mine them all with filmed entertainment," Senior Executive VP and CFO of the The Walt Disney Company recently said. "While these characters are attractive characters they are not among the most popular… it’s not likely we would have made feature films about them…though if they are popular on Netflix, they could become feature films."

4. Expect character-based superhero stories.
“This serialized epic expands the narrative possibilities of on-demand television,” lan Fine, President of Marvel Entertainment said in the statement. Translation? Many of these characters and their respective comic book stories are character-driven; perfect for the medium of television, not so much for the spectacle that audiences are used to seeing on the big screen. Point being, while many fans would love to see the Marvel Netflix series as launching pads for feature-length efforts, it’s very possible that’s not Marvel’s endgame at all. Which brings us to our next point.

This article is related to: Marvel, Kevin Feige, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, A.K.A. Jessica Jones, The Hulk, Television, TV News, TV Features, Features, Feature, Netflix (Streaming Platform)


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates