Well that didn’t take long.
One day after DC Entertainment announced they’re developing a CW show about Hourman (yawn), this morning Marvel revealed their plan to create five original shows for Netflix — one each for Daredevil(!), Jessica Jones(!), Luke Cage(!), and Iron Fist(!) that will all build toward a Defenders miniseries. Then dropped the mic and walked off the stage.
Seriously, with this announcement, Marvel isn’t playing around. I said before that Marvel has DC’s number when it comes to capturing the pop culture zeitgeist with their movie division. Now, it seems Marvel is ready to challenge DC’s television supremacy as well. And even though DC has had the backing of a multinational conglomerate like Warner Bros. for decades, Marvel is making good use of their connection to the House of Mouse by parlaying that relationship into these kinds of blockbuster business deals.
One aspect of the press release that hasn’t received much attention so far is this:
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.More on Marvel.com
Essentially, Netflix has become Disney’s — and by extension, Marvel’s — personal cable outlet, a one-stop shop for the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That’s unprecedented.
While WB has had DC in its fold for decades, it’s never quite figured out what to do with their properties beyond Superman and Batman. Meanwhile, in a few short years, Disney and Marvel have essentially perfected the art of corporate synergy. Take, for example, the mega-success of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Marvel was able to utilize the full power of Disney and ABC to propel the pilot episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. to astronomical success. Of course, the other thing S.H.I.E.L.D. has proven so far is that Marvel is way better at announcing epic projects than actually executing them. So I approach this news of the Netflix partnership with cautious optimism.
Still, teaming up with Netflix is the smart route. While there are still a number of folks who may not stream Netflix yet, it is quickly becoming the go-to destination for original content. Plus, airing shows on Netflix is no longer considered “direct-to-video” but is now viewed in the same vein as prestigious pay-cable networks like HBO and Showtime. And for those of you who abhor “watching television on your computer screens?” Netflix is going to be available through your cable provider pretty soon too.
There are still a bunch of lingering questions about these Netflix shows, though. Who will be the showrunner(s)? Who will be cast in the lead roles? What kinds of budgets will these shows have? Can we please cast an Asian American actor as Danny Rand?
But yeah, Marvel wins the internet. Again.
Your move, DC.
- Step Your Game Up, DC/WB (thenerdsofcolor.org)