<i>by <a href=http://www.twitter.com/Newsarama/>Newsarama Staff</a></i> <p>With the news that <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/17775-report-agents-of-s-h-i-e-l-d-gets-abc-series-order.html"><b>Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.</b></a> has been picked up as a fall series at ABC, and Bob Iger stressing the importance of ABC creating in-home television hits on Disney's recent financial earnings call, it's a safe bet that more Marvel properties will head to TV sets sooner rather than later. <p>With that in mind, we revisit this countdown (initially our suggestions for Whedon's <i>first</i> series), with some updates on the veracity of the various series. We know comic book fans are never satisfied with what's out, or what's about to come out, but want to know what's <i>after</i> next, so here are our best guesses. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i>
The most recent run of <b>Moon Knight</b> by wrtier Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev features a TV show-within-a-comic titled "Legends of the Konshu," which Marc Spector (Moon Knight's alter ego) created based on his superheroing adventures. <p>It was a snappy set-up for a comic book series, and might also work on the small screen, however meta that might be: Hollywood producer by day, costumed Avenger (who happens to suffer from multiple personality disorder) at night. <p>Moon Knight has some clear similarities to Batman, sure, but so did one of Whedon's most recognizable heroes: vampire-with-a-soul Angel, who also had a wacky day job by season five of his show (running sinister interdimensional law firm Wolfram & Hart). <p>Another one of the conceits from the recent series might also appeal to Whedon: Moon Knight having a running dialogue with his split personalities; approximations of Spider-Man, Wolverine and Captain America (though rights issues would make the first two an effectively insurmountable challenge, swapping in say, Iron Man and Thor, could work). Whedon explored multiple personalities a bit in his last TV venture, <i>Dollhouse</i>, and Moon Knight certainly represents a distinct take on the subject.
Doctor Stephen Strange has had a long (and strange) history within the television and film business, but now might be the time for Hollywood stars to finally align for this sometimes-Sorcerer Supreme. <p>Who better to bring the complex, esoteric and magical elements of Marvel's chief mage to life than Joss Whedon? He's got deep experience with the supernatural thanks to <I>Buffy The Vampire Slayer</I> and <I>Angel</I>, so the thought of Whedon summoning a <B>Doctor Strange</B> television show seems almost fateful. <p>We know that Kevin Feige has made comments about the good Doctor coming to film as part of "Phase 3" (which starts off with Ant-Man in 2015), but television could conceivably be a better stage for this magic act. In the TV format, it could be a "case of the week" style show a la <I>House</I>, another doctor with a debilitating injury that forced him to change the way he practices. For Strange, he gave up the medical for the supernatural, which could certainly heighten the potential drama. <p>TV doc Patrick Dempsey of <I>Grey's Anatomy</I> has been <a href=http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/04/02/patrick-dempsey-dr-strange_n_843944.html>openly lobbying for the role</A> for several years now, but given the storytelling possibilities and the people involved, there likely would be many actors interesting in this memorable role.
A TV series based on Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos' <i>Alias</i> comic book was in development as "AKA Jessica Jones" as early as 2010, but as of late things seemed to have cooled down if not died out completely. <p>Like many of the series on this list, it seems to be an ideal match to Whedon's sensibilities, in case he's motivated to get it back in motion. The comic is about a former superhero named Jessica Jones who starts a private investigation business that deals with superpower-related incidents making it both a grounded story that could work on weekly TV and one with natural ties to the world of the Marvel movies and one with a strong female lead, which Whedon knows a thing or two about. It could also be a way to bring fan-favorite Luke Cage into the live-action Marvel world, Jones' comic book boyfriend (and now husband). <p>The fact that Bendis has a close relationship with Marvel Studios he's on the official creative committee of the films certainly couldn't hurt, either, so "AKA Jessica Jones" might be down, but it isn't necessarily out especially given recent events.
Speaking of Jessica Jones' dear husband... <p>If ever there was a Marvel concept that seems ideal for a television audience, it's <b>Heroes for Hire</b>. <p>It is, after all, a procedural format that allows for a mystery/case of the week just like such disparate but equally successful shows as <em>CSI</em>, the aforementioned <em>House</em> and <em>Castle</em> while also allowing for all manner of familiar faces from Marvel's decades of publishing to be drafted in as consultants for particular episodes or story arcs. <p>Best of all, regardless of which incarnation of the concept ABC and Marvel would choose to adapt - the original Luke Cage/Danny Rand pairing, the 1990s revival that kept law and order while the Avengers and Fantastic Four were off in the <em>Heroes Reborn</em> world, or even the recent Misty Knight-as-Control exploitation-movie-influenced version - it's always been an idea that's played fairly close to "ground level," meaning that it'd require less special effects on a weekly basis, and be far cheaper to produce. <p>Think of the potential: It could be <em>Mission: Impossible</em> with super-science gadgets, <em>Leverage</em> with bullet-proof skin, or considering Whedon's involvement the Scooby Gang from <em>Buffy</em> with even more kinds of trouble to get themselves into and out of on a weekly basis.
Strong, youthful female lead: check. <p>High concept superspy story that doesn't necessarily need costumes or superpowers to work: double check. <p>Strong but uncomplicated connection to the Marvel movie world: triple check. <p>Oh, and this project was <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/tv/sdcc-marvel-television-110723.html>mentioned in 2011</a> by Marvel's head of TV Jeph Loeb as already in some stage of early development. <p>Described at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con as "<i>Alias</i> meets <i>Felicity</i>" (the Jennifer Garner <i>Alias</i>, not the Brian Michael Bendis one), Loeb said this about the concept: "Bobbi Morse will be a freshman at a Silicon Valley university a science geek, Peter Parker-type recruited by a 'super spy organization in the Marvel Universe,' living life as a student by day and a spy-in-training at night." <p>That's already a pretty good fit right there, but then with the success of the big screen <b>Avengers</b>, aging Bobbi a little and subtly referencing her past relationship with Hawkeye (played by Jeremy Renner in the film) could prove too juicy a tie-in to pass up. <p>Also, like Alias or Heroes for Hire, this is one that would be all-too-easy to spin-off from <b>Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.</b>, as Bobbi has spent time with the agency in the comics.
While they've rarely been able to get a foothold in the comics universe beyond cult-favorite guest stars, the street-wise superhero duo of Cloak and Dagger would be a fertile playing ground for a live-action television drama. <p>Television shows have thrived on male-and-female duos with witty banter and underlying sexual tension, and when you add in the superhuman (and sometimes supernatural) context that Cloak and Dagger's powers give TV producers a lot of choices. <p>When you add in the possible involvement of Joss Whedon, these dark teenage superheroes seem like an obvious choice for a Whedon-esque take. <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/tv/sdcc-marvel-television-110723.html>Once again, Marvel's head of television Jeph Loeb went on record</A>in 2011 that a <B>Cloak & Dagger</B> television series was in the works, with the duo transplanted to a "post-Katrina New Orleans." <p>There's been no other news about the project, but Joss Whedon certainly has the clout at this point to make it happen.
OK, this one might be tough, but it also might be kind of perfect. <p>After his phenomenal success with <b>Avengers</b>, a TV show based on the Christos Gage-written <b>Avengers Academy</b> could be a ideal follow-up, both matching up with Whedon's talent in writing young protagonists, plus providing a very clear tie to the 1.5 billion dollar film. <p>In theory, it could even act in real life in a similar way as the comic book does in the fictional world as something of a farm team to familiarize the world at large with future Avengers, who could (again, in theory) might populate future feature films. <p>It would also likely be considerably costlier than a lot of the more street-level series on this list, and such a concept would seemingly necessitate occasional appearances from the big-screen Avengers (as in the comic book itself), which might be unlikely on any type of recurring basis for a number of obvious reasons. But still, one can't deny the simple elegance of an <b>Avengers Academy</b> TV show bridging the gap between the two movies starring Earth's Mightiest Heroes it would be like that long-rumored <i>Starfleet Academy</I> TV show actually happened, but in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Joss Whedon loves <b>Runaways</b> so much that he begged Brian K. Vaughan to let him write the book when the writer's run was complete. His affection for the characters is well-known, even if his run wasn't especially well-received. However, that isn't the only reason this possible show makes it on this list. <p>With the group of kids - each the offspring of supervillains - literally on the run, it makes it very easy to take them all over the Marvel Universe. Guest stars can easily come in and out of the series as they move to a new location, run into a character or group, and then move on the following week or story arc. <p>The kids themselves are representative of every type of character in the Marvel Universe, as well, with a magic user, science/tech folks, a mutant, a strategic genius, and even an alien on the squad. <p><b>Runaways</b> has been in the rumor mill for a movie or TV show before, too. With Whedon's affinity for teen heroes, as shown with <i>Buffy the Vampire Slayer</i> and ensemble casts, as shown with... everything he's done... it seems like <b>Runaways</b> could very well be the perfect fit. Besides, who doesn't want to see a telepathically controlled raptor kicking ass each week?
When Joss Whedon wrote <i>Astonishing X-Men</i>, he decided he wanted to reach for the stars. To help him, he created a sister organization of S.H.I.E.L.D. called S.W.O.R.D. <p>The blade of the world is there to monitor all of the extra terrestrials currently on planet, as well as those who could pose possible threats to the Earther way of life. <p>We know that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting more cosmic, from <i>Thor: The Dark World</i> to <i>Guardians of the Galaxy</i>. The opportunity to introduce the <i>many</i> alien races from around the Marvel Universe to viewers in a gradual, serialized way may be too good to pass up. <p>With its literal reach into space, its charismatic female lead in Special Agent Abigail Brand, its ties to S.H.I.E.L.D. (with direct interaction/spin-off potential from the first series), and the fact that Joss Whedon himself created the concept <i>and</i> the main character certainly points to <b>S.W.O.R.D.</b> being a possible dream-come-true project for Whedon, Marvel, ABC, and Disney.