Ready for Prime Time1 of 12This week, Netflix confirmed longstanding rumors and speculation that Jon Bernthal’s popular version of the Punisher would be spinning out of Daredevil for his own solo series, a decision credited to Bernthal’s performance - despite the character's several failed attempts at film franchises before landing on TV.
And this got us thinking. With Netflix cultivating a very specific corner of the Marvel Universe in their Defenders family of shows, maybe Phase 2 of their TV Universe has room for even more concepts culled from the comic books.
We started considering the Marvel characters that could make the leap to the small screen, and we’ve come up with ten options we think Netflix should consider.
Deathlok2 of 12With Deathlok's introduction on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., he’s already got a presence on TV. ABC may have a lock (get it) on the character on network TV, but what if Netflix showed a different Deathlok - one set in the near future?
It would be easy enough to use a different one of the many versions of Deathlok that have existed in comics. In fact, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. stayed away from any of Deathlok's classic alter egos - maybe leaving the door open for one of them to appear in a spin-off show.
Netflix could also go darker than would be possible on ABC, something that might play right into Deathlok’s dark sci-fi tone.
Ghost Rider3 of 12Since Marvel recently got the rights to Ghost Rider back in house, it seems that the biggest obstacle to bringing him to the small screen would be the special effects required to truly capture the character.
But there's always the possibility that Marvel could go for the more recent Robbie Reyes version - a version that requires less in the way of visual FX, owing to his souped-up car and special skull-like helmet.
Netflix would be a prime place to send Ghost Rider, who often thrives on more adult stories, the same way they’ve finally given the Punisher his due.
Runaways4 of 12Back in 2007, before Iron Man took the world by storm, a Runaways film actually had a director and script attached. However, Marvel let the idea go to focus on the movies that now form the Marvel Cinematic Universe, leaving Runaways dead in the water.
But the characters of Runaways remain fan-favorites, with nary a convention passing without someone asking about the status of the team in both comics and on film.
Bringing Runaways to the small screen could be an ideal way to explore the characters, especially if they are slightly re-imagined for television.
She-Hulk5 of 12She-Hulk has had a few shots at TV stardom, though they've fallen through each time. She-Hulk was once planned to appear in the final Bill Bixby Incredible Hulk TV movie, but that never came to fruition.
She was also set to receive her own TV series in the early '90's, but like the earlier appearance, that too fell through. A live-action She-Hulk film was also planned, with actress Bridgette Nielsen attached, but it died when no funding could be found.
She-Hulk is ripe for television, with her background as a lawyer providing grist for an episodic adventure – and possibly tying into Daredevil and Jessica Jones given big NYC law firms have played roles in both series. The biggest obstacle would likely be the budget needed to avoid a Lou Ferrigno body paint situation.
Shang-Chi6 of 12Shang-Chi might seem like an odd choice given the upcoming Iron Fist series from Netflix, but with some minor tweaks and twists, this character who spawned from a licensed Marvel book could work in the the Netflix corner of the MCU. After all, there's room for more than one superhero in the MCU -- why not more than one martial artist?
And Marvel's been high on Shang-Chi for some time.
Back in the early 2000s, Marvel hired The Mummy's Stephen Norrington to direct a Shang-Chi film, with Ang Lee and Stan Lee as producers and DreamWorks subsidizing the movie. The talk subsided however once Marvel's MCU blossomed and began looking to do its own movies fully in-house.
So could Wushu fit in the MCU? Maybe even spinning out of the aforementioned Iron Fist as Punisher has done from Daredevil?
Wonder Man7 of 12Wonder Man is one of the last of the classic Avengers who has yet to appear on film or TV – but he’s reportedly got a cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 courtesy of fan favorite actor Nathan Fillion. Fillion’s likeness may appear as Simon Williams on a series of movie posters seen in the film.
Which got us thinking – wouldn’t a Fillion-led TV show about Simon Williams reinventing himself as Wonder Man be killer? Of course, Fillion is still attached to Castle, but with that show’s future uncertain, and the time it would likely take to turn a new show around, it’s not impossible.
Moon Knight8 of 12Moon Knight could be an ideal character for reinvention on television. He even had a series announced around 2005 with writer John Cooksey attached before that project fell through.
Moon Knight has had many different iterations through the years, and while Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey seemingly boiled them all down to a core identity, there's still plenty of room for a television show to to take what was started in the last several volumes of his comic book series and continue it in TV.
Moon Knight’s ability to straddle street-level grit with far-flung mysticism would be right in line with Netflix’s Defenders family as well.
Agent 139 of 12Sharon Carter is already a factor in the MCU, reportedly playing a larger role in Captain America: Civil War than even her brief appearance in The Winter Soldier. And her aunt (we think?) Peggy already has a TV show as Agent Carter.
Even if Peggy Carter is more of an ABC thing, and Netflix hasn't spun anyone down from films to TV (yet), showing a more serious side of Marvel's espionage universe could be an interesting way to connect the Netflix, ABC and big screen segments of the MCU with one another.
Blade10 of 12Blade is the only character on this list to have anchored his own live-action TV show before. But in a world where diversity is becoming an increasing factor - and providing dividends to publishers and networks - it would make some sense to see a character with Blade's profile given a rebooted television show.
Blade could easily occupy his own supernatural corner of the MCU while still being able to crossover to the larger universe. His darker nature and violent streak are a natural fit for a Netflix series – a platform that could likely accommodate the things people love about Blade better than his former series.
Fantastic Four11 of 12It’s inevitable that the Fantastic Four will be back in media in some form. Marvel’s oldest property will eventually see a resurgence, even if it takes a while (and has to revert back to Marvel to be worthwhile). And since they’ve failed on the big screen several times, perhaps it’s time for a go round in a smaller, more serialized format.
Arguably, the FF’s most unique quality – the literal family drama aspect – would play with much greater relevance in a weekly serial drama format than it does in a two-hour feature film.
The more faithful older-skewing age of the characters might also work better on TV. Netflix could go full-on FF, with Reed and Sue partners in a years-long marriage with two kids to boot, and all the baggage of being a super-powered nuclear family living in close quarters slow-cooking over 13 episodes a season.
Sure, the sci-fi nature of the FF’s adventures may be a budgetary challenge, but shows like Fringe and even The Flash have shown that you can explore big screen ideas on a small screen budget.
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