The Marvel Comic Universe has in recent years gone beyond the pages of comic books and into other mediums like cinema and TV series. In the age of TV series like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, True Detective, Narcos, House of Cards and Boardwalk Empire, superheroes have carved out their own following among the binge watchers, who devour a single season in a single night. Following up the epochal events of The Avengers (2012), Marvel decided to launch a new TV series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013-) in association with ABC. Along with it was launched Agent Carter (2015-16), although a little later. While the former delved into how S.H.I.E.L.D. operated post the formation of the Avengers in a world where humans possess superpowers, the latter specifically dealt with how Agent Peggy Carter, the love interest of Captain Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America, formed S.H.I.E.L.D. along with Howard Stark, father to Anthony (Tony) Stark a.k.a. Iron Man, and her adventures along the way. However both these TV series, running into more than one season, met with lukewarm response. Agent Carter was recently discontinued due to low ratings, while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is coming back with Season 4 this month.
However, keeping aside these two series, we also have other superheroes with their standalone TV shows, courtesy Netflix Originals. A 2015 deal between Netflix and Disney-Marvel has led to the creation of wildly popular TV series like Daredevil and Jessica Jones, of which the former already has had a second season. Along with these two, we will soon have two more standalone TV series for Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Together, these four superheroes form The Defenders, the guardians of Hell’s Kitchen – a crime ridden neighbourhood in New York City. Joining them will be The Punisher with all his firepower. Following is a list of all the TV series due from this month onward for which binge watchers, comic book fans and more specifically, Marvel fans are eagerly awaiting.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The big surprise this season is the introduction of a fan-favourite superhero, a character that does not conform to the norms of a superhero, yet often happens to save the day. The character is the Ghost Rider; the chopper riding, flaming, bony spirit of vengeance. We are all familiar with Nicholas Cage’s version in the movies which happened quite a while back, before many casual film viewers were even aware that it was a Marvel character. This time in TV, the show runners, especially Joss Whedon, aims to explore uncharted territory with the introduction of a mythical character from the pantheon of superheroes.
Actor Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes, aka the Rider of Ghost, is debuting in Season 4. The character is based on the Marvel NOW! Comic series and not the Johnny Blaze rendition that we associate with Nicolas Cage’s crazy fiery face. This season will explore how the Ghost Rider fits into the larger scheme of things for S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Coulson.
Luke Cage – 30th September 2016
Within 10 days of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., viewers will jump to devour the next offering from Netflix, the third Defender with his own series. Luke Cage, a.k.a. Power Man, has already been introduced in Season One of Jessica Jones. In the comics, Cage and Jones are married after having served as Defenders and also as Avengers and often Cage has partnered up with Iron Fist as Heroes for Hire.
However, this series is aimed at tracking the origin story of Luke Cage and how he was bestowed with superhuman strength and damage proof skin, making him invincible to broken glass or bullets and any other standard object which can harm and seriously injure an average person. All the episodes for this series will be available on the very day of release on Netflix.
Fans of Game of Thrones will immediately recognise Danny Rand, a.k.a. the Iron Fist, as Finn Jones who played the character of SerLoras Tyrell. Iron Fist is currently under production which will soon wrap up. It is scheduled for an early 2017 release.
Danny Rand is a practitioner of martial arts and the wielder of a mystical force known as the Iron Fist, which allows him to summon and focus his chi. Originally, the creator of these comics targeted the Asian-American readers. Iron Fisthas many-a-times put on the mantle of Daredevil and fought and prevented crimes far more ruthlessly than Daredevil.
This series will establish the last of the Defenders and the various ways in which Hell’s Kitchen is being protectedby four super humans with their super skills. This will set the ground for the team up series, The Defenders, which will feature Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist.
Frank Castle a.k.a The Punisher is all guns and fire and very few words. The character had already appeared in a film version, however, it is in Daredevil S02 that we meet Jon Bernthal’s disgruntled, angry yet soft-at-heart war veteran who unleashes his wrath on Hell’s Kitchen for the death of his family.
The Punisher’s famous skull brand has attained a cult status, even featuring in American Sniper most recently where a stencilled spray painted version was seen in some of the heavy artillery. The Punisher actually doles out severe punishment and is a one man judge, jury and executioner for Hell’s Kitchen. In S02 of Daredevil, we see the protagonist pitted against him in a conflict of principles of how to battle the social evils they both seek to curb.
Jon Bernthal is set to reprise his role as the titular character. The production of this series is yet to begin and it is the sixth Marvel TV series.
Production for this team up in TV is also not underway currently, but is soon to begin. According to Marvel TV head, Jeph Loeb, this series will team up the four saviours of Hell’s Kitchen along with The Punisher. The Defenders often have a rotating roster similar to the Avengers and in comics, their members have often worked in both the groups.
Converging Marvel TV and Marvel films is a speculation that fans are going crazy over, however, till then we will have a Defenders miniseries consisting of these four.
Plot details for this are yet unknown. However Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter and Finn Jones will reprise their respective roles.
Cloak and Dagger
Marvel and ABC will co-produce this series with Freeform airing it. Cloak and Dagger, though not belonging to the popular superheroes that we usually associate with Marvel, has a specific cult following. It is the story of two young adults. It follows an interracial romance between Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson, two teenagers from very different backgrounds. The former can emit light daggers which have healing capabilities while the latter has an animated black cape with which he can engulf others in complete darkness.
Borrowing from a common English phrase referring to acts of secrecy and espionage, these two characters work in tandem to confuse, distract and divert villains and enemies. This series is aimed at understanding their origins and how they realise that they are better off working together than individually which is further complicated by their feelings for each other.
No casting announcements have been made, however Marvel has green lit this project and we hope to enjoy it by early or mid 2018.