The Marvel Comic Universe features a plethora of characters – some that would translate well off the colored pages and onto a movie or TV screen, and some that wouldn’t. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently plugging away at full steam, and after a rocky start with the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s TV offerings seem to be hitting their stride as well. Of course, both the film and television productions are all part of the larger MCU, which begs the simple-sounding yet very-convoluted questions: what characters will be added, and how?
Here’s what we do know: Marvel’s announced advance plans for the film side of their universe through roughly the end of the next presidential term. We’ve also been given a lot of advance info on the upcoming production slate of the televised offerings. In addition to Agents carrying on, Marvel’s Agent Carter getting a second go-around, and Daredevil enjoying its positive reception, The House That Stan Built is already hard at work on three news shows to join their Hell’s Kitchen compadre on Netflix: Marvel’s AKA Jessica Jones, to be followed by Marvel’s Iron Fist and Marvel’s Luke Cage in the next few years. (That Marvel is a very possessive bunch, eh?) The four Netflix shows are planned to cross-over into a small-screen Avengers-style event, a planned mini-series called The Defenders.
Here’s where the lines between TV and film really start to blur. It’s been reported that Marvel would like to introduce Dr. Strange in the Defenders mini-series, which would obviously have to take place chronologically before Strange’s big-screen turn. There are several other characters that have held ties to the Defenders in the Marvel Comic Universe, and it’s these connections that are primarily fueling speculation on one or more of them making their appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There have been several rumors of a Hulk-centric prequel TV series. Three other characters in particular are fan favorites but have relatively poor existing track records on film & TV: Ghost Rider, The Punisher, and Blade. As an interesting side note, Marvel does currently own the film & TV rights to all three of these characters and has for several years now; the fact that they have not moved on featuring any of them in new projects might tell us that either A) they’ve been holding the characters in anticipation of this “bigger picture” style of universe, or B) the company doesn’t believe that they are financially viable to utilize on screen.
Elektra will be featured in season 2 of Daredevil… Disney and ABC are (were? First reported back in 2011) working on a joint venture for a Cloak & Dagger series… and of course, there’s a slew of Marvel movies headed our way over the next several years. For now, the majority of these characters’ rumored involvement with the Marvel Cinematic Universe are just that – rumors. Stay tuned, however – Marvel likes to hit us fans fast & furious with “actual” announcements, and we’ll be sure to share ’em with you just as soon as we hear them!