Marvel has already cornered the market on interconnected superhero blockbusters, with franchises like Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, as well as the company’s so-so ABC drama Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which marked the Marvel universe’s first tentative foray into television.
But anyone who doubted the long-term ambitions of the company should look no further than its latest announcement, in which Marvel revealed it is partnering with Netflix to deliver four new superhero dramas of at least 13 episode each, with a minis-eries to cap it all off.
Marvel didn’t reveal the creative team or cast behind the projects, but it did unveil the four superheroes soon to be introduced: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. Here’s a guide to the new Marvel characters soon to grace the small screen and the superheroic team they’ll (probably) become:
If you’ve heard of anyone on this list, it’s probably Daredevil, the only superhero in the new Netflix deal who has previously appeared on the big screen (in an awful 2003 blockbuster with Ben Affleck in the title role). Daredevil, a.k.a. Matt Murdock, is a lawyer-by-day/superhero-by-night who lives and works in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. He’s also blind, but his other four senses have been heightened so dramatically that he can go toe-to-toe with the city’s most dangerous supervillains.
There’s a reason Marvel is reusing the somewhat tarnished superhero to launch its big Netflix experiment: He’s a fantastic, complex character with decades of strong, gritty stories to draw from (particularly those by Frank Miller).
*2. Jessica Jones
Daredevil is probably the flashiest of the new announcements, but Jessica Jones might be the most promising.
The onetime classmate of Spider-Man first debuted in 2001, and is a superhero-cum-private detective who specialises in superheroic crimes. Jones’ superpowers — which include strength and flight — make her uniquely suited to life as a PI, and like Daredevil, she operates out of Manhattan.
Despite several ripe possibilities that already exist within the Marvel universe Jessica Jones will be the first Marvel production centred on a female character.
Jones has interacted with a wide range of other superheroes, including Daredevil and Luke Cage.
*3. Luke Cage
Luke Cage, who debuted in 1972, was one of the first black comic book characters to headline his own series. After being sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit, he consented to an experiment in exchange for early parole. It left him with super strength and made him impervious to most attacks, including knife and gunshot wounds.
Upon release, Luke Cage marketed himself as a hero for hire. In the context of the Marvel/Netflix shows, what’s most noteworthy is his romantic entanglement with Jessica Jones; after a one-night stand, she becomes pregnant, and the two eventually get married.
*4. Iron Fist
Iron Fist, a.k.a. Daniel Rand. A martial arts expert, he successfully killed a dragon, and plunging his fists into its heart to give him the ability to focus his chi and gain all kinds of useful superpowers.
*5. The Defenders
So where is all this going? Marvel’s last project, a miniseries called The Defenders, offers a pretty clear idea. The Defenders is a loosely connected group of superheroes that operates in a manner similar to the Avengers, though the group’s missions tend to be smaller and less global in scope.
It’s probably safe to assume that the payoff at the end of the four individual Marvel series will be a team-up akin to a small-screen version of The Avengers.
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