What’s Next for Marvel and Netflix
By: Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)
As always, Marvel is tight-lipped about their upcoming Netflix projects. They never reveal much, but here’s what we do know about what’s next for Marvel’s Netflix shows, all in one place!
Season one of Jessica Jones premiered in November of 2015. In January 2016, it was officially renewed for a second season. It began production this month in NYC, shortly after filming of Marvel’s The Defenders wrapped up. Season two is set to have female directors behind the camera for each episode of the season, but what story they’ll be bringing to life is yet unknown. What we DO have is a handful of recently released character breakdowns (all under codenames, of course, so Marvel doesn’t give too much away) for the upcoming season:
• Dr. Kirby: 60s, male, scientist and freethinker, series regular
• Presley: Late 30s, male, African American, intelligent, driven, self-assured, fractional series regular
• Oliver: 34-38, male, Latino, artistic, paternal, smart, scruffy and hip, series regular
• Ingrid: Early 30s, 5’8”-5’11”, female, dark hair, attractive and edgy, has a history of living on the streets, educated as a nurse but street-wise, attracted to men and women, series regular
Lastly, we know that Janet McTeer has been cast in an undisclosed role for the second season of Jessica Jones, which is anticipated to be released sometime in 2018.
Daredevil’s first season was released on Netflix in April 2015, the first of The Defenders to premiere on the streaming service. After season one of Jessica Jones debuted, the second season of Daredevil began streaming in March 2016. A third season was confirmed at 2016’s San Diego Comic Con.
No release date for a third season of Daredevil has been announced yet, with a short teaser simply telling us to expect it. Star Charlie Cox has reported that filming is expected to begin sometime later this year, and Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix, has stated that 2018 is the earliest possible release we can expect for the Man Without Fear. Could we expect it to fall after Jessica Jones sometime in 2018, as it happened in 2015 and 2016? Time will tell.
Luke Cage pretty much broke Netflix when it premiered in September 2016. It has been renewed for a second season, which will fall sometime after The Defenders. However, at this time, a release date is unknown. Netflix’s Sarandos has said the streaming service is aiming at releasing two new seasons of its Marvel properties each year. That being said, with Jessica Jones and Daredevil likely premiering in 2018, will we be waiting until 2019 for Luke Cage?
The first season of Iron Fist premiered in March of this year with much controversy, although despite the critical reviews, it is still performing fairly well on the streaming service. With this project being the most recent of Netflix’s Marvel pieces to release, it is unlikely we will hear anything about a renewal or possible release for a while. However, there will be more Danny Rand to come, for sure, in the upcoming ensemble mini-series, The Defenders.
Speaking of the mini-series coming this summer to Netflix, let’s get into what we know so far about this ensemble project combining the stand-alone series’ characters. The Defenders will bring together Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Danny Rand/Iron First (Finn Jones). Street-level heroes (unlike in the comic books where the Defenders were focused on fighting mystical threats), the team will be facing off against Sigourney Weaver as Alexandra, who is rumored to have some kind of connection to The Hand (who you might remember as a familiar enemy from Daredevil and Iron Fist).
Developed by Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez, filming of The Defenders began in October 2016 and wrapped this March. The first two episodes were directed by S.J. Clarkson, who worked on Jessica Jones. The eight-part mini-series (as opposed to 13 episodes in the stand-alone seasons) has been teased in a short video released in early April, with the four characters captured on security footage in an elevator. The timestamp on the tape revealed that The Defenders will come out on Netflix on August 18, 2017. As an added bonus, the IP address on the video is actually a link to a fictional newspaper site “New York Bulletin” with fake news about Marvel’s characters. (You can see it for yourself at http://126.96.36.199.)
There has been some talk about the characters coming together for The Defenders. Jessica Jones is set to be the reluctant hero, who never really wanted to be involved in her community in such a way. She and Matt Murdock are both stubborn and strong-willed, so we should be expecting some “cat and mouse” conflict between the two. Meanwhile, Luke Cage and Danny Rand will have a unique relationship, in homage to the comic books where they team up for “Heroes for Hire.” It looks like Luke will be acting as a bit of a mentor, taking Danny under his wing, tempering the youthful and naïve exuberance of the Iron Fist. Danny will reportedly be extremely aware of the danger the team faces, understanding it better than the rest of the team, which lends itself to the idea that Weaver’s villain will be associated with Iron Fist’s sworn enemy, The Hand. (We can probably expect Daredevil to be in-the-know as well.)
While the main cast is out to save the day, there are plenty of familiar faces in the supporting cast as well. Élodie Yung will reprise her role as Elektra from Daredevil. Jessica Jones’ neighbor Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville) will be around, as will Luke Cage’s Harlem detective, Misty Knight (Simone Missick). Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), reporter and former assistant to Matt Murdock will return along with Matt’s friend and fellow lawyer Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson). Lawyer Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Ann Moss) will return along with Stick (Scott Glenn), Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), and Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick). Rounding out the supporting cast will be Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, who has become the Agent Coulson of the Netflix Marvel world.
Just when you thought that The Defenders was the most exciting thing to be coming on Netflix, we get the added bonus of The Punisher! When Marvel originally laid their plans for the Defenders, The Punisher wasn’t part of that big picture. However, after Jon Bernthal brought the dark character to life during season two of Daredevil, the audience response was too great to deny them a spin-off and in April 2016, the 13-episode series was officially ordered.
Production of The Punisher began in October 2016 and wrapped this April. While there is no official release date set yet, Marvel (and the show’s official Twitter account) have confirmed that the show will be coming in 2017 (likely after The Defenders).
With Steve Lightfoot as executive producer (and writer of the first two episodes), along with Jim Chory and Jeph Loeb, The Punisher plot has been kept under wraps. Aside from a few set photos floating around on the internet, we haven’t figured out much (except that he steals a police car at some point). However, we know a little bit about the characters we can expect to see this year:
• Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle/Punisher
• Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, former assistant to Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock
• Daniel Webber as Lewis Walcott
• Jason R. Moore as Curtis Hoyte, friend of Frank Castle
• Paul Schulze as Rawlins, a CIA agent whose path crosses with Frank’s due to previous work together in Afghanistan
• Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Micro, who (in the show) is Frank’s friend and ex-NSA analyst who helps Frank (likely with information and weapons procurement)
• Jamie Ray Newman as Sarah Lieberman, Micro’s wife
• Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani, a Homeland Security officer who seems to be a new/original character for the show
• Michael Nathanson as Sam Stein, Dinah Madani’s partner
• Ben Barnes as Billy Russo, who in the show has been revealed as Frank’s best friend from the Marines and now owner of a private military corporation called Anvil. (In the comic books, he is a gunman who tries to cover up the assassination of Frank Castle’s family and is an enemy of Castle.)
With the casting of Billy Russo, might we have our villain of the story? We’ll have to wait and see. But luckily, we’ll find out some time this year!
Netflix and Marvel have a lot in the works for the next couple of years, and we’ll provide more completely updates about individual shows when more information is available. In the meantime, join us in counting down the days until The Defenders premieres in August!