Marvel has kept a remarkably tight lid on their new Netflix series. Daredevil is already shooting, and the only thing we know about it is the principal cast. We know even less about the series that will follow — Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist, or how they will end up together in The Defenders. If you sat through the Marvel Television panel at Comic-Con hoping for some news (like a chump!), you were disappointed. But Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos threw a bone to those of us still hoping for some information about the series. In an interview with Empire, he said that they “will not be afraid to go darker” than the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is really no surprise. We’ve seen House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black. Netflix shows are gritty and adult, which is exactly how Sarandos described the Marvel shows.
“The series will not be afraid to go darker than the film did. What we love about this particular set of heroes is that they’re a little more down to Earth. Costume wise and also in that these are gritty crime stories, more in the streets than in the clouds.”
The interesting question is whether or not the darker tone will meld with the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ties directly into the films, with several characters crossing between big screen and small. Will that happen with The Defenders?
“It has definitely been talked about.”
Hmmm… that doesn't tell us much. He does say that Daredevil is in production now, and it looks like Jessica Jones will be next.
“Right now, the writers' rooms are open and they're looking at casting Jessica. Eventually the series will run very close together. You can then have a separate season where the characters will cross over."
These series will be Marvel’s first attempt at live-action long form storytelling about superheroes. It will be interesting where they take it, especially since it’s essentially an elongated version of the Avengers model. Sarandos said,
“It was really based on the theatrical model of The Avengers. Could you take another group of characters, The Defenders, and go about it the same way? Normally, they do the big movie and then eventually they get to the group origin story. Having 13 hours to tell each of these stories, you can go right to the origin story and the action at the same time.”
For a lot of reasons, I hope these series are good. We’ll keep you posted as more details emerge.