The Question: Which Marvel Property Should Netflix Adapt Next?
Rumors have circulated over the last few weeks that a Punisher show on Netflix may be on the cards, spinning out of Jon Bernthal’s performance in the upcoming second season of Daredevil, while previous rumors suggested that the platform might deliver a Moon Knight show. The first raft of Marvel Netlix shows is less than halfway through launching, and Netflix boss Ted Sarandon has said that further shows are possible, but there are no current plans to do more than a couple of shows a year. ‘Phase Two’ of Marvel’s Netflix plans may be a few years away.
But that won’t stop us speculating wildly on the shows we’d like to see if the platform does pursue a more aggressive Marvel strategy and move beyond the current line up of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. So in the spirit of wishful thinking, we asked our contributors the question; Which Marvel property would you like to see turned into a Netflix show?
Marvel’s Netflix offerings have been great so far, but the one thing they lack is a bit a straight-up-fun, which is where the Jade Giantess, She-Hulk comes in. The kickass female lawyer TV drama is a bit of a cliche, but the added hook of superhero action and the weird corners of the Marvel Universe make Jennifer Walters a prime candidate for a TV show.
Classic runs from John Byrne, Dan Slott and, most recently, Charles Soule, could provide ample fodder for season upon season of material, and we’d finally get to see Awesome Andy on the small screen. Shows like DC’s The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow have shown there’s a real audience for off-the-wall fun comics adaptations on television, and Jen’s day job as an attorney would not only provide sitcom hilarity, but would keep the effects budget down as she’d only need to Hulk out for a small portion of each episode.
Netflix’s She-Hulk would be superhero Ally McBeal with a heavy dose of 30 Rock irreverence, and with someone as quick-witted and likable as Aisha Tyler as Jen, it would be a smash hit! The show gets bonus points too every time Rachael Taylor’s Trish Walker appears on the show. [Kieran Shiach]
While scanning the cover for Avengers: The Initiative for potential answers to this question, my first thought was, “Well, they’re doing a Civil War… how about an actual Avengers Initiative series?” There’d be a lot of sense in doing a series set in, eh, Chicago, and casting a group of unknowns to hang about with cameo-ing Paul Rudds and Gwyneth Paltrows. But no, I want to be more selfish than that, actually — which is why my choice is for a Blade series set in London. Blade is a British character, and I think there’s a great amount of value in Marvel setting a series any god-damn place apart from New York. (No offence to the people of that city, but it’s the focus of almost every story Marvel has, and it’s not that impressive a city that we can’t move aside for once and enjoy somewhere with actual history.)
Blade in London would be a fascinating, atmospheric choice. You can rope in a bunch of other Marvel UK characters — like Spitfire, for example — because those characters have minor name-recognition that will elevate a Netflix series but won’t ever make it to the movies. If you cast an incredibly talented and phenomenally versatile British actor, like say, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, then how could this be anything other than a wonderful thing?
Start with Blade as a vulnerable, fledgling vampire, rather than the invincible hero he became with Wesley Snipes in the role, and you can build up a whole mythology for Marvel. We’re seeing the mythic come to life with Doctor Strange, so there’s something for Netflix to really build on. Heck, the first round of Netflix series is leading to The Defenders… how about the second round starts setting up The Midnight Sons? [Steve Morris]
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
If the Marvel movies can handle Groot and Rocket as part of their universe, they can certainly handle Doreen Green and her squirrel army. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comic is kid-friendly but still delightful for adult readers, with a focus on empathy and friendship — that’s exactly how I see a Netflix Squirrel Girl series. Think Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s tone, but with more butt kicking and age appropriate jokes. Heck, hire Ryan North as a creative consultant to ensure the show hits those same comedic notes!
For our lead, I’d want Alison Pill as the live action Doreen Green. Pill convinced me she could handle over-the-top with her role in Snowpiercer. But Netflix could also go the animated route; in that case, Kristen Schaal (just finishing her role as Mabel on Gravity Falls) is perfect. That all being said, I’m also down for Elle Collins’ on-point picks from her Squirrel Girl Cast Party article.
There’s also great potential for cameos from already established Marvel characters — I mean, just imagine a guest appearance by Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Imagine Loki immediately befriending Nancy like in the comic. Imagine Hiddleston gleefully transforming into Cat Thor per Nancy’s wish. Priceless. [Katie Schenkel]
Shang-Chi might seem like an odd choice for a TV series. After all, he’s the “Master of Kung-Fu,” and there is another Marvel superhero martial artist who already has a Netflix show in the works; a guy who’s much more widely-known, complete with some fan-favourite friendships and enemies. Next to that guy, a lot of people might mostly remember Shang-Chi as “that guy who taught Peter Parker martial arts before Spider-Island.”
I like to think of this as providing an opportunity to surprise people. One of my favourite Secret Wars miniseries was Shang-Chi: Master of Kung-Fu, where Shang-Chi was the disgraced son of an evil emperor, uniting a band of misfits to take on the emperor and his minions. That is TV-ready as hell.
And that’s just one version. Shang-Chi has been an Avenger, a double agent in the Kingpin’s empire and an MI6 agent who fought the mythical Welsh dragon (who got amnesia and became a human crime lord). None of this has been on TV and that is an oversight. This also provides an opportunity to put a focus on an Asian character and a bigger voice to Asian people in American media to boot. (Just avoid stereotypes, Marvel. Jeez.) [James Leask]
The Bar With No Name
Marvel has a deep roster of incredible C- and D-list villains that, in all likelihood, will never get their shot at the big screen. We might have gotten a Guardians of the Galaxy movie against all expectations, but there’s basically zero chance that we’ll see Iron Man or Luke Cage duking it out with The Eye, or The Circus of Crime, unfortunately. With that in mind, it’s the perfect opportunity for a Netflix television show centering around the villainous ne’er-do-wells of the Marvel Universe in The Bar With No Name, New York’s premier dive bar catering to supervillains.
Keep a strong main cast of drinking buddies — if it were up to me, the show would pull heavily from Steve Lieber and Nick Spencer’s Superior Foes of Spider-Man series — who are constantly trying to get away with jewelry heists and small cons, with a rotating cast of minor villains that aren’t getting used anywhere else.
The Ringer? Boomerang? Fancy Dan and the Enforcers? They’re all fantastic characters that, in all fairness, really don’t need a motion picture, but would be perfectly served in a television show. Picture the gang of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia with superpowers as they try to avoid going to jail or getting murdered by The Punisher, and you’ve got a show that’s tonally different from everything Marvel and Netflix has put out so far, while utilizing a deep catalogue of characters beloved to some. [Ziah Grace]
Kate & America
My first thought for an answer to this question was Young Avengers. But a team that size, with that many superpowers, would be really unwieldy for Netflix. Also it wouldn’t be the same without Loki, who would inevitably be off limits. So I pared it down to two of the most popular members. My pitch for a Netflix series is Kate Bishop and America Chavez in… American Hawkeye.
Picture it: Kate Bishop (Troian Bellisario) is a young woman trying to get on her feet in Los Angeles. She’s also one the best archers in the world, and received some specialized training and equipment from Clint Barton when she helped out the Avengers a few years back. (Clint is seen only in flashback, and shot in the same obscuring style as Superman on Supergirl if they can’t get Renner for a day.) At this point in her life, Kate’s not interested in being a superhero.
Then one day the mysterious Miss America Chavez (Vivian Lamolli) shows up at Kate’s door, saying that only the woman known as Hawkeye can help her stop an invasion from another dimension. America becomes Kate’s perpetual houseguest as they fight crime and occasionally travel across dimensions. America’s gay, and Kate’s always identified as straight, but who knows what the future might hold? [Elle Collins]