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August 09 2012

Joss Whedon's Marvel tv show: 10 intriguing possibilities. In light of Monday's big news, Total Film examines the options.

That del Toro quote does sound like it could be about Joss, I suppose.

Joss writing a Hulk show, and del Toro directing it? Could be amazing.
If Joss was writing for a show without also directing it, he'd have more time for other projects, which it sounds like he's not close to giving up on. Maybe that's just the hopeful fan in me, but it seems he loves his independent projects where he has full creative freedom and doesn't have to answer to anyone, and he's not going to stop doing them.
Ahhh too much excitement!! Can't wait to find out what he's really gonna do!!
Wasn't the Hulk show gonna be in its own continuity? If that's still the case, I don't see that being the MCU show Joss is helping develop, although it's possible he might be doing a rewrite on the Hulk pilot as an extra thing, or redeveloping it to fit into the MCU.

If there's one Marvel TV show I want to see, it's She-Hulk: Superhuman Law. Loosely based on Dan Slott's run on the She-Hulk comics a few years ago. But that's probably not gonna happen due to the way its necessary budget would sound insane for a lawyer comedy to TV executives. It'd make a good cartoon, though. Not a morning kids' cartoon, but one aimed at older audiences (like for example Futurama).

A friend of mine said he'd want to see Damage Control, which I haven't read, but the concept seems to be in sort of the same vein as She-Hulk, being not about the super heroics themselves but the stuff around it.
I am so unreasonably excited at the mere prospect, however unlikely, of Joss doing a Runaways TV show. There's nothing else he could do short of a filmed continuation of Firefly that could get me more excited. I know I'll be let down because it's probably Hulk or another series that he'll be behind, and I'll still enjoy it, but oh boy... Joss and Runaways on TV... That's Emmy bait, there.
This article doesn't take into account that Marvel couldn't make a live action X-men TV show even if they wanted to.
They sold all live action rights to FOX. The actually tried to make an X-men show in the past by changing the name to Mutant-X and they STILL got sued by FOX.
I think a SHIELD show is most likely. They cast TV actress Cobie Smulders in The Avengers and I wouldn't be surprised if that was just to lay the groundwork for her to lead the show, she seemed like an odd choice otherwise.
Or something along the lines of Code Blue, I've been waiting for DC to get off their butts and do a Gotham Central series but if they don't this could be the next best thing (or better if Joss is involved).
I'd LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a Runaways show but I doubt it will happen. They probably won't do anything focusing on heroes directly, definitely not any from the films.
I'd say it's unlikely that the TV show will be a concept that would need endless superhero cameos, like Damage Control would. Any character making an in-continuity debut on television would be that much harder to launch as its own in-continuity franchise.

The Hulk I doubt would be in movie continuity, not in the least because it will require another re-casting.

Runaways is a possibility. The comic relies on a world where superheroes are fairly common, but that could be worked around.

Most realistically? I'd say a SHIELD-related show. SHIELD is big, the upper management doesn't need to be in it. Perfect synergy would perhaps be if some upcoming movie dealt with the fact that more and more superpowered individuals are starting to show up. Then a SHIELD show could deal with that same superpeople epidemic.

This list, I find hard to take seriously, as it thinks the Punisher needs tongue-in-cheek humor and that it would take seven movies for some reason to film Civil War. Right.
They sold all live action rights to FOX.

Not quite, it would seem.

The Agreement reserved all television rights to Marvel, subject to a proviso, critical to Fox's pending contract claim, that Marvel would not "produce, distribute or exploit or authorize the production, distribution or exploitation of any live-action motion picture" without Fox's consent (the "Freeze").

This link gives a fascinating legal insight into the Mutant X tv series and the X-Men movies.
That's interesting, I wonder what on grounds FOX took MARVEL to court and won over the Mutant-X case.
I think what you said might just apply to animated TV shows, like Ultimate Spider-Man or whatever other cartoon offerings MARVEL have out at the moment (I don't keep up with those kinds of things).
There seems to be more information here but I don't have the time to read it.
Still even if they could do a live action X-men TV show, there's no way they could tie it into the films (because the characters could never appear or be mentioned on film without FOX's permission) and isn't that the whole point?

[ edited by Kzap on 2012-08-09 11:59 ]
I liked Cobie Smulders and thought she did a good job, considering she didn't get much to do, but it was a little jarring to see Robin Scherbatsky running around with a gun so unless she had time between How I Met Your Mother and a SHIELD show, I think it would be difficult for many viewers to get into the show with her. Maybe she could guest star.
As well-written as Joss's Hulk was, a Hulk TV show doesn't seem as naturally ensembley as the other options.

A SHEILD TV show with Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill seems very possible, although it doesn't seem to have as much in common thematically with his past shows as some of the other ideas.
All I can say is, Chloe Grace Moretz IS Carolina Dean.
I'm hoping for a show that will simply introduce lots of new characters to the Marvel verse, in one way or another, as long as the show would take place in the same verse as the movies. I want the movie Marvel verse to be more diverse. That would also open up for more movies, having Marvel test the characters on the TV show first.

I do want Runaways, but since a theme of that comic is that they're different than all the customed heroes, that they're more down to earth, there would actually have to be more costumed heroes in the first place.

One idea would simply be a show that has fewer but longer episodes, one and a half hours maybe, focusing on introducing one or two superheroes, showing them either become heroes or already being one. Then those characters could make guest appearancess in other character's episodes, but it would all tie together to one big finale with the heroes fighting a Big Bad that's been hinted at throughout the episodes. Which might make S.H.I.E.L.D. discover the heroes, making them able to one way or another interact with The Avengers.

While I love spending seasons to get to know characters, a one season show focusing on a few character for a short amount of time could be very rewarding too. The most popular ones could get their own shows. :)
Runaways! I vote for Runaways. (I know. I don't really get a vote in these things.)

A SHIELD show would be good too. The main characters could be people who weren't in the movies, but then some of the people from the movies could do guest spots. Like Samuel L Jackson, Cobie Smulders, maybe even Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson. (Maybe they could even work in flashbacks of Hawkeye's early missions. I would love that. I want Jeremy Renner on tv again.)
archon, I'm hoping for a Runaways show too. It has that whole Whedonesque found family thing going for it, and it's a damn good comic (and it's a shame it's on hiatus right now). Also, I want to see a lesbian alien superhero on television.
I'm 95% confident Joss won't commit himself to any TV project that requires him to re-hash a story that's already been told. Not counting his work as a script doctor, I can only think of one time when he's adapted someone else's story, and that's Much Ado About Nothing. Whatever he does, it will be his plot and his story.

I'm really hoping for an "agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." type show. This article claims you can't have a S.H.I.E.L.D. show without Nick Fury, and Samuel Jackson won't sign on as a regular in a TV show with his busy movie career, and nobody wants to see the role re-cast. All of which is true, but the focus of the show doesn't have to be on Fury. You can have a show about FBI agents without the FBI Director having to be in every episode. The focus should be on the agents and a varied guest cast of superheroes and supervillains, including some of the stars of the movies, when that can be arranged.

Samuel Jackson could do a couple of guest appearances per season, and maybe some easy-to-do voice-overs or talking head shots to sprinkle around. The other Avengers stars could do this as well. But the heart of the story would be on the Phil Coulson and Maria Hill type characters and the things they get up to every day, and not trying to re-create the movies with a weekly TV budget.
I wouldn't be in favor of recasting Nick Fury because Samuel L. Jackson really is Nick Fury. It reminds me of recasting Blade for a Blade TV show. Despite the constant problems behind the scenes of the Blade movies, Wesley Snipes personified Blade so well that another actor did not do it justice...also the show wasn't that good.

This NYT article about Samuel L. Jackson gives a lot of insight into the characters he's played and how he chooses his roles.

For instance:

He always wanted to be chased “by a big monster with jagged teeth,” so he did “Deep Blue Sea” with a shark and “Jurassic Park” with a dinosaur (he is eaten). When Jackson heard about a movie called “Snakes on a Plane,” he called the director, David R. Ellis, and said, “You doing a movie about snakes on a plane?” Yeah. “A plane full of poisonous snakes?” Yeah. “I’m down.” Some movies he picked because they appealed to his adult fascination with costumes or his passion for golf, which he once said allowed him to dress like a pimp and still be respectable at a country club. “I did ‘Formula 51,’ ” he said, “because I got to run around Liverpool in a kilt, with golf clubs.”

So I think if a SHIELD project appealed to him enough, he might not necessarily care about the medium.

[ edited by the ninja report on 2012-08-09 14:01 ]
I always thought Cobie Smulders was a Joss choice, simply due to the fact that he knows her at least through Aly and NPH. I doubt she'd have time for both shows anyways...

Runaways would be the single best show they could do, and Joss could get excited about it, as it's in his typical wheelhouse.

I'm less excited about these other options. A SHIELD show seems ok, but another cop drama...yawn. I'm not sure I can see Joss jumping up and down for this one. I've never heard of Damage Control, but the concept sounds really cool. That could be fun.

I don't want a Hulk show. Plus, it would have to be Mark Ruffalo, and I doubt that would happen. There needs to be another Hulk movie.

Runaways or bust.
After BtVS, AtS, Firefly....Safe to say I'm tickled pink with Joss' stories. Just so happy that he finally received the recognition he so deserved.
Whoa, that Civil War thing they suggested sounds pretty awesome. Now I kinda want that. Knowing nothing much about Marvel or any other comic book franchise, this is so far my favorite idea along with Runaways)
I don't think a SHIELD show would be a cop procedural... closer to Men In Black with Marvel and Whedon twists. I wouldn't expect Maria Hill to be a regular character, just saying that she and Phil Coulson are the *types* of characters who would be the protagonists. I wouldn't be in favor of re-casting any of the movie characters for TV... just use those characters only as often as they make sense and are available for guest appearances.

I love the Runaways, and would love to see it done as a movie or movie series, but I just don't think it's right for TV... especially for Joss TV. The story is already there, is not very open-ended, and you can only deviate from it so much before it stops being The Runaways.

I'm placing my bet on something SHIELD-related. Either that or The Adventures of Kitty Pryde.
but it was a little jarring to see Robin Scherbatsky running around with a gun

To be fair, her character on the show is a big NRA fan and I believe we've seen her at a gun range a few times.
Is Joss actually running/writing/creating this show or is he just helping to mould it?
That information hasn't been disclosed yet, all we know is that he's "developing" it.
Newsarama also made a Top 10 Wishlist:
I think it's better/more realistic than Total Film's.
You need to look at the universe in which the show will be set. There are not hundreds of heroes and villians running around. There is not rampact high technology. This is a world that only recently became aware of the idea of Superheroes and Villians. The events of Hulk, Iron Man II and Avengers are the only 'super hero' events known to the general populace. They did a short film on how the Avengers changed everything. There is no reason for there to be a 'Super Villian fighting police force' or 'Super battle clean up crew' to be in existence.

I also think SHIELD would be too problematic. You have too many high $ people involved. And Cobie Smulders could still be tied up in the HIMYM show for a few more years...

Hulk might be a possibility, but the cinematic Hulk is so strong that they'd need a huge special effects budget to show the devastation he creates. That and the cost of locking down Ruffalo for TV would be ridiculous.

I think they steer clear of mutants and any characters under the umbrella of other studios to avoid litigation concerns. I think the best bets might be: 1.) Jessica Jones, 2.) Ms. Marvel and 3.) Powerman and Iron Fist.

Personally, my hope is that they make a plan for 7 years of films and TV that focuses on the Avengers side of the MU, and then they buy back the rights to all of their other characters and reboot a new cinematic universe that has all the toys in the sandbox.
HIMYM is only renewed through this current season (it's 8th). Very few shows make it past a 7th season because the contractual below-the-line (everyone and everything not actors, writers/producers, and directors) and above-the-line (actors, etc.) costs become so high that they can't be offset by the declining (maturing) ratings. It's also about the time that the network (CBS) starts having to pay 100% of the production cost instead of getting it subsidized (at a discount) by the studio (TCFTV). It is not unreasonable to think that HIMYM could end after this season and almost certainly after next.

Would love to have Cobie lead a S.H.E.I.L.D show starting in the fall of 2014. Of course, AKA Jessica Jones would also be a treat. I haven't checked out the comic yet but it comes highly recommended.
HIMYM high ups are already in discussion to continue the show beyond season 8 and are optimistic that a deal could be reached soon. (TVLINE)

The Bays Bros previously mentioned the idea of rebooting the show at the completion of HIMYM, either focusing on Ted/new wife/kids or focusing on the wife's take of the years before Ted and she met. Neither version would likely star Smulders.
HIMYM is a boon for syndication, so I don't think paying the cost of the production is such a big issue. CBS has made a lot of money off selling syndication rights.
Jessica Jones, Cloak&Dagger or Hulk, one of these three, methinks. If it is Jessica Jones, please no Eliza Dushku.
Gonna get flak for that one but she's not that charismatic and a fresh face picked by Joss would be nice.
But Amy, Alan, Alexis, Adam, Fran etc. cameos are always awesome.

[ edited by Boto on 2012-08-09 20:47 ]

[ edited by Boto on 2012-08-09 20:48 ]
Boto, no flak from me there. It's not a popular opinion, but I hold the same one. I would also like someone new. Part of the reason why the Avengers news was so exciting back in the day was not only Joss doing the movie, but it would expand the Whedonverse with more talent and there would be more opportunity for talented actors to get their very own geek following.

[ edited by the ninja report on 2012-08-09 21:06 ]
I think Kevin Feige said there are no plans for reboots in the near future,jgsugden. Anyone can be recasted. Personally I think X-Men and Spidey need to stay where they're at. Marvel only needs F4.
Not sure if anyone else has said this yet, but IGN also did a similar article but with some alternate ideas, She Hulk being one of them:
I can't begin to express how psyched I am that the Joss-Marvel merry-go-round will continue spinning.

Do we have an ETA on the TV show?

[ edited by Squishy on 2012-08-09 21:59 ]
jgsudgen, CBS makes $0 from the syndication of HIMYM. Zero. They only license it from 20th Century Fox so the only revenue they get from the show is from commercials.

20th gets all revenue from syndication, DVD, International sales, etc. Studios make money on the back end of shows not networks which are almost always completely separate companies and in this case have completely different parent companies.

HIMYM may continue past this year (anything is possible and 20th may decide to severely cut costs or fire staff or CBS could keep it at a loss) but I'd be interested to know when Cobie's contract is up. She may not be obligated to stay past this season. 8 years is an awful long time to stay in one job.
@ eddy - I'm not aware of anyone saying no reboots - but even if they do, there is no reason to trust them. Anything they say publicly influences public opinion, adds leverage to the negotiating positions of others, and creates pressure for the company. If the plan is/were to reboot in 7 years (which we have no reason to believe), they'd keep that a secret until they'd negotiated back the rights to all of the characters - at least. Personally, I think the odds of a Joss show featuring established Marvel characters are not close to 100% right now. After all, we've had informal announcements of about 50 Marvel projects that did not come together or warped massively before release. If you look at the wikipedia entries for Marvel characters you'll find very few characters that do not have a TV series, movie or other visual media attached that looked like a "sure thing" at some point between 1995 and the present according to the supporting sources.

I do not think Runaways works in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) yet. Kids of Supervillians requires the presence of Supervillians. We'd need to wait a decade to do that idea right.

If I were a betting man, I'd look for a 2014 fall or Spring 2015 series that grows out of either Cap II, Guardians of the Galaxy, or Ant-man. I'd look for something that can be done without ridiculous special effects. I'd expect something that doesn't require Nick Fury, Tony Stark, Captain America or any other $ stars to appear often, if at all. I'd also expect it to be a million miles from mutants because of the legal issues. To me, all of that boils down to one of the othe urban character sets, like Heroes for Hire.
jgsugden: I do not think Runaways works in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) yet. Kids of Supervillians requires the presence of Supervillians. We'd need to wait a decade to do that idea right.

In my opinion, it can work. Keep in mind that those particular Supervillains had relatively minor powers. Their menace came from working behind the scenes. That makes them similar to Wolfram & Hart (as an example). As long as the powers are secondary to the criminal cartel angle, it would work (today).

Having said that, I'd be interested in a Dr Strange series. (As long as the magic serves the plot and characterization.)

[ edited by OneTeV on 2012-08-10 00:10 ]
I would love a Runaways series and I agree with OneTeV that it could work. The supervillian parents weren't major characters with major powers. And yes to Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, Cloak and Dagger. Any major character from the cinematic establishment just can't work budget and actor-wise.
I think the Winter Soldier storyline could work well on TV. A Bucky spinoff from Captain America 2 would make sense if the entire film doesn't handle those sixty-some issues.
Runaways would be *amazing!* And that series isn't ongoing, right? So he could adapt the introductory story for TV, and then take it in other directions perhaps. It doesn't have the long history or crazy continuity issues of some older titles, which might be a plus as well--it would give Joss more creative freedom to make it work as a TV show.

X-Men show would also make me very, very happy ... but I seriously doubt that would happen, for all the reasons mentioned above. And I haven't read the Jessica Jones series, but that idea sounds like it has a lot of potential, as well.

The Hulk I don't find all that interesting, personally--but hey, if Joss is writing it, I will be there to watch. :-)
Or maybe it won't be any of these, at least not directly. What about something around Black Widow?
I must be one of the few who isn't interested in comics but any Whedon on television is a very good thing indeed.
You're not alone, Bunnies. I could never get into them, myself, but I read the Serenity comics 'cause it's the only way to get more Firefly. sigh.

TV transitioned to comics I don't love, because I like words more than pictures. But comics to TV I could love, because there would be more beautiful, rich, Joss-y dialog than I can get on a comic book page.

Whatever he comes up with, it will be wonderful and I'll watch it.
Molly freakin' Hayes... on TV... written by Joss. The ultimate Joss character.
Gert in her full sarcastic glory. Chase bumbling around like Xander but with fire gauntlets fighting a vampire. This would be the reason that TV exists.

The show could start out adapting the already existing comics and he could bring on BKV to help script the series going forward, perhaps even giving Vaughan full series reign eventually. They could casually toss in movie universe references to which the Runaways absolutely do not care because they're just off trying to survive (usually in hilarious fashion). I'm getting carried away and have to go breathe into a paper bag now.
@Nebula1400 I kinda don't want them mixing movie franchise with TV adaptations and going back and forth. That seems weird to me. Different actors all the time, different continuities ... at that point just make a wholly new thing.

I'd still love a Black Widow movie (from Joss!), though.
New Mutants! He should do New Mutants!
Runaways would be good. Really good. Alias would be phenomenal as well. I would love either one.

I wonder what time slot it will get.

[ edited by Squishy on 2012-08-10 15:53 ]
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. The statement said Joss would "help develop" a show. Shows can be in development for sometimes 2-3 years and then never even go to pilot, much less get picked up to series and then get a timeslot. Pace yourselves, guys, this could be a ambiguous topic of conversation where none of us knows anything concrete for a very very long time.
Power Man and Iron Fist (aka Heroes for Hire). Martial arts and general kick-assery. Not only is the title duo racially balanced (black and white), their female partners Misty Knight and Colleen Wing are as well (black and Asian).
Some of these suggestions just seemed totally implausible to me. In the sense that I clicked next then immediately thought "nope". For instance, "The Punisher" for Joss? Nope. Also, "S.H.I.E.L.D"? Nope. Of all the things that shined in Avengers, it wasn't the S.H.I.E.L.D. characters. Hulk as a TV show seems the most likely to me. Just feels right. Civil War also seems like an intriguing possibility. It's gotta be what's best for Marvel and best for Joss -- and these seem like the biggest projects that fit with Joss' talents.

I'm 95% confident Joss won't commit himself to any TV project that requires him to re-hash a story that's already been told.

Sorry, I was just reading this commentary about originality in fiction historically and it struck me as funny because well, Joss isn't exactly known for being original. What he does, in terms of storytelling, is take old stories and twist them by shifting the tone and the perspective. There's so much inspiration from Shakespeare, from classic comics, from great movies and television -- and it all influences Joss' work. Not to say that there's no originality to what Joss brings, but that I don't think an already done story would be a dealbreaker because Joss would just find a way to make it feel new.

[ edited by Emmie on 2012-08-11 02:54 ]

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