Marvel and Netflix jointly announced plans Thursday to bring several of the publisher's street-level characters to live action, starting with Daredevil and continuing with Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, before culminating with a "Defenders" miniseries. This announcement follows reports from last month that Marvel TV was putting together a "package" of 60 episodes to be shopped to video on demand services and cable channels.
The "Daredevil" series is scheduled to start in 2015, available exclusively on Netflix. The digital service will host a minimum of four 13-episode series starring each solo character, with the subsequent "The Defenders" miniseries set to "reimagine a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters."
A TV show starring Jessica Jones, star of Marvel MAX series "Alias," had been in development since 2010; Luke Cage and Iron Fist, separately, had interest from studios as feature films for years. The Netflix project will be the first time those three characters have been depicted in live-action, but the second high-profile live-action "Daredevil" production, following the maligned 2003 film starring Ben Affleck.
UPDATE 11/7/2013 4:20 PM PT: Disney CEO Bob Iger is quoted by Deadline as calling Marvel's Netflix deal "a great opportunity for Marvel to create more brand value… There are more opportunities beyond our platform to produce product for." Additionally, Iger is quoted as saying Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage are "not among the most popular" Marvel characters and "were never going to become feature films," but that could change if the Netflix shows are successful.
The full press release announcing the project follows.
Official Press Release
The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) and Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) today announced an unprecedented deal for Marvel TV to bring multiple original series of live-action adventures of four of Marvel's most popular characters exclusively to the world's leading Internet TV Network beginning in 2015. This pioneering agreement calls for Marvel to develop four serialized programs leading to a mini-series programming event.
Led by a series focused on "Daredevil," followed by "Jessica Jones," "Iron Fist" and "Luke Cage," the epic will unfold over multiple years of original programming, taking Netflix members deep into the gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell's Kitchen, New York. Netflix has committed to a minimum of four, thirteen episodes series and a culminating Marvel's "The Defenders" mini-series event that reimagines a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters.
Produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Television Studios, this groundbreaking deal is Marvel’s most ambitious foray yet into live-action TV storytelling.
"This deal is unparalleled in its scope and size, and reinforces our commitment to deliver Marvel's brand, content and characters across all platforms of storytelling. Netflix offers an incredible platform for the kind of rich storytelling that is Marvel’s specialty," said Alan Fine, President of Marvel Entertainment. "This serialized epic expands the narrative possibilities of on-demand television and gives fans the flexibility to immerse themselves how and when they want in what's sure to be a thrilling and engaging adventure."
"Marvel’s movies, such as 'Iron Man' and 'Marvel’s The Avengers,' are huge favorites on our service around the world. Like Disney, Marvel is a known and loved brand that travels," said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. "With 'House of Cards' and our other original series, we have pioneered new approaches to storytelling and to global distribution and we're thrilled to be working with Disney and Marvel to take our brand of television to new levels with a creative project of this magnitude."
This new original TV deal follows last year's landmark movie distribution deal through which, beginning with 2016 theatrically released feature films, Netflix will be the exclusive U.S. subscription television service for first-run, live-action and animated movies from the Walt Disney Studios, including titles from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Disneynature and Lucasfilm. Netflix members can currently enjoy a wide range of Disney, ABC TV and Disney Channel films and shows across the 41 countries where Netflix operates.
About The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $42.3 billion in its Fiscal Year 2012.
Netflix is the world's leading Internet television network with over 40 million members in more than 40 countries enjoying more than one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month, including original series. For one low monthly price, Netflix members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.