A couple of weeks ago, news broke that Marvel Studios was planning to follow up on 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' with a whopping four new television series. Just like with 'Agents,' these series would be tied directly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe shared between feature films like 'Thor,' 'Captain America: The First Avenger' and the 'Iron Man' trilogy.
So which characters will be appearing in these shows? Well, in characteristic Marvel fashion, no one is talking. The closed-set of 'Agents' became the stuff of legend; if Marvel wishes to keep something under wraps, they will go to very great lengths to keep it that way. So we fans are left to speculate... and speculate we shall. Below are my choices for which Marvel Studios properties would translate well to the small-screen, in a shared universe with 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'
RIGHTS ISSUES: before we get underway, it's worth noting that there are some very popular Marvel Comics characters that belong to other companies, as far as film & television rights are concerned. This means that the characters are off-limits to Marvel Studios and cannot appear in the shared universe until either Marvel buys the rights or they default back to Marvel after years of inactivity. The characters that are off-limits are The X-Men (owned by 20th Century Fox), The Fantastic Four (20th Century Fox) and Spider-Man (Sony Pictures).
So let's kick things off with a character that we know and love:
This character has been terribly misunderstood by the mainstream since the unfortunate 2003 film turned many people off the character. Daredevil could be a perfect addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the small-screen precisely because Matt Murdock (Daredevil's secret identity) wouldn't see himself as on the same level as The Avengers; he would stick to his part of the city, battling crime on a street-level rather than an intergalactic scale.
Also, Murdock is an attorney, fighting criminal injustice by legal means by day. This series could be like 'The Practice' meets 'Arrow,' with a blind superhero at the core. Oh, you didn't know Daredevil was blind? Yep... and he still leaps off of tall buildings. He is the man without fear, after all. Plus, Daredevil has a great supporting cast that comes with him. Forget the 2003 flick, Marvel could do this one properly.
This one is a bit of a cheat on my part, as Marvel announced they are already developing an 'Agent Carter' series, spun off of 'Captain America: The First Avenger.' Directed by Marvel Studios co-president Louis D’Esposito, 'Agent Carter' focuses on Captain America's love interest for that film, who was played by Hayley Atwell (pictured above). The planned series would be about Peggy Carter acting as an agent and a spy before there was such a thing as S.H.I.E.L.D. A pioneer in the Marvel Universe? Hey, I'll be watching. (No word yet on whether or not 'Agent Carter' is part of the four-series package deal described above).
That's right, Marvel once again holds the rights to Frank Castle, the gun-toting, skull-wearing vigilante known as The Punisher. This would be a difficult series to make for Marvel, given the general family-friendly atmosphere they have cultivated over on ABC... as Frank Castle is a bloody nut job. To do The Punisher properly, Castle has to be single-minded and never afraid nor hesitant to kill criminals--that sort of hardline justice doesn't necessarily play well on television. Still, there are decades of classic Punisher stories that could feed into a successful series and he remains one of the most marketable and popular characters Marvel has.
If a Punisher series couldn't fly, he could always show up in a Daredevil show... the two characters did grow up together, after all.
I think this one is the best idea of the entire list: one of Marvel's few heroes that hail from the African continent, T'Challa, The Black Panther. I imagine American television networks aren't leaping at the idea of a series set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda (T'Challa's homeland), but there's an easy way around that: fed up with the exploitation of his people by unscrupulous American corporate entities, T'Challa, a life-long warrior, travels to the USA. He infiltrates the corporate world as a business mogul by day and exposes the dirty little secrets behind these companies by night as The Black Panther.
I would treat this show as more of an espionage story than a crime-fighting story. As comic fans know, the character is very rich, layered and detailed and he deserves to be brought to a broader audience.
Check out the last few ideas on Page Two!