One of the questions lingering over the launch of a slew of Marvel Studios shows on Disney+ is whether the characters introduced on the nine Marvel shows that aired in the last decade on Netflix or ABC — including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Agents of SHIELD, and others — could find their way to the Disney streaming service in rebooted form.
That query was posed today to Marvel Studios chief creative officer Kevin Feige during a Television Critics Association (TCA) presentation for Marvel’s Disney+ offerings, which include the currently streaming WandaVision, the upcoming The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and many others to come.
“I think we probably could do it,” replied Feige when asked about the potential return of the Netflix/ABC characters. “I think a lot of that stuff comes back to us. There’s always rumors online about things reverting, sometimes that’s true, sometimes it’s not, and I’m not exactly sure of the exact contracts. But perhaps someday.”
Marvel’s recent television history is nearly as complicated as the back stories of Marvel Studios and the Marvel Cinematic Universe themselves, with the Marvel Television banner under the command of Jeph Loeb and secretive Marvel chairman Isaac Perlmutter for many years, while Feige — who reportedly did not want to report to Perlmutter — ran the movie studio independently.
As a result, there was virtually no crossover between the MCU and the Netflix shows, and only indirect references in ABC’s Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter to the MCU — even though both those shows starred characters introduced on the big screen (Phil Coulson and Peggy Carter, respectively).
With the creation of Disney+ and the mandate for Marvel Studios to produce content for the streamer, all Marvel product was brought under Feige’s supervision, with Marvel Television essentially shut down and the Netflix shows all canceled.
Asked if he was disappointed to not have greater control over those shows and characters during their various on-air runs, Feige was philosophical about it.
“My history at Marvel is vast and involved zero control for a long time — I paid more attention to the things I gained control over rather than the things I didn’t have control over,” he explained. “TV at that time was just one of those things that we didn’t, just like when Fox was doing X-Men movies or Sony was doing Spider-Man movies without us. That was just the rules under which Marvel was operating at the time.”
In other words, Feige was much more focused on building the Marvel Cinematic Universe and less concerned with the TV shows — at least until Disney+ came along.
“It was much more of an opportunity and something that excited us at Marvel Studios when Bob Iger asked us to start working on shows for Disney+,” he added. “It wasn’t a disappointment or something we thought much about when Marvel Television was doing their series.”
Characters like Daredevil and the Punisher have been among Marvel’s most popular over the years, so it seems like it would be a shame if they — along with Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage — didn’t come back to the MCU at some point, either on Disney+ or even in the movies.
Meanwhile, after WandaVision concludes on March 5, next up for Marvel on Disney+ is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on March 19 and Loki on June 11 (with Black Widow theoretically hitting theaters on May 7).