Jeph Loeb on the Future of Marvel TV, Marvel Knights, and Exploring New Genres
Marvel has big plans for life after Netflix.
Marvel’s Hall H panel at SDCC laid out a dizzying future of interconnected films and television series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But the comics behemoth is nowhere near done with their plans for pop culture domination. In a new interview with Deadline, Marvel TV chief Jeph Loeb discussed plans for the future and life after Netflix. Loeb described the different genres as “families” and laid out the ever-growing branches of Marvel’s television empire.
Agents of SHIELD is ending its run next season and Legion has wrapped up on FX, but Marvel’s two teen properties, Hulu’s Runaways and FreeForm’s Cloak & Dagger are going strong (and planning a crossover episode). Loeb discussed wanting to delve more into the young adult sphere, thanks to the popularity of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, saying “Then we took a look at the Marvel Universe that was upcoming and we knew that Tom Holland was going to be playing the role of Peter Parker in Spider-man, so the idea of YA, the idea of young heroes was something that got us very excited because it works really well on television.”
In addition to expanding their young adult roster of shows, Loeb wants to build more shows around local Marvel heroes, in the spirit of Netflix’s The Defenders series. “Then the next group is the Marvel Street-Level Heroes, or the Marvel Knights, as we sometimes call them here. So, if the Marvel heroes are here to save the universe, the Marvel Street-Level Heroes, the Marvel Knights, often they are just to save themselves, to save the neighborhood.”
Knights refers to an imprint within Marvel that explored standalone stories for (at the time) less popular characters. Some properties under the Knights banner included Black Panther, The Punisher, Daredevil, and The Inhumans. Other characters included were Moon Knight, the Squadron Supreme, Man-Thing, and Silver Surfer.
Other Marvel offerings coming up include a female-fronted series for ABC and an adult animation block on Hulu. The block will feature adult-oriented takes on Howard the Duck, Tigra and Dazzler, Hit-Monkey, and MODOK. The block, known as The Offenders, boasts some serious comedic talent behind the scenes, including Kevin Smith, Patton Oswalt, and Chelsea Handler.
Loeb said of the animated series, “I’m a huge Archer fan, and Dan Buckley, who’s the president of all things other than the studio here at Marvel, and I started talking about how we have this mutual love of animation and also pushing that wall. The idea of doing something that was more adult, some of which was started with the idea of doing Deadpool animated. What we really liked was the notion of putting together a group of titles that could then be a group, as we had done with Defenders.”
The final branch that Loeb hinted at was a horror-themed block, also for Hulu, which would contain the already confirmed Ghost Rider and Helstrom series, which would be under a category Loeb described as “Adventure into Fear”.
But Loeb describes the block as less horror and more “terror”, saying “What we love is the notion of how we can present a Marvel hero who was truly feared and truly believed that they were a monster, but that, as the stories go on, they realize, oh, I’m the hero of the story, I’m not the villain of the story. That’s not something we’ve ever done before.”
Exploring different genres is a smart and necessary step to keep fans from comic book fatigue and oversaturation. After all, comics already explore a multitude of genres and stories beyond the superhero trope. It will be exciting to see how far Marvel pushes the envelope, and what series will sink or swim in the already overcrowded world of comic book content.
What Marvel TV properties are you most excited to see come to life? Is there a genre that you would like to see them take on?
(via Deadline, image: Greg Lewis/Hulu)
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