Netflix Teams with Marvel to Expand Studio’s Cinematic Universe

/ Nov 7, 2013


It’s been a big week for Netflix, as the company has announced an array of original projects — from documentary films to gangster-comedy series — for its service over the past four days. This one is without a doubt the biggest:

Netflix and Disney have inked a deal to develop and air multiple live-action original shows based on popular Marvel characters. Per the agreement, Marvel’s TV division (which also oversees “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on ABC) will develop four shows for Netflix, which will begin airing in 2015. These four shows will then lead to an exclusive “miniseries programming event,” also to be distributed exclusively by Netflix.

The first show will focus on the Daredevil character, followed by a series about Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage, respectively. Each will be set in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, or more specifically, Hell’s Kitchen as portrayed by the Marvel Universe.

According to Netflix, these shows will “unfold over multiple years,” with each show getting a 13-episode season order. This will all culminate in a mini-series event called “The Defenders,” which ostensibly will combine the four narratives into one major arc.

Produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Television Studios, this agreement continues to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which includes the aforementioned show on ABC as well as all of the hit movies you’ve seen over the past several years — from “Iron Man” to “The Avengers.”

“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, in a statement.

Netflix already offers Disney/Marvel movies on its service. In the announcement, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said that these movies are popular on the service (which shouldn’t surprise anyone).

This deal builds on Netflix’s earlier content deal with Disney that gives the streaming service exclusive first-run US SVOD rights to live-action and animated movies from Disney and its subsidiaries, including Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm.

And don’t forget, this means Netflix is now in bed with both Disney and DreamWorks Animation to produce high-profile, original programming for its service.

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