Saturday, August 5, 2017

Marvel TV News

Jessica Henwick (Colleen Wing) says there's a scene featuring the four heroes and all their major supporting characters, which presumably is something that happens late in the show as they try to stop Alexandra. At a guess, given the known participants in the series, this would include Claire, Foggy, Karen, Stick, Trish, Malcolm, Misty, Colleen, and possibly Hogarth, Elektra (who will inevitably switch to the hero's side), and even Frank Castle. The nice thing about this idea is it opens up the door even further to characters crossing over to different shows.

Reviews of the first four episodes of The Defenders are out (some include spoilers, so beware!) and, as expected, are largely positive. I mentioned months ago that despite moral outrage at Iron Fist the same critics would find a way to give Defenders a thumbs-up. The criticisms for the show are those you'd expect: the ubiquitous and meaningless "slow", along with carping about Danny Rand--IGN and others complain about his naivete and privilege and cheering it being slapped down by others in the show, apparently unaware that the latter is dependent on the former. There's a lot of mentions about "course-correction" for Danny, but the show was filmed before the reviews of Iron Fist were out, so critical reaction had no impact on the story decisions (something I pointed out in my preview). Not surprisingly a show whose primary antagonists are mystical ninjas spends a lot of time on the guy whose job it is to fight mystical ninjas. One of my complaints about Iron Fist is that the evolution of Danny as a character was stalled awaiting The Defenders, meaning that most of the development in his show was reserved for side characters (a shout out to Ward Meachum because of how much I loved his arc). It seems that we'll get that development here.

The critical thumbs-up serves as a demonstration that reviewers can find themselves in a bind--as much as they want to judge shows independently, the less their views reflect the masses the less audience they attract, so while dumping on a show that bombs is fine, doing so on one that's popular and part of a connected and popular series is difficult.

I want to throw out a prediction I forgot in my Defenders Preview: Stick will die (as, indeed, will Alexandra). I would love, incidentally, if the next Defenders team-up was versus the Kingpin.

The SDCC featured a much better trailer for the Inhumans--CGI for Medusa's hair was shown among other things. While I'm not a fan of Rag'n'Bone Man's "Human," the song makes sense for the show as well as this version of Maximus. At the event there was confirmation of a connection with Agents of SHIELD (this might seem obvious given that they are both on ABC, but there were earlier rumours of it being disconnected from all other shows). I like the idea of Black Bolt using sign language as opposed to telepathy to communicate. The first review of the show (well, "show" meaning the first episode) has hit as someone at SpoilerTV trashed it (adding they were a fan of Iron Fist, wanting to signal there wasn't lingering hostility impacting the review). As one review of one episode it's nothing to run a temperature over.

Speaking of Iron Fist, the announcement of a second season was formalized at last--while long assumed, this was official confirmation (it's the most watched Marvel Netflix show thus far). What was surprising to hear is that production is beginning immediately, with filming rumoured to begin in December (which, if true, could be alongside both Luke Cage and Daredevil--with the latter's start date not yet announced). There's a new showrunner, Raven Metzner, who wrote the disastrous Elektra movie (2005), but has better things on his resume since (former showrunner Scott Buck remains with the Inhumans). Whether or not Metzner is better than Buck I can't say, but in terms of perception it's moving the needle for critics of the show (as is the hint that we'll get Misty Knight), these provide "outs" to like the second season. As the linked Screenrant post points out, this filming schedule would allow Netflix to air all four shows in 2018 if they wished (something I speculated about a month ago), which Deadline now seems to be confirming (along with indicating Luke Cage is shooting for six months, not the nine rumoured earlier, so should wrap in December). Incidentally, I'd pointed out there's not much Iron Fist material left to sift through from the comics, so it makes a lot of sense that they'd try to mine from Daughters of the Dragon stories in the second season (albeit that material is also in short supply)--for those unfamiliar that refers to Colleen Wing and Misty Knight as a duo (indeed, their original comic introduction has them as a team).

We had some Jessica Jones season two casting news, as J. R. Ramirez is playing Oscar (a single father and neighbour of Jessica's whose son admires her); he doesn't seem to have a comic book basis and it's unclear what his function will be. Shooting of the show should wrap in October.

Runaways is debuting November 21st on Hulu, this after speculation put the show sometime in 2018. I'm not sure what to make of the news that the Runaways will be connected with the Netflix shows (Armin believes it's only referencing the Father Lantom character from Daredevil, who in the comics is connected to Molly Hayes). Expanding interconnections is a good thing, but I'm not familiar enough with the property to know how well it fits with the gritty Netflix offerings. Incidentally, I forgot to mention the double casting of Tina Minoru (in Doctor Strange and the Runaways), which is the second split between the MCU and Marvel Entertainment (alongside the double casting in Luke Cage and the Black Panther film). The showrunners were dismissive of the MCU casting, saying it was just a name in the credits (ie, an easter egg rather than a developed character).

Rumours that a Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) show is coming to TV have cropped up recently. John Ridley has long been working on an untitled Marvel project and the thought is that it's been delayed because Captain Marvel has also been delayed (the one presumably requiring the other--for those unfamiliar with the character, Kamala is inspired by Captain Marvel, thus her hero name). I'm not sure how well her powers would translate on the small screen, but otherwise she seems like a great addition to the Marvel TV lineup. If they are waiting for the MCU movie to drop (2019) Kamala is still a few years away.

Midnight's Edge has a video debunking the idea of superhero fatigue. The idea itself is ridiculous--what other category of movie is this question ever asked about? For those interested in the numbers behind it, it's worth watching (for those who don't know, the box office has been in decline for years; one of the only kinds of movies that are consistently profitable are those based on comic books--which is part of the reason Sony and Fox are reluctant to sell their properties back to Marvel, as well as why Warner Brothers is pushing so hard on the DCEU).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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