Avengers: Endgame marks the end of an era, with such original team members as Iron Man and Captain America widely expected to bid farewell to the Marvel Cinematic Universe by the film's end. However, for other Avengers, the sequel represents a new beginning: Miniseries WandaVision, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, and Falcon and Winter Soldier, starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, have been confirmed to follow Loki to the new Disney+ streaming service. And they may not be the only ones.
It was reported this week that Jeremy Renner will reprise his role as Hawkeye in a miniseries. The actor artfully dodged questions about a potential project, but its purported details are intriguing enough to excite fans, and point to a new path for Marvel.
Although not confirmed by Disney, the miniseries is expected to involve Renner's Clinton Barton passing the bow to Kate Bishop, the young hero who, in Marvel Comics, also goes by Hawkeye. If that's the case, then it shows that Marvel is moving well past Netflix's Defenders, a group of characters fans have been hoping to see return to television. But forget about Daredevil and Luke Cage; Hawkeye's live-action series signals a new direction for Marvel's TV efforts.
Abandoning the Netflix Formula
The cancellation of Netflix's various Defenders series came as a shock to fans. While some were holding out hope that Disney+ would pick up right where Netflix left off, with the same actors and the same storylines, it never seemed likely that would be the case. Now, between the confirmations of Loki, WandaVision and Falcon and Winter Soldier, and the report of Hawkeye, Marvel demonstrates it doesn't need to return to the Defenders well. Why? Well, unfortunately, because they were flawed from the beginning.
Previous Marvel television series operated under the mantra of "it's all connected," but that was rarely the case. While references to characters or events were occasionally made, it never felt like Matt Murdock, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones or Danny Rand were a part of the MCU. Because, well, they weren't. That's because they were produced by Marvel's television division, and operated on a different production schedule.
However, Disney+ is a different story. Marvel Studios is producing the series developed for the streaming service, and president Kevin Feige has assured the project will be "entirely interwoven with both the current MCU, the past MCU and the future of the MCU."