We got the first full trailer for “Iron Fist” this week, announcing that the final Defender is here! “The Defenders” will assemble later this year for an eight-episode miniseries, and “The Punisher” is slated for 2018, but beyond that, Netflix’s next move is anyone’s guess. Marvel has hundreds of characters who deserve their own shot at the spotlight, so if you’ve got a favorite hero you’ve been waiting for, it’s only a matter of time.
Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t have the budget of a big screen blockbuster, so some characters wouldn’t be served properly if they didn’t get their own movie. They don’t necessarily have to be street-level heroes like we’ve gotten so far, but they won’t be able to go nuts with CGI and expensive set pieces. With “The Defenders” almost assembled, and “The Punisher” on the way, here are 15 Marvel shows that Netflix should put into development next.
15. MOON KNIGHT
Since Netflix debuted “Daredevil” in 2015 with a darker, more adult tone, fans have been clamoring for Moon Knight to get his own series. James Gunn recently expressed interest in developing a “Moon Knight” movie, but it would be difficult to serve the character’s brutal tone properly in a PG-13 setting. It would be like trying to put The Punisher in “The Avengers” and watching Captain America look on horrified as he carved someone’s face off (which Moon Knight actually did in “Moon Knight” vol. three, number two, written by Charlie Huston and penciled by David Finch).
Marc Spector is an ex-mercenary who died and was resurrected by Khonshu, the Egyptian god of vengeance and the moon. Since then he’s dedicated himself to Khonshu’s service, doling out vengeance to the criminals of New York in the form of razor-sharp moon-shaped blades, bloody fists, and occasionally even bullets. He’s also literally insane, with at least two other distinct personalities: rich socialite Steven Grant and working class cabbie Jake Lockley. In writer Brian Michael Bendis’ and illustrator Alex Maleev’s “Moon Knight” vol. four, Captain America, Spider-Man and Wolverine even joined him as schizophrenia-induced hallucinations.
Elektra would be an easy transition for Netflix, because her character was already established in season two of “Daredevil,” where we also got our first taste of the MCU’s Punisher, and she’s set to return for “The Defenders.” Raised as an assassin from childhood, she’s always tended to play more of a villain role than a hero, although she’s occasionally found herself on the other side of the fence. Her romantic history with Matt Murdock especially has had them teaming up against a big bad together from time to time, but basically, Elektra does what’s best for Elektra.
It would be interesting to see Netflix take on a main character without much of a moral compass, and maybe even more interesting, a character not tied down to New York like the Defenders. As an international assassin, Elektra’s skill set could take her anywhere in the world, killing the innocent and guilty in equal measure without hesitation or regret.
13. GHOST RIDER
In late 2016, Robbie Reyes: Ghost Rider was introduced to the MCU to much critical and audience acclaim. While Robbie’s arc and origin story were well-received, ABC is no permanent home for the Spirit of Vengeance, and it would be a shame if we never got to see him again. Even better, Gabriel Luna, who played Reyes, has already mentioned that Netflix is a possibility.
Another thing we got from Robbie’s origin story on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” was the classic, motorcycle-riding, Johnny Blaze version of Ghost Rider. Fans would no doubt love to see a team-up of the Ghost Riders, as long as they hired someone other than Nicolas Cage for the part of Johnny Blaze, who played the Ghost Rider in 2007 and 2012 for Sony’s failed attempts on the big screen. Of course, that CGI flaming skull would be kind of expensive, but if ABC could pull it off, then it would be peanuts for Netflix.
12. HOWARD THE DUCK
Fans have a strange relationship with Howard the Duck. The vast majority of people probably only know him from the god-awful 1986 film produced by George Lucas, but many Marvel fans have a soft spot in their hearts for him. He was originally created in 1973 by writer Steve Gerber and illustrator Val Mayerik as an existentialist social satire and genre parody, and more recently he was revived in his own ongoing series by writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Joe Quinones as a private investigator for superhero-related mysteries.
Netflix has had a lot of success with comedies like “Orange is the New Black” and “Wet Hot American Summer,” so it’s not exactly out of their wheelhouse, but it would be the MCU’s first attempt at a straight comedy and a challenging one to nail down at that. Howard the Duck briefly appeared in an after-credits scene of “Guardians of the Galaxy” voiced by Seth Green, so the biggest issue with green-lighting the show for Netflix would probably be budgeting for an all-CGI character.
Hawkeye is such an obvious choice for his own Netflix series, it’s a wonder we haven’t already gotten it. His first non-cameo appearance was in “The Avengers” where he spent most of the movie as a mind-controlled slave to Loki, then he got a little more screen time in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Captain America: Civil War,” but he’s always been pushed to the role of supporting character.
Jeremy Renner himself has said that he would be up for taking “Hawkeye” to Netflix to develop the character, and after writer Matt Fraction and illustrator David Aja’s “Hawkeye” vol. four (which was universally adored by fans and critics alike), the demand for a Hawkeye show has never been higher. Even if Jeremy Renner couldn’t commit to the shooting schedule of a tv series, we could still get Kate Bishop, Clint Barton’s protégé and fellow archer, to take the name and the bow for the small screen.
10. BLACK WIDOW
Another lamentable absence from her own solo project is Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. She’s been a part of the MCU since before Captain America or Thor, and she’s appeared in more Marvel films than any actor except Robert Downey Jr. (and Stan Lee, obviously), but somehow she’s still playing second fiddle to the boys. Kevin Feige has stated that he wants to do a Black Widow solo film “somewhere down the line,” but there’s still nothing on the schedule through 2020.
Black Widow has seen a lot of praise in her own solo ongoing series, most recently under writer Mark Waid and Illustrator Chris Samnee, and the character has been around since 1964, so there’s no shortage of stories to draw from for the character. If Marvel really wanted to please fans, they would team up Black Widow with Hawkeye and give us at least 13 new hours of the two most underutilized and unpowered members of the Avengers.
9. HEROES FOR HIRE
Speaking of team-ups, Netflix has already given us Luke Cage and Iron Fist, both great characters on their own, but they really shine as a duo. In 1977, the sales of “Luke Cage: Power Man” and “Iron Fist” had fallen to a point where they faced cancellation. In an effort to save both characters, Marvel decided to pair the two together in “Luke Cage: Power Man” #47 for a three-issue arc. For issue #50, the series was retitled “Power Man and Iron Fist,” and Marvel’s Heroes for Hire were born.
A second season has already been announced for Luke Cage, and Iron Fist will likely get one as well, but if they don’t combine the two series after that, they should at least have the characters showing up in each other’s shows once in a while. In the comics universe, these two are supposed to be best friends, so it would be a little disappointing if they only hung out during Defenders team-ups.
8. MS. MARVEL (KAMALA KHAN)
Kamala Khan has been Marvel’s number one breakout character of the past few years. The first volume of her solo series, “Ms. Marvel,” written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by Adrian Alphona, won the Hugo Award for best graphic story in 2015, and in 2016 won the Dragon award for best comic book, among others. The only issue is that her origin is heavily tied to Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel, who isn’t set to appear in the MCU until 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” before getting her own solo movie in 2019.
Kamala Khan is the daughter of two Pakistani immigrants and the first Muslim character to headline her own series. A “Ms. Marvel” Netflix series would definitely be a departure from the dark tone as it’s more of a coming-of-age, often humorous book, but they could tackle issues of race and prejudice in a way that no other channel could.
7. THE HOOD
The Hood is one of Marvel’s more obscure characters, created by writer Brian K. Vaughn and artists Kyle Hotz and Eric Powell, for Marvel’s MAX line of more adult-oriented comics. Parker Robbins’ powers come from a pair of boots that allow him to fly and an invisibility hooded cloak that he stole from a Nisanti demon. He debuted in a self-titled six-issue series where he lies to his mentally ill mother, threatens a hospital worker with a switchblade, robs a guy in an alley and cheats on his pregnant girlfriend with a prostitute, all in the first 11 pages.
It would be interesting to see Marvel produce a series that focused on the villain’s perspective with a thoroughly unlikeable lead character, chronicling his rise through the criminal underworld in the same vein as Walter White in “Breaking Bad.” Parker eventually rose to be the godfather of a criminal syndicate of supervillains as revealed in “New Avengers” #32 written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by David Finch. If they did something similar in a Netflix series, it would give The Defenders a perfect opportunity to re-team for another crossover mini-series.
6. PATSY WALKER: HELLCAT
Patsy “Trish” Walker already got her origin story in Netflix’s “Jessica Jones” as Jessica’s best friend, played by Rachael Taylor. In the series, she gets her enhanced strength and speed from synthetic drugs that created the MCU’s Nuke. In the comics, she has a long and complex history, but much of her ability comes from her time in Hell and resurrection by the demon, Mephisto, which eventually led to her becoming a recurring member of both The Defenders and The Avengers.
Keep in mind that Netflix has already spun off two supporting characters to their own shows, with Luke Cage debuting on “Jessica Jones” and The Punisher on “Daredevil.” Given that Rachael Taylor is set to reprise her role as Trish Walker in Netflix’s “The Defenders,” and rumors have circulated that Mephisto will appear as one of the antagonists of the series, it’s entirely possible that we’re already seeing the early stages of Hellcat’s arc to becoming a superhero.
Another fantastic, but underutilized character introduced to us on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” was Mike Peterson: Deathlok, played by J. August Richards. In the comics, Deathlok is a name used by several characters who were killed and reanimated with cybernetic technology. The Deathlok technology enhances its users in a number of ways, not least of which is a massive amount of firepower, with guns and rockets, but also enhanced strength, super speed and the brain of a supercomputer CPU.
On TV, Mike Peterson initially got his enhanced powers from the Centipede project, and was later killed while saving his son. After being revived with the Deathlok technology, he’s worked against and with S.H.I.E.L.D., but he’s never had that reunion with his son again. There’s not much word on what Deathlok is doing in his spare time when he’s not helping out Phil Coulson and crew on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” and he hasn’t appeared since season two’s “The Dirty Half Dozen,” so there’s not only a rich story to explore, but plenty of space to tell it in.
Spike TV made a lackluster attempt at a “Blade” tv series in 2006 and that was the last we saw of Marvel’s vampire slayer. He’s half-vampire himself and hunts the undead by night with his signature double-edged sword and a wide variety of other blades and firearms. Wesley Snipes, the original actor to portray Blade, has expressed an interest in returning if Marvel would have him, but the actor is now 54 years old and notoriously hard to work with, so they might opt to recast him.
Regardless of who plays the role, the MCU is sorely in need of vampires, and Netflix would be the place to have them, given their gruesome nature. Netflix has already introduced The Hand as an undead army of ninjas, and if the Hand arc is closed off this year in “The Defenders” or next year in season three of “Daredevil,” the next logical step would be an undead army of vampires.
3. SQUIRREL GIRL
Doreen Greene initially discovered her powers when she developed the physical mutation of sharp claws, enlarged front teeth and a giant fluffy squirrel tail. When she’s taunted by her fellow school students, she runs off into the woods and learns that she has the proportionate strength, speed and agility of a squirrel, as well as the ability to communicate with the furry forest creatures.
In case you didn’t guess from that first paragraph, Squirrel Girl has always been a largely comedic character, but she can still kick bad guy butt. In her first encounter with Doctor Doom, she overwhelms him by summoning an army of squirrels to attack him. Marvel reportedly already has a Squirrel Girl-led “New Warriors” series in development, but it hasn’t been announced when or where it will air, which means Netflix is very much on the table. As if that weren’t exciting enough for Squirrel Girl fans, Anna Kendrick has mentioned on multiple occasions that she’s very interested in joining the MCU as Doreen Green, and Joe and Anthony Russo have stated that “it would be perfect casting.”
Morbius, the living vampire, originally started off as a villain in the Marvel universe. With the natural thirst for blood that comes along with being a vampire, he was compelled to kill humans and drain them of blood, but he would often be hit with a deep sense of remorse once his bloodlust was quenched. It wasn’t until “Morbius: The Living Vampire,” written by Len Kaminski and penciled by Ron Wagner, that he decided if he must be cursed with this thirst for blood, then he would only feed on the blood of the corrupt.
If Blade isn’t the first character they introduce when they bring vampires into the MCU, then Dr. Michael Morbius should be, and then Blade immediately after. In the comics, both characters were part of The Midnight Sons, along with Ghost Rider, so if Netflix is looking for their next big team-up special miniseries after “The Defenders,” then “The Midnight Sons: A Netflix Original Series” doesn’t sound half bad.
Dr. Ted Sallis, Man-Thing, has a long history with the Marvel universe, and has already been established a few times in the MCU. In the season one “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” episode “Nothing Personal,” Agent Maria Hill can be heard saying, “Who or what is a Man-Thing?” as she talks to a fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agent on the phone. In “Iron Man 3,” one of the Extremis soldiers is named “Ellen Brandt” and has a scar on her face, which is a reference to the comics, when Ted first transformed into Man-Thing, and he accidentally burned his girlfriend, Ellen Brandt’s face with a burning acid that secretes from his body.
So who or what is a Man-Thing? Man-Thing is a large humanoid swamp creature who can sense, and is deeply affected by, the emotions of those around him. Negative emotions like anger and hate throw him into a rage, while fear causes his body to secrete sulfuric acid. He’s largely indestructible by most weapons, as bullets and arrows tend to pass right through his body, but he can’t spend too much time outside of the swamp due to his biology.
Which Marvel properties do you hope Netflix will bring to the small screen next? Let us know in the comments!
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