Noah J Nelson on Tuesday, Aug. 7th
It didn’t take long for the whole Internet to find out that writer-director Joss Whedon will be back for the sequel to this year’s Avengers. That announcement brought with it the wild news that Whedon, who rose to geek icon status as the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, will also be developing a TV show for the studio.
You may have seen a nerd or ten having an episode over that one today.
Here’s the heart of the speculation at present: that this TV show will somehow tie into the Marvel “cinematic universe”. Which means that charcters from the TV show could turn up in the next Avengers, or Thor, or Batroc The Leaper.
Ha. Kidding on that last one. I sure that Sony has the rights to Batroc as part of the Spider-Man deal.
This comes on the heels of Warner Bros taking interest in Stephen King’s Dark Tower project that stalled out at Universal. The plan there was to create a movie trilogy that would have the downtime between features filled in by a TV show. This almost happened with the X-Files back in the 90’s, when the first film bridged the gap between two seasons of the show.
Let’s assume for the moment that this kind of transmedia play is in effect. That Disney/Marvel are willing to dream big enough to take this kind of risk, which honestly could cause as much confusion amongst casual audiences as it builds goodwill amongst the Nerd’i. What could we wind up getting?
Avengers: Academy. A series that is, essentially, a “superhero school”. Let Joss draft up the vision for a “Sunnydale High” meets S.H.E.I.L.D.. They can’t do the X-Men, Fox has those rights along with the Fantastic Four, so you go for the next best thing. Teen angst + Joss go great together. Best part: he doesn’t have to stick around after the first season so he won’t bore himself to death rehashing old Buffy tropes.
Runaways. Let’s stay young and then up the ante. Whedon has actually written this comic, which was created by Brian K. Vaughn, who became a writer and story editor on Lost. Bring Vaughn in too for this tale of the children of super-villians who go on the run from the evil parents. Please. Please. Please. Darker than Academy would be, Runaways would let Marvel flesh out their world from a whole new angle.
Heroes For Hire. Take Luke Cage, Iron Fist and a rotating cast of almost A-list heroes. Go straight for the “case of the week” format. Have S.H.E.I.L.D. be a sometimes ally, sometimes enemy. Possible cross-over with the perpetually-in-development AKA Jessica Jones, who in the comics is Luke Cage’s love interest.
S.W.O.R.D. Let’s go crazy. Whedon created S.W.O.R.D. during his Astonishing X-Men run. It’s the agency that deals with cosmic threats. Run renegade Chituari who were left behind on Earth after Avengers in an “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” season one arc. Tone: Marvel meets Dr. Who.
Young Avengers. Back to the teens. Only this time it’s the would-be Avengers, out on their own, S.H.E.I.L.D. be damned. Marvel doesn’t really “do” sidekicks, but they made a stab at creating their own version of DC’s Teen Titans when TV writer writer Allan Heinberg created these characters back in The Aughts. Once again, you could bring Heinberg in for a subsequent season or as a co-producer right from the start. Best of all: block DC from establishing the idea of sidekicks– which really are their thing– in the minds of the current generation who aren’t familiar with comics. It’s like putting Thanos on screen before Darkseid, times 1000.
You got a better idea? Let’s hear it!