What will rise from the ashes of Marvel Netflix?
Fans are currently lamenting the death of the Marvel Netflix universe, which was recently officially confirmed by the streaming giant. The gargantuan rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe gave birth to TV shows based in the same world and setting, with ABC’s Agents of SHIELD launching in 2012, followed by the Netflix’s Daredevil several years later in 2015.
The MCU Connection Was Superficial At Best
The Marvel TV’s division back then, fresh off the historic overwhelmingly well-received debut of The Avengers, was promoting these shows with the mantra, “It’s All Connected.” This initially excited fans, as the movies and TV shows, could take place in the same universe, lending its limitless potential for crossovers.
Unfortunately, that same mantra ultimately led to nothing but one or two occasional references to the movies. Examples include showing a newspaper clipping of the Battle of New York from The Avengers, or mentioning what happened in Sokovia.
That’s the best they could do? The characters in Marvel Netflix can’t even mention any of the characters from the movies by name. Sure, they can refer to Hulk as the “big green guy” or Captain America as “the guy with the shield” but those are the most explicit references to the larger universe that Marvel Netflix could muster.
Marvel Netflix’s superficial connection to the MCU was disappointing to fans who were expecting a deeper and more natural crossover like in the comics. This is where the upcoming new Marvel shows on Disney+ comes in, as those will be able to connect with the MCU in ways that Marvel Netflix simply couldn’t.
Marvel Netflix Crumbled Under Its Own Lofty Ambitions
When Marvel Netflix was originally announced, fans were stoked to learn that not only will we be getting a Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist series, but also that all of these will culminate in an Avengers-styled crossover called The Defenders. Fast-forward two years later, and The Defenders turned out to be a miserable failure of epic proportions.
The Hand was laughable and ridiculous antagonists, and the writing was extremely bad. Fans were already reeling from the disaster that was the first season of Iron Fist earlier that year, and The Defenders only made it worse. From that point on, Marvel Netflix spiraled downhill into a ditch it wouldn’t be able to escape.
Let’s be honest, the only good seasons of Marvel Netflix were the first seasons of Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and The Punisher. Subsequent seasons were terrible because it became clear that the writers had no idea what to do with the characters. It didn’t help that all of them suffered from the Netflix syndrome of horrible plot pacing, where it felt like five episodes worth of storyline being stretched to ten.
As a comic book fan, I also thought that Marvel Netflix’s biggest flaw was that it didn’t really go as far as I like into the source material. In comparison with the CW’s DC Arrowverse (which is currently teasing its most ambitious crossover yet this year with Crisis On Infinite Earths), it feels like the Marvel Netflix is ashamed of its roots and instead went with the gritty and realistic route.
If it’s not properly connected to the MCU or even daring enough to adapt more content directly from the comics, what’s the point of the Marvel Netflix universe? It’s a drab and dark universe which fell apart due to bad planning and writing, as well as the unwillingness to explore its full potential. What a shame.
Disney+ Could Be A Fresh Start For Marvel TV
I’m still skeptical about the new shows announced for Disney+, which as of right now includes a series starring Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and his adventures on Midgard, as well as another starring Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier and Anthony Mackie’s Falcon with a buddy-cop vibe.
However, at least these new shows won’t have to mince words about being connected to the MCU, and can fully commit to the idea of taking place in the same universe. No longer will we have to ask about how Thanos’s Decimation snap in Avengers Infinity War will affect the shows, as the creative synergy will probably be more apparent this time around.
At the very least, Disney+ could be a clean slate for Marvel TV to establish a new identity. They should take a page from the new DC Universe in building its own exclusive and independent interconnected TV universe which began with Titans (it’s streaming on Netflix and here’s why you should watch it). Right now Marvel TV is a hodge-podge of different networks and quality-varying shows like Hulu’s Runaways, Freeform’s Cloak & Dagger, and ABC’s Agents of SHIELD, which is a far cry from the cohesiveness that was promised in the beginning.
Good riddance, Marvel Netflix, you won’t be missed, with the lone exception of perhaps Daredevil. Let’s hope your replacement will help Marvel TV rise again and clash toe-to-toe with DC again.