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Marvel Studios to Take Over Television Projects, Leaving Jeph Loeb’s Unit In Limbo

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BY April 24, 2020
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Last month, an interview with Marvel Television’s Jeph Loeb laid out the future of the Marvel Television unit and its upcoming series. However, a new report suggests that Marvel Studios will take over television production, at least for the MCU, putting it all squarely under the direction of Kevin Feige. This puts into question the big plans Loeb discussed in the interview. The Ghost Rider series is not moving forward at Hulu, though the Helstrom series reportedly is still on track. Marvel’s Runaways will crossover with Cloak and Dagger, though we don’t know if that series is canceled or renewed. So far, the only certain Marvel Television project underway is Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, an animated series for the Disney Channel.

Marvel Studios Take Over of Television Seems Focused on Disney+

Marvel Studios Take Over Television Image via Disney

Along with the initial Marvel Studios-produced series announced with MCU Phase 4 at Comic-Con, Disney+ also added more Marvel Heroes to their roster. This appears to represent a trend.

As Variety reports:

“According to multiple industry sources who spoke with Variety, the perception throughout the entertainment business is that live-action productions will be mostly if not completely moved away from Marvel Television…. “Feige’s shows are so far beyond anything Marvel TV has been able to do,” one TV lit agent who spoke with Variety said. “He has access to all of these MCU characters that the other Marvel live-action stuff just doesn’t, not to mention way bigger budgets.”

“A Marvel Television insider told Variety that the company has several live-action projects at various stages of development.”

For comparison’s sake, the Hollywood trade compared the budgets of the Disney+ series to Marvel’s Netflix shows. Technically, the latter series had a larger budget. Variety estimates shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones enjoyed budgets of around $200 million for 13 episodes. The Disney+ series’ budgets “run between $100 million and $150 million” but will only produce about six or eight episodes total.

The Difference Between Marvel Studios and Marvel Television May Amount to Higher Leadership

Marvel Studios Television Netflix Image via Netflix

While Marvel Studios has yet to produce a true “flop,” Marvel Television’s track record is less pristine. Agents of SHIELD final season this year will wrap with a 130-episode run. Shorter run series, like Legion, Agent Carter, and Fox’s The Gifted also may have been canceled before their time but remained critical darlings. Others like Inhumans or the canceled Deadpool animated series never even had a chance. While fingers might rightfully point to Feige or Loeb, there are other executives to consider. Marvel Studios reports directly to Disney top brass Bob Iger and Alan Horn. Marvel Television, however, still has to report to Ike Perlmutter, head of Marvel Entertainment. Iger and Horn both seem personally invested in Marvel Studios’ success, while Perlmutter, arguably, cares little for the business and remains woefully out-of-touch.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom for Marvel Television. They are still working on their Offenders series of animated shows. Four series featuring strange characters like Howard the Duck, M.O.D.O.K., Hit Monkey, and Tigra and Dazzler, are underway at Hulu. So, while things may not be going well for Loeb’s team, they are still working. The Marvel Studios take over of television projects will likely remain limited to those stories set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Agents of SHIELD started out as a reflection of the MCU. But increasing levels of secrecy and differing production schedules led them to abandon that in their sixth season. The show focused on telling its own stories, and it’s never been better.

Allowing Marvel Studios to take over television projects set in that connected universe makes sense. However, this doesn’t mean that Marvel Television can’t still produce series and cartoons that exist outside of that continuity.

Marvel Studios May Take Over MCU Television Series, but There Are Plenty of Stories to Go Around

Marvel Studios Take Over Television Image via Fox

Now that Spider-Man is back in the MCU, Kevin Feige has a very busy schedule ahead of him. Along with producing that, future movies, and future Disney+ series, he has to figure out how to bring properties like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men into the MCU. Yet, some stories in the larger Marvel Universe don’t fit in that realm. Marvel should, for once, take their lead from their rivals at DC and Warner Bros. While their film studio remains in disarray with a loosely connected universe, their animated and television groups are cranking out hit after hit. Greg Berlanti, who oversees DC Universe’s Titans and the Arrowverse enjoys incredible success with his universe. The DC Animated Universe has an ongoing continuity that allows them to do stories ripped from the comics, like The Death of Superman and Batman: Hush.

If Marvel Television focuses on producing additional content that doesn’t fit into the MCU, they might find better success than they have. Of course, Marvel might also be a bit over-diversified. Chris Miller and Phil Lord are developing a series of Spider-Verse television shows for Sony, for example. There is also the question of oversaturation, meaning too many Marvel properties on the air at once. Yet, the MCU will never produce a film like Joker, divorced from continuity and carrying a much different tone than their films. This is where Marvel Television can step in and help tell different kinds of stories Marvel fans want but aren’t getting.

What do you think? Should Marvel Studios take over the television projects in total? Or should Marvel Television keep trying to play in the MCU or develop their own universes? Let us know what you think in the comments below or shout us out on social media.

Featured image via Reddit

MarvelMoviesPop CultureTV ShowsJeph LoebKevin FeigeMarvel Cinematic UniverseMarvel StudiosMarvel Television

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.

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