It’s pretty obvious that comic books currently rule today’s television entertainment. And the deals that the networks and streaming services have with the Marvel and DC universes make it possible to expand the comic book franchises for television adaptations.
Netflix, The CW, and ABC have been taking advantage of the comic book era and now other networks are looking to do the same. With the current success live-action superhero series have found on the small screen, it was only a matter of time before networks expanded their Prime time line ups with more of our favorite comic book and graphic novel series.
The comic book phase has unquestionably taken over the industry in regard to exchanging the once popular soap opera storylines for plots surrounding masked vigilantes and extraordinary characters. Despite recent stereotypes, comic books don’t necessarily mean superheroes. Many of the characters coming to television are normal people with no powers or a knack for fighting crime.
For the next few years it’s going to be a great time to be comic book fan as television will be stocked with live-action adventure. If you’re not a fan, then I suggest taking up a new hobby because television is going to be rough for you. The “Golden Age” of comic book adaptations for the small screen is just heating up and there’s no end in sight.
From superheroes to infamous characters these fan-favorites will soon be brought to life. So get your calendars ready as you read and keep track of these 17 comic book television adaptations that are currently in the works.
17. The Boys
Centered around a CIA squad referred to as “the boys”, this live-action series is currently in development for Cinemax. The Boys is another project from the collaborative team comprised of Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Neal Moritz, who tackled the recent AMC series, Preacher. The 72-issue series is set to be written and produced by Supernatural creator, Eric Kripke, as he brings this dark and violent comic book, which follows the team tasked with the job of monitoring the superhero community, to life. Casting and filming news has yet to be released.
Set to appear on the same network home to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Vertigo Comics series is currently in development with the Disney-owned ABC Studios. Created by Rob Williams and Mike Dowling, the series depicts the evils of social media. This comic-book has major Hunger Games meets Charlie And The Chocolate Factory vibes as 140 random users of a popular social network are sent to a private island to battle it out for the creator’s wealth following his inevitable death. Currently in the early scripting stage, the writing and producing reins have been placed in the hands of Michael Narducci, The Originals Showrunner.
15. Harrow County
Based upon the story written by Cullen Bunn for Dark Horse Comics, the series will focus on 17-year-old Emma as she realizes she is result of the death of a powerful witch. The news of her reincarnation has her embracing her new powers in order to avoid her inevitable death at the hands of her town. Joining the Kyrpton project, Harrow County is the second live-action comic book adaptation in the works for the Syfy Channel. According to the network, production is set to start soon but no casting news as yet to be revealed.
Existing outside of the main Marvel universe, Dreadstar will be adapted for television based on Jim Starlin’s 64-issue comic book. The series will follow Vanth Dreadstar as he finds himself to be the only survivor of the Milky Way galaxy. Thanks in part to the success of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy film, the road was paved for projects such as Dreadstar to be adapted for a live-action television series. The production of the series is still in the earliest of developments but has managed to lock in Jim Starlin (The Butterfly Effect, The Ring) as both a writer and executive producer.
13. The Infinite Horizon
Greg Berlanti can easily be dubbed the “go-to” writer and producer when it comes to adapting comic book series for television. With the success he has found with The Flash and Arrow, it’s no surprise that he would tackle another project that has been picked up by Warner Bros. The Infinite Horizon follows the Soldier With No Name’s journey home as he battles elements in a futuristic setting. The Image Comics adaptation is currently in the writing stage and no additional news regarding casting or filming has been released to the public at this time.
12. Essex County
Jeff Lemire’s famous graphic novel has been optioned by First Generation Films for television and is now in development with Canada’s CBC network. Essex County is based on the graphic novel trilogy that centers around a small Ontario community as it examines life and death. The novels intertwine the stories of three members of the isolated community throughout the series by creating a melancholy world. Aaron Martin, (Degrassi: The Next Generation), is currently penning the pilot episode and no projected release date has been announced.
Picking up the rights to the DC Vertigo imprint, WGN America is looking to bring their own comic book adaptation to life on the network. Based on a Native American reservation, the comic offers a noir based element that evolves around addiction, poverty, and crime. The pilot will be scripted by Banshee’s Doug Jung as he sets out to illustrate a modern-day crime story that occurs in an reservation community led by the chief Lincoln Red Crow. The network is currently in the process of casting an all-Native American cast for the leads.
10. The Tick
After the brief 2001 television appearance, The Tick has been reborn and will offer a new take on the live-action comedy. Despite only airing nine episodes on Fox, the show was highly praised by critics and will now find a new home at Amazon. Creator Ben Edlund is back as both writer and executive producer for the comic book reboot. While Patrick Warburton portrayed the Tick in the Fox series, he will only offer himself in the form of an additional executive producer. British actor and comedian, Peter Serafinowicz is set to play the modern day crime fighting Tick. So far, only one episode has been issued for the show.
Adapted for the Syfy channel, this show is based on the prequel of Superman and will take place on the home of Kal-El before it was blown up. The show has been reportedly in development since 2014 with the recent influx of popular superhero television series that have found success. Krypton will ultimately explore Superman’s origin that has yet to be conceptualized in a live-action medium. David S. Goyer and Ian Goldberg both wrote the pilot and Goyer is set to produce.
A pilot is currently in development for an X-Men show that will find it’s home on Fox due in part to a deal with Marvel. Hellfire will be set in the ’60s and evolve around the infamous Hellfire Club as they plan to take over the world. This villainous group was last seen in the X-Men: First Class blockbuster, but will adapt its own spin on the comic book franchise. According to reports, the show was put on the back burner when the Showrunners left to produce 24: Legacy instead. As no official cancellation has been tied to the show, it appears that the network still continues to green-light the production of the series focusing on the Marvel universe’s sinister club.
7. Cloak & Dagger
Venturing into the Marvel universe, the Disney owned Freeform network has officially given the go-ahead for a straight-to-series production of Cloak & Dagger. The comic book adaption is sure to be a hit among the young demographic audience of the network as the series follows New York runaways Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson as they acquire superpowers and began fighting crime. As an interracial duo, the pair will not only deal with their newfound abilities, but also their feelings for one another as they fall in love. The show is slated to premiere in 2017 and no casting news has been announced.
Marvel’s deal with FX will launch another comic book adaptation to their primetime schedule. The new show, Legion, is about David Haller, who has mutant powers that allows him to possess multiple personalities that are battling it out to control him. This series will consist of eight episodes and will star Dan Steven (Downton Abbey) as David, who is Professor Charles Xavier’s mutant son in the Marvel Comics. The show is rumored to have a slightly different tone than the X-Men stories and is expected to air in early 2017.
Joining the CW network as a potential fall 2016 midseason replacement, Riverdale brings to life the characters of Archie, as they tackle social injustices as high school sophomores. A pilot was ordered at the end of January and filming began in May. The series is rumored to potentially confront supernatural elements seeing that the show is being run by none other than The Flash and Arrow’s Greg Berlanti. Targeted for a younger audience, fans can look forward to former Disney star Cole Sprouse’s portrayal as heartthrob Jughead. Luke Perry has additionally been announced to the project as Archie’s dad.
4. The Defenders
What’s better than one live-action superhero show? How about four, teaming up to bring one of the most exciting crossover events to the small screen. This Marvel/Netflix creation will bring together the cast of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and the upcoming series Iron Fist and Luke Cage. The series is expected to take place a few years in the future following Daredevil’s first season timeline and will unite the street fighting heroes as they face their biggest threat yet (Mephisto is rumored to be the villain). The miniseries will be run by Douglas Petrie (Daredevil), and Marco Ramirez (Orange is the New Black), and has yet to announce an official release date.
3. Iron Fist
Exploring more of a magical side of superheroes, this upcoming Netflix series will focus on Daniel Rand, who can summon the mystical power of an iron fist and is highly trained in martial arts. In the first season of Daredevil, many easter eggs were hinted at the introduction of the Iron Fist as both vigilantes run in the same circles. Fans will get their first glimpse of Rand when Luke Cage premiers in September of this year. Iron Fist is currently being filmed along the streets of New York and will star Game of Thrones alum, Finn Jones, as the Iron Fist. Equipped with both magical powers and the ultimate martial arts skills, Iron Fist is sure to deliver with its anticipated 2017 release.
2. The Punisher
Due in part to Jon Bernthal’s compelling performance as Frank Castle, who debuted on Daredevil’s second season, Netflix collaborated once again to delve deeper in the horrifying (and impressive) character’s story. As a fan favorite, viewers can expect this live-action show to come packing some heat. The Punisher will join the collaboration of the popular Marvel/Netflix universe as the streaming service explores more characters from their initial series Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Still in the early stages of development, fans can expect a potential 2017 release date.
1. Luke Cage
The Marvel/Netflix deal is set to bring the story of Luke Cage to its worldwide streaming platform to join the ranks of Daredevil and Jessica Jones by the end of 2016. Previously introduced, the live-action series will document how Cage, played by Mike Colter, gains his powers and navigates his way as a new vigilante. The show will also star Simone Messick, as Marvel’s Missy Knight, who will appear as a cop investigating Cage. An official trailer has been released to give fans a first look at the show that is set to premier Sept. 30 with 13 simultaneously-released episodes. Fans can expect to see fellow Marvel/Netflix characters as the show will interweave storylines in order to set up The Defenders miniseries.