In what’s shaping up to be the decade of the superhero, a slew of new comic books characters will be making their debut on your television screen in 2016. Forget the big-screen Avengers for a moment (if you possibly can) and think about this; Netflix has signed a long-term multi-series agreement with Marvel to produce more shows along the lines of the already successful Daredevil (which first aired in early 2015) and this fall’s Jessica Jones.
These shows will all fall into the continuum of the MCU so we can expect further cross-overs and tie-ins to follow the shows already announced. Not to be outdone, DC is back in the fray with multiple shows in the pipeline. Even cult comics like Snowpiercer (which was already a film starring Captain America himself, Chris Evans) and anti-hero graphic novels like Preacher and Lucifer are popping up everywhere in the cable and streaming ‘verse.
We take a look at 10 of the most intriguing offerings due out in 2016 and beyond.
10 Luke Cage - Marvel, Netflix
The 3rd show to be aired in the Netflix agreement with Marvel, Luke Cage, stars Mike Colter as a man on the run from the law who slowly realizes he must use his superpowers for good. The character has already been seen on Netflix’s Jessica Jones, the 2nd Marvel show the streaming network has produced (after Daredevil). Luke Cage gets his super-human powers from an experiment gone wrong in prison and has incredible strength and unbreakable skin. After the lab accident, Cage becomes a fugitive in New York City and specifically Harlem. He runs into a huge cast of unsavory characters as he battles his own demons and tries to stay one step ahead of the law. The show is part of the MCU so we can expect eventual crossover and tie-in episodes as the original comic book Cage was both an Avenger and a Defender.
9 Iron Fist - Marvel, Netflix
Another Netflix/Marvel show, Iron Fist, will follow the adventures of Danny Rand as he becomes a superhero with an incredible talent for martial arts. He uses his mystical “Fiery Fist” (his true superpower) to help him clean up the streets of New York. In the comics, Iron Fist and Luke Cage were sometimes partners and long-time friends so we can expect to see a tie-in between these two series (especially with the Defenders mini-series also on the Netflix docket). Hints that Iron Fist’s arch-enemy, Steel Serpent, is involved in organized crime in NYC have already been seen in Daredevil so we might see some epic showdowns between those two as well. While the show is still in the casting stages, it does have a showrunner in Scott Buck (from Dexter) and is scheduled for an early 2017 premiere.
8 The Defenders - Marvel, Netflix
The grand finale for the Netflix/Marvel agreement will be the Defenders mini-series, currently slated for production after Iron Fist wraps. This would put the show’s release sometime in late 2018, if all goes well. In the comics, the Defenders included Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Netflix will be going out on a limb with the inclusion of the Jessica Jones character as a Defender but given that there have already been multiple tie-ins between that series and the other Netflix ones, we’re going to assume that viewers will already be comfortable with her presence in the Defenders’ universe.
At least, that’s what we think Netflix and Marvel are aiming for. All of the actors currently playing Defenders characters are signed on to continue their roles in the mini-series. As these superheroes are also all based in NYC, expect the Big Apple to play a significant supporting role. The mini-series is the last production in the agreement between Netflix and Marvel so it will be interesting to see if the two media giants come up with something new for Marvel’s Phase Four.
7 DC’s Legends of Tomorrow - DC Comics, The CW
On January 21, DC will be unveiling a new show about Rip Hunter’s raffish group of super-heroes who must save the world from imminent destruction. The plot twist here is that Hunter is a time-traveler and comes back to the present day to assemble his unlikely heroes. It’s even possible he himself is responsible for the coming apocalypse. Even better, the bad guy’s name is Vandal Savage. Legends of Tomorrow is a spin-off of the highly successful Arrow and The Flash series and will feature a bunch of cool characters we haven’t seen in a while like Firestorm (played by two different guys), The Atom, Hawkman and Hawkgirl and the villains-turned-to-good Heatwave and Captain Cold. It will also see the return of the White Canary (based on the awesome old-school DC super-heroine Black Canary) who has already been seen on Arrow.
6 Titans/Blackbirds - DC Comics, TNT
Everybody remembers the Teen Titans cartoons, even if you were never much of a fan. With that in mind, DC has resurrected this franchise and has given it a hip, new makeover. While the show will not be part of any crossover universe with the existing DC franchises on the CW (Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow), it will bring back to life multiple classic DC characters. The leader of the Teen Titans, Nightwing, is, of course, Batman’s former sidekick Robin. Joining him will be Starfire, Raven, Oracle and Hawk & Dove. While the series is definitely in development, production has been pushed back once (from October of this year). We’re hoping that was just a blip and that the series will make its appearance in early 2017 as rumor has it.
5 Krypton - DC Comics, SYFY
Another entry in the DC small screen pantheon will be Krypton, a Superman origin story airing on Syfy. The show is currently in development and the showrunner is David Goyer who should be familiar to comics fans for his work writing and developing, well, just about everything. Goyer has written Batman movies (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, among others), Superman movies (Man of Steel), the Blade Trilogy, Constantine and even stuff like Nick Fury animated movies. Krypton is supposedly about Superman’s grandfather and promises a ton of “mythology” regarding the Superman character. Although the show is not in production yet, with Goyer as the man in charge (he’s an executive producer along with Once Upon A Time writer Ian Goldberg) we can reasonably expect to hear more about it very soon.
4 X-Men: Hellfire - Fox
Doesn’t everybody want a little more Kevin Bacon in their lives? Now we’re not saying that the new X-Men: Hellfire series will still feature Bacon as the leader of the Hellfire Club, the major antagonistic group in the movie X-Men: First Class but wouldn’t that be cool? Anyway, as of October of this year, Fox has picked up the series, which will follow the adventures of the infamous Hellfire Club, a gang of big-time baddies that includes Emma Frost, Azrael and Riptide in addition to the Sebastian Shaw character played by Bacon on the big screen.
While we all know the X-Men were originally a Marvel creation, Fox has the rights to the property (hence their notable absence from the MCU) and is milking it for all it’s worth, especially now that Marvel studios is helping to produce the series. The show is definitely in development and has a bunch of writers and executive producers on the Fox end who have been involved in the X-Men and Fantastic Four ‘verses. Marvel’s Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory, who have been active with Daredevil and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., are set to help out with the pilot. No word yet when production will start.
3 X-Men: Legion - Fox, FX
Another entry from Fox in the X-Men universe, Legion, is supposed to follow the origin story of Professor Xavier’s son, David Heller. The series has been ordered by FX and the showrunner is Noah Hawley, currently best known for his awesome adaptation of Fargo to the small screen. Since Heller’s character is a “tortured” superhero type (think a really, really depressed Batman) who may be schizophrenic, the series should have a ton of fun playing around with the idea that different manifestations of his personality have different powers. There’s been no word on production, yet, but the fact that FX has ordered it is pretty cool. Legion is one of the most complex, strangest and mixed-up superheroes (or villains) out there and that’s saying a lot!
2 Marvel’s Most Wanted - ABC
With the continued success of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel and ABC have decided to create a spin-off series that will follow Mockingbird, perhaps the most popular character from Shield. ABC has already ordered the pilot episode for the series and Adrianne Palicki is set to reprise her role. The showrunners will be Jeffrey Bell and Paul Zbyszweski from Shield with Marvel’s inimitable head of TV, Jeph Loeb, helping out. We should expect that Lance Hunter will reprise his role as Lance Blood in the new series since you can’t really have a Mockingbird without her best friend/lover/nemesis…
It will also be interesting to see how further back her ties to Hydra we’ll see. ABC ordered the pilot this past August so we’re hoping development and production will end sometime in late 2016.
1 Marvel’s Damage Control - ABC
In somewhat of a departure, ABC also has in development a sitcom-style series about the clean-up crew in the MCU. That’s right, we’re getting a comedy series that’s centered around the “little people” who have to sweep up and wipe down the messes our superheroes leave behind. The premise seems very cool as forgotten heroes have to deal with things like lost objects of special power and un-explained black holes after the “big boys” are done fighting. Ben Karlin is signed on as the showrunner which makes sense as the Daily Show and Modern Family alum will bring his comedy ethos to the show. ABC has ordered the script for a half-hour show. No word on production dates yet, but we can’t wait!