(Photo by Zade Rosenthal; © Marvel. All rights reserved. / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection)
When it finally arrives in 2019, Disney’s streaming platform will have some very special Marvel content, according to a Variety report that emerged on Tuesday. Marvel Studios will make its first foray into the television realm with an ongoing series of limited-run programs on the as-yet-unnamed Disney streaming service.
The initial two series reportedly will focus on Loki and Scarlet Witch, respectively, with actors Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen reprising their roles from Avengers: Infinity War and earlier Marvel Studios feature film efforts.
Unlike the previous Marvel television shows, produced by the functionally separate Marvel Entertainment, these limited series will have the direct stamp of Marvel Studios and the budgets to match. We’re also assuming they will employ the eight-episode format of many limited series.
But it makes for an exciting opportunity as the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s quipsters and supporting players will finally get stories all their own without the mainline Avengers stealing the spotlight. It may also be the place for a handful of previously unseen Marvel Comics characters to make their debut. Here is a look at what Loki and Scarlet Witch series might cover and 10 more characters worthy of the limited series treatment.
There are two limited series definitely on the horizon, if the report is correct: Loki and Scarlet Witch. While the latter is more of a supporting character, the former is anything but secondary. Loki has been a major element of the Thor films and was the Avengers’ first opponent. Nonetheless, he is a fan favorite and spinning him off into his own series means he can avoid betraying Thor for a little while.
It is easy to imagine a Loki limited series focusing on the God of Mischief’s attempt to play the hero as the remaining Asgardians look for a new home. It may also offer Loki a legitimate path to the throne and adoration should he be able to keep his inclinations in check. Those interior temptations could prove to be a tougher opponent than anything the cosmos can throw at him.
Wanda Maximoff’s story line meanwhile, could redefine the character. Lacking the option to use her mutant roots, the MCU Scarlet Witch is as much a product of the Infinity Stones and Hydra experimentation as anything else. It smoothed over the rough edges of her story, but left her in that off-screen place where she and Vision fell in love.
A limited series focusing on Wanda could offer the opportunity to introduce the mutants by way of her famous father Magneto. But it could also give the character a change to process everything she’s been through over the last few years and, perhaps, confront unresolved issues from those days in the Hydra installation.
Though he played an important role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) became something of a bit player in his subsequent MCU appearances. Granted, there is only so much screentime for Sam with Bucky (Sebastian Stan) hogging the screen and universe-shattering events transpiring around Team Cap.
A Falcon limited series could revolve around Sam finding a new role following the fourth Avengers film. Presuming he is willed back into existence, will he choose to stay a high-flying Avenger, return to his support-group days, or something altogether new? Come to think of it, the superhero community will need its own support group and Sam is uniquely qualified for that job.
Somewhere along the way, the MCU lost Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). To be fair, Marvel Comics lost her as well over the decades. She’s not exactly Thor’s one true pairing – like the god that he is, he certainly gets around – which means she never received a defining comic-book treatment to import into the films. Thor: The Dark World suggests an interesting character in her refusal to treat Asgardian magic as anything other than science, but as the Thor film series ultimately focused on the strained fraternal philia between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki, there was, ultimately, no room for Jane.
Marvel Comics solved the Jane problem by making her The Mighty Thor for a time, but a limited series could revolve around her attempts to understand the physical world of the MCU. In both of her on-screen appearances, she was always close to scientific breakthroughs Thor and the other Asgardians ultimately ruined. A series of science-based intrigue – or, indeed, Jane finally making that breakthrough – could woo Portman back to the role. Though, more likely, the part would have to be recast.
Luis (Michael Peña) is Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) scene-stealing prison buddy and business partner. He also has a way with a story. But as the Ant-Man films are more about Scott and the Pym family, Luis’ appearances are limited to his wild tales and tendency to deliver an important punch.
In a limited series, the character could take on some more dimension with a look at this family and his past. One of those cousins he references from time to time could be an interesting foil, as Luis suddenly finds himself a protagonist facing the sort of ethical dilemmas Scott faces in his feature films. At the very least, the show would offer an opportunity to reveal Luis’ last name.
As one of Captain Marvel’s best friends and an Avenger stalwart, Spider-Woman Jessica Drew is always on the periphery of the frame. She’s had a number of comic book series over the years, a short lived cartoon, and played key parts in some of Marvel Comics’ event story lines, but never appeared in live-action despite a winning combination of keen detective skills, a smart mouth, and a penchant for stumbling into trouble.
Her limited series could focus on her path to becoming a hero and unraveling her devilishly convoluted backstory, which includes a brief time as a Hydra operative. As one of the more inherently funny Marvel characters, her show would lend itself to a lighter tone than some of the others, but varying tone is key to Marvel’s film success.
Despite housing one of the Infinity Stones, Vision’s (Paul Bettany) story always plays in the margins of the Avengers feature films. His relationship with Scarlet Witch, for example, occurred almost entirely off-screen. It is an unfortunate truth of his MCU appearances as he is a unique and beloved Marvel hero with a long comic-book history and an easy-to-write screen conflict: his search for his own humanity.
But one of Vision’s more recent comic book tales, the 2015 The Vision series by Tom King and Gabriel Walta, provides a great template for a short-run television series. In it, Vision creates a typical American family for himself in the hopes of better integrating into society. It goes sideways almost immediately when his wife Virginia – whose mind was based on Scarlet Witch’s brain patterns – kills an attacking supervillain and hides the body for fear of risking her family’s freedom. Their children, Viv and Vin, also find their android adolescence to be a difficult journey. It’s a grim story, but perfect for the sort of drama limited series often feature.
Meme-worthy Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) is at once the most competent Avenger and the team’s most baffling member. While his comic-book counterpart is known for his bumbling and womanizing, the MCU Hawkeye is a family man who has his crap together. And because of this, his MCU appearances feel more like extended cameos.
In the limited series treatment, audiences could go back to the days before Clint had all his ducks in a row or his lovely family. It could focus on the journey from arrested manchild to highly effective S.H.I.E.L.D. operative the films never had time to explore. Alternatively, it could be a genre-busting family drama, with Clint and Laura (Linda Cardellini) raising their kids in a post-Avengers 4 world.
Somehow, Marvel Comics’ other Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, has yet to make her live-action debut. She is a well-meaning ne’er-do-well who decided to take up detective work to make ends meet while trying to get accepted into the main Avengers team. She also has a cadre of friends and associates ready for television treatment and a primary nemesis in the long-time S.H.I.E.L.D. villain Madame Masque.
And thanks to a Los Angeles–based story line first outlined by Matt Fraction and Annie Wu and later refined by Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero, Kate is the character most ready for the jump to TV. A limited series may have to give her more of an origin, but it could just as easily skip to her detective days and make her adoption of a costumed persona part of the plot.
Now that we know Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) will debut in next March’s Captain Marvel, fans are already curious where her daughter Monica is hiding. In Marvel Comics lore, she took on the Captain Marvel identity in the 1980s after coming into contact with “interdimensional energies” and served as both an Avenger and the company’s primary Captain Marvel for a long time. She later adopted other identities, most recently settling on “Spectrum.” And though she led the Avengers at one point, she has habit of becoming a supporting or guest character in other heroes’ titles.
But as many assume she will be revealed in the present-day MCU with some sort of power, a limited series could focus on that hero training as supervised by the Avengers, much like her early appearances in the Avengers comic. Also that search for the right superhero identity could mirror her own interior struggle to discover herself.
As the no-nonsense librarian unimpressed by Stephen Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) quips, Wong (Benedict Wong) stole all of his scenes in Doctor Strange. He also stole his brief scenes in Avengers: Infinity War before teleporting back to the Sanctum Santorum. His fate in light of that film’s conclusion is unknown at the moment, but we fully expect him to be part of Doctor Strange 2’s supporting cast whenever it materialized from the mystical realms of development.
A limited series could focus on how Wong became the Kamar-Taj librarian. In the comics, Wong is the descendant of monks who have long served the Ancient One in the forbidden mountain monastery, but considering the hip edge of the MCU’s Wong, it is possible his journey to the Himalayas may share certain similarities to Strange’s origin. Alternatively, the series could examine how he aided survivors in New York following the Snap.
Yes, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) had a two-season television series. She also featured in one of those Marvel One-Shot short films and appeared in both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron. But for us, that is not nearly enough screen time for a character whose exploits extend from World War II to the early 21st century. Also, we’re still miffed ABC chose to cancel Marvel’s Agent Carter and move fan-favorite Atwell to an uninspired legal drama that the network also cancelled.
But in the limited-series realm, a revived Agent Carter would not have to preserve its status quo or hedge its bets in hopes of renewal. It could tell a more complete and daring story than the ABC series. It could also resolve those dangling Leviathan plot lines – not that such closure is a strict requirement, mind you. The series could instead move Peggy to a new context during the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D. or even to a later decade as a member of the leadership group glimpsed in Ant-Man.
Of course, the notion of MCU limited series is still new and exciting. Even the statuses of the Loki and Scarlet Witch series could change by the time Marvel Studios really puts the project into production. But it all points to new and interesting storytelling avenue. One in which the characters can drive the story without having to justify continuing film or television series. That, in and of itself, is pretty cool.
Is there an MCU hero — or villain! — you’d like to see get his or her own series? Tell us in the comments!