Comics On TV

What Jeph Loeb’s Departure Means for the Future of Marvel Television

Could this spell the end of the Marvel Television unit that gave us "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."?

by | October 28, 2019 | Comments

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MAY 28: Head of Marvel TV Jeph Loeb attends Marvel's "Jessica Jones" Season 3 premiere at ArcLight Cinemas on May 28, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Netflix)

(Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Netflix)

Over the course of the past two weeks, a monumental change in the way Marvel Entertainment handles its creative endeavors took place. On the ground, it may appear like a humdrum shift of executives, but its effects will be far reaching. The change? Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, is now the chief creative officer at Marvel overall. This means he has the final say in all of their film, television, and publishing endeavors. At the moment, it appears the change will not drastically upset the day-to-day business of Marvel Comics, but the news almost immediately changed things at Marvel Television, the unit of Marvel Entertainment run by Jeph Loeb.

Loeb has been the executive vice president of Marvel Television since 2010, making him the ultimate authority on programs like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and animated offerings like the current Spider-Man and the Marvel Rising series. He also shepherded Marvel efforts in the streaming sphere with the Netflix series like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage and Runaways on Hulu and served as an executive producer on FX’s Legion.

RELATED: Kevin Feige’s Oral History of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

But shortly after Feige was announced as the new CCO, word broke of Loeb’s planned departure from the company, a move that reportedly was in the works prior to Feige’s new appointment. The news follows a general trend established when Marvel Studios, not Marvel Television, announced it would make limited run series with its MCU Avengers for the Disney+ service.

For fans of characters like the Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye, there is nothing but good news here. Fans of Marvel Television, however, have found their favorite shows disappearing in a snap. So let’s take a look at the potential ramifications of Loeb’s departure and what it means for Marvel Television.

Marvel Television May Cease To Be a Distinct Unit

Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda May, Clark Gregg as Sarge, Natalia Cordova-Buckley as Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez, Henry Simmons as Director Alphonso "Mack" MacKenzie, Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson, Iain De Caestecker as Agent Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Jemma Simmons, and Jeff Ward as Deke Shaw in Marvel's Agents of SHIELD keyart (ABC/Marvel Television)

As we often like to mention when discussing Marvel, the names of their divisions matter in the scope of the Walt Disney Company overall. And in this case, the distinction is the primary issue. Marvel Studios is a division of the Walt Disney Studio while Marvel Television is a unit of Marvel Entertainment, which operates as a separate entity from the Studio in the Walt Disney family of companies. This was not always the case, though. In 2015, Feige initiated Marvel Studios’ transfer to the Walt Disney Studio, reportedly to escape the control of Marvel Chairman Isaac Perlmutter. His effort was successful, but it changed a key element of Marvel Television’s strategy: the notion that Marvel’s TV shows would be connected to the films. After Marvel Studios left Marvel Entertainment, those connections generally amounted to namechecks in Marvel Television series with zero reciprocity on the studio side until James D’Arcy’s cameo in Avengers: Endgame as Agent Carter’s Edwin Jarvis.

But beyond this creative divide was the sense that the studio and Marvel Television were far more separate than anyone was really willing to admit. Although, this separation was made crystal clear last May when Loeb himself told Rotten Tomatoes and various other reporters that creative decisions for the sixth and seven seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had to be made without the knowledge of Endgame’s five-year jump in time.

“We had to go without knowing where they were going,” he said. “Otherwise, we’d be living in a world that was brilliantly shown in Endgame.”

RELATED: Disney’s Streaming Service: Disney+’s Price, New Shows, Launch Date, and More

This lack of communication will disappear with Feige now in charge of Marvel Television — although, it is currently unclear if Marvel Television will remain its own branded unit. Thanks to the Disney+ limited series, Marvel Studios built up its own television production unit which may make Marvel Television entirely redundant. Also, considering the unfortunate amount of cancellations in Marvel Television’s column over the last year — including Cloak & Dagger, which Freeform finally canceled last Friday — the unit may just be dissolved entirely.

Although, it is also possible Marvel Studios will use the name and some of the people in the unit. Presumably, its successful children’s animation initiatives will continue on with minimal changes, in much the same way Marvel Comics will continue with its current leadership. And though it means some good people will most likely lose their jobs, at least everything will finally be connected.

The Disney+ Programs May Supplant The Existing Marvel Television Universe

Kevin Feige and Scarlett Johansson (Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)

(Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)

As we mentioned earlier, the evident disconnect between shows like Runaways and the feature films will disappear in this new era of Marvel content. Feige (pictured above with Marvel star Scarlett Johansson) himself said as much when he discussed the studio’s Disney+ plan at August’s D23 Expo while announcing four new series set to join their calendar: Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, Hawkeye, and She-Hulk.

These additional Disney+ announcements read like a list of dream projects lifted directly from Loeb’s desk. Moon Knight was often rumored to be part of a second wave of Netflix content from Marvel Television, while She-Hulk and the Kate Bishop version of Hawkeye both neatly fit the description of a female-led series the division was reportedly developing for ABC as a companion to S.H.I.E.L.D. Also, all of these characters feel a part of the unacknowledged Marvel Television universe. Well, that is to say Moon Knight would make a splash as the first truly costumed character in The Defender’s Manhattan while Ms. Marvel’s Kamala Khan and She-Hulk’s Jennifer Walters would fit right into the brighter, poppier Marvel world of S.H.I.E.L.D.

RELATED: Your Full List of All Upcoming Marvel Movies — With Key Details!

But considering these are all Marvel Studios production, we can’t help but think they will chart their own course and ignore events established on S.H.I.E.L.D. or Daredevil. And with Loeb gone, no one will feel particularly inclined to advocate for the established Marvel Television programs or their histories. Additionally, Marvel Studios will not be able to develop television projects based on any of the characters from the Netflix shows for another 18 months (at the earliest), suggesting they may start from scratch when Luke Cage and the Punisher become available to them. The Marvel TV universe, as we’ve known it since S.H.I.E.L.D.’s debut in 2013, may experience a very permanent blip of its own.

Although, that Edwin Jarvis cameo in Endgame is one positive sign that all may not be lost. But even if, say, Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph play Cloak & Dagger’s Tandy and Tyrone again in a Marvel Studios show, don’t expect them to reference the events of their recently canceled series.

Helstrom and The Offenders Animated Programs May Not Go Forward

Ghost Rider - Marvel's Agents of SHIELD screencap (ABC)

(Photo by ABC)

Even before word of Loeb’s departure broke, there was the sense Marvel Television was already winding down. During the summer, he happily proclaimed a new “Adventure Into Fear” initiative on Hulu. The plan featured new live-action series, anchored by a planned Ghost Rider program, which would delve into Marvel Comic’s horror titles in a mode incompatible with Disney+ family friendly edict. Gabriel Luna, who played the Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider on S.H.I.E.L.D., was set to reprise his role. Plans were also afoot for Helstrom, a series based on Marvel’s Damion Helstom – a.k.a. the Son of Satan.

Additionally, Hulu and Marvel Television were in process of developing four animated series based on concepts as wild as Hit-Monkey (a literal monkey turned hit-man), and M.O.D.O.K. — the Mobile Organism Designed Only for Killing. Said to appeal to adult animation fans, the programs would culminate in a one-hour special cheekily called The Offenders.

Then Hulu passed on Ghost Rider just as rumors surfaced indicating Marvel Studios had its own interest in the character.

RELATED: All 23 Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies Ranked

At the present, it appears the “Adventure Into Fear” initiative is dead, although Helstrom is going forward with a cast including Tom Austen, Sydney Lemmon, and Elizabeth Marvel. According to a Marvel press release, the series will debut on Hulu sometime in 2020. But without Loeb, it seems unlikely the Marvel Studios version of Marvel Television will continue the “Adventure Into Fear” when it has its own plans for horror with Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.

Also, it is unclear if The Offenders programs will still go forward. Thanks to the long lead times needed for animation, it is possible at least one or two of the series will make to production and stream on Hulu. But it is also possible the whole thing will be scrapped.

This Hulu uncertainty also extends to Runaways. Though a constant success for the streamer, it is unknown if the program will return after its third season launches on December 13.

The Erasure of Marvel’s Inhumans

Inhumans (ABC/Marvel)

(Photo by ABC/Marvel)

But if there’s one (admittedly silly) good thing to come from Loeb’s departure, it is the potential elimination of Marvel’s Inhumans from the MCU. Once meant to be a feature film in Marvel Studio’s Phase 3, the project was allegedly part of Perlmutter’s hopes to downplay the importance of the X-Men by recasting the Inhuman concept as the MCU answer to mutants. But once Marvel Studios became a Disney Studios division, Inhumans kept getting pushed farther into the distance.

Eventually, Marvel Television took it on and the results were — well, 11% on the Tomatometer really says it all. Despite good actors like Anson Mount, exquisite location shooting in Hawaii, and a willingness to put a giant teleporting bulldog on screen, the show was shockingly generic. Its plot ended with the Inhuman royal family and their subjects moving to Hawaii and preparing for an ancient, unseen enemy. Thanos may have been the implied threat, but it seems Feige was the foe they were really bracing for.

RELATED: Marvel TV Ranked by Tomatometer

Rumors indicate Marvel Studios is looking to recast the Inhuman royal family for the Ms. Marvel series. The character is an Inhuman and interacts with the Inhuman royal family on a number of occasions. She also ends up taking care of that teleporting bulldog for a time. If the rumors are true, it likely means this one series is definitely out of MCU continuity.

And for all the good Loeb did at Marvel Television — we did get two seasons of Agent Carter, three seasons of Legion, seven of S.H.I.E.L.D., and shows dedicated to Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, after all — we won’t mind if this one element of his tenure slips quietly away into dust.

Charlie Cox in Marvel's Daredevil keyart (Netflix)

(Photo by Netflix)

Loeb’s formal announcement is expected before Thanksgiving with his departure occurring by the end of the year, giving him a full decade at Marvel, Deadline reported. In addition to his executive producer role on the Marvel titles mentioned previously, the titles he oversaw included The Punisher, The Defenders, Iron Fist, and The Gifted. Loeb previously had been a producer and writer on NBC’s Heroes and The CW’s Smallville, was a supervising producer on ABC’s Lost, and co-wrote 1985 film Teen Wolf, starring Michael J. Fox.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

films rotten movies we love Adult Swim popular 45 SundanceTV Character Guide twilight documentary versus PaleyFest HBO Go satire Family GLAAD Musicals Biopics Star Trek Hallmark Christmas movies Arrowverse AMC Song of Ice and Fire Fall TV natural history sports 21st Century Fox ESPN Columbia Pictures australia Alien TV Britbox Ovation Showtime Marvel Studios 2018 Superheroes Trophy Talk Video Games OWN Freeform batman Spring TV Fox Searchlight Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt quibi obituary Mystery First Look technology science fiction adventure Pirates 2016 Infographic sequel FX on Hulu Teen Premiere Dates Exclusive Video name the review jamie lee curtis Classic Film cartoon anthology animated Rock medical drama Music boxing National Geographic Lionsgate comic books Shudder The Walking Dead First Reviews Chernobyl TV renewals Opinion 2019 Western Best and Worst high school joker Universal Warner Bros. DC streaming service Grammys Black Mirror YouTube Holiday Lucasfilm Rocky YouTube Premium IFC Films Amazon Prime Thanksgiving Fox News CW Seed DC Universe History video on demand new star wars movies theme song adaptation spanish RT History PlayStation cancelled television robots sag awards women game of thrones blockbuster monster movies Sneak Peek Year in Review talk show TCA Winter 2020 E! Countdown dragons stop motion USA Disney streaming service Disney Channel Masterpiece trailers fresh DC Comics chucky Sundance Now LGBT zombie Super Bowl based on movie HBO President Starz unscripted festivals Bravo movies video thriller Endgame TCA book adaptation cats SXSW RT21 The Witch Red Carpet The Academy cars dceu jurassic park Mary poppins A&E historical drama NYCC serial killer Toys discovery slashers child's play Pixar Lifetime ABC Family BBC America Summer political drama french TLC book cancelled supernatural Brie Larson Box Office E3 stand-up comedy Captain marvel Amazon Rom-Com latino elevated horror independent Legendary pirates of the caribbean cooking Pop TV critics Reality hispanic Creative Arts Emmys Acorn TV breaking bad foreign sitcom Comedy Central ITV GoT YouTube Red Election 20th Century Fox Marvel stoner BAFTA indiana jones mockumentary criterion mutant nfl 2020 cults children's TV superhero deadpool ratings TV Land superman teaser zombies Reality Competition spain casting Netflix Christmas movies disaster Binge Guide Dark Horse Comics Food Network San Diego Comic-Con crime thriller Television Academy Black History Month Tumblr king kong Certified Fresh docuseries Nat Geo telelvision green book Holidays worst crime BET Awards prank Quiz werewolf Anna Paquin blaxploitation Epix period drama BBC One Cartoon Network 007 streaming psychological thriller classics Discovery Channel FXX diversity hollywood Comedy Photos Turner 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Winners Kids & Family Crunchyroll Martial Arts Paramount Network Schedule social media emmy awards Television Critics Association Funimation Interview The Purge Emmys Comics on TV El Rey 71st Emmy Awards FOX MSNBC screen actors guild MTV Podcast biography CBS 72 Emmy Awards kong ID Awards Tour toy story TCA 2017 99% Lifetime Christmas movies asian-american comic south america christmas movies CNN Film Hallmark spy thriller Elton John Vudu CMT godzilla YA space Spike comedies Cosplay Pride Month Turner Classic Movies dark Stephen King BET Women's History Month SDCC witnail Christmas ABC Signature Sony Pictures toronto james bond rotten game show Baby Yoda dramedy boxoffice Polls and Games binge Drama laika VICE Amazon Studios GIFs CBS All Access Extras TIFF hist spider-man what to watch Sci-Fi series rt archives 4/20 reviews dogs BBC Fantasy New York Comic Con Winter TV mission: impossible Marvel Television anime golden globe awards ViacomCBS concert Sundance TV italian halloween tv Horror free movies archives Disney Plus Comic Book Valentine's Day Animation canceled Tomatazos canceled TV shows The CW The Walt Disney Company 24 frames razzies singing competition crossover kaiju Mary Tyler Moore parents Esquire zero dark thirty TruTV vampires Hear Us Out A24 Spectrum Originals 93rd Oscars a nightmare on elm street renewed TV shows Crackle scorecard documentaries DirecTV facebook venice Star Wars all-time TNT doctor who Set visit Writers Guild of America dc Watching Series nbcuniversal Pop crime drama Syfy spanish language Peacock Apple 2015 miniseries television aliens Musical halloween Pet Sematary heist movie Apple TV Plus black fast and furious best worst movies Film Festival Country Mudbound cinemax movie indie Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ABC Netflix DGA rom-coms travel TCM Ellie Kemper harry potter Tubi richard e. Grant Paramount Plus saw OneApp blockbusters japanese romantic comedy Nominations composers Amazon Prime Video See It Skip It APB transformers nature Walt Disney Pictures Academy Awards Logo award winner politics PBS Nickelodeon Mindy Kaling Awards LGBTQ WGN Apple TV+ comiccon Avengers golden globes VOD Calendar directors Rocketman revenge reboot spinoff screenings USA Network strong female leads American Society of Cinematographers Emmy Nominations NBC finale comics TCA Awards Trivia cancelled TV series cancelled TV shows MCU police drama HBO Max FX franchise TV One Broadway The Arrangement hidden camera Paramount Hulu football Mary Poppins Returns scary movies Cannes kids die hard Ghostbusters TBS tv talk Tarantino war Disney VH1 romance IFC universal monsters Marathons Shondaland 2017 ghosts Oscars Superheroe Sundance psycho docudrama Heroines WarnerMedia Travel Channel Disney+ Disney Plus sequels festival news true crime cops remakes X-Men justice league Trailer 2021 Action