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Can Marvel Keep Their TV Universe Alive Beyond Netflix?

The Marvel TV Universe Outside of TV

Marvel fans rave about the Netflix shows that have become a beloved part of the franchise. From Jessica Jones and Daredevil to Luke Cage and Iron Fist, fans are binging like they never could with the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But could this go beyond Netflix? I don’t think so.

Demographics

The Defenders - Luke Cage & Iron Fist (Marvel)

Most people who are fans of the comics and movies are young people. I’d say the target audience for Marvel (or any superhero movie or show) is people between the ages of 16 and 30. That’s a wide range, but still young people. I’m not including the cartoons, which are obviously geared toward children. People between 16 and 30 do not watch TV or movies traditionally. It’s all about streaming. Whether or not they pay to stream those movies is questionable, but that’s neither here nor there.

Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu are what most young people use to watch TV. They even use smart TV apps or devices like Roku to watch cable instead of having traditional cable. Lots of people even wait for cable shows to go on Netflix to watch them. I think that even if they wanted to put a Marvel show on cable or a network, it would have to be streaming somewhere for its audience to consume it. They would eventually, and with enthusiasm, but they would have to be able to binge it.

Movie Deals

But let’s say Marvel went another direction and wanted to turn their shows into movies. I still don’t think this would work. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter obviously incorporate the movies and their plot points. But I don’t think this would work for a show like Jessica Jones. First of all, Jessica is not a character that would necessarily fit in with people like Captain America. Her story is a little darker and she has an edge to her that wouldn’t be relatable to the Avengers. I don’t think there would be enough time in a movie to delve into her moral ambiguity and defend it to the audience. Let’s face it, even people who are not obsessed with Marvel go and see the movies, and it would need to make sense for characters like Jessica or Luke Cage to make an appearance.

Marvel's Jessica Jones

I think the stories of the Netflix series lend themselves to the small screen. Not that movies can’t show darker or grittier characters, they do, but the plots of the shows make more sense for TV. For example, Jessica Jones is about her running her own private detective agency. That premise allows for a lot of opportunities for episodes. Daredevil follows Matt Murdock while he fights crime in the courtroom by day and on the street by night. This also lends itself more to TV episodes than a film. Captain America and Iron Man movies make sense. Their story is a little more epic with more conventional battles between good and evil that people love to see on the big screen.  

Let It Lie

I think Marvel did a smart thing by putting these series on Netflix. But, I think they should keep doing what they’re doing. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


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Kelsey Painter

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