Though The Punisher just released last month to critical acclaim and some mild fan fervor, the countdown clock is ticking for Jessica Jones Season 3, which will possibly be Netflix's final season within the Marvel universe. Another streaming service may be interested in picking up those pieces, with Marvel planting a big stake in Hulu for the animated Howard the Duck series and more. But what about Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist?
Hulu's Senior Vice President of Originals, Craig Erwich, answered just that question at this year's Television Critics Association winter press tour, albeit in somewhat vague terms. Here's how he put it to TheWrap:
Marvel has a ton of titles we’d be interested in. It kind of just depends on when they’re ready, [and] who, most importantly, is going to be behind these things.
Not the most overwhelmingly positive answer, to be sure, but also far more positive than him flat-out shaking his head while wearing a "Daredevil Sux" T-shirt. Agreeable diplomacy is usually key in these cases, and Craig Erwich will likely get asked this kind of question a lot more often now that he appears open to the possibility of resurrecting cancelled Marvel shows.
Being open to something is obviously not a guarantee that any particular outcome will occur, regardless of how much fans want it or how many people signed a certain petition. There is reportedly paperwork in place that limits other studios from using Marvel's various Defenders characters for a specific time window after their shows end their Netflix runs.
As such, Craig Erwich might not even be fully aware at this point which of Marvel's former Netflix properties and characters Hulu would have access to. If Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock/Daredevil is contractually obligated to stay out of any new projects for two years, for instance, then Hulu wouldn't be able to put anything together with him until at least November 2020. Luke Cage and Iron Fist could happen a little sooner, since their cancellations came in the previous weeks.
Luckily, Hulu just set up a deal with Marvel that will have the two companies working together on far more than just the teens vs. adults drama Marvel's Runaways, which is one of Hulu's best original series. As it was announced on Monday, Hulu signed a lucrative deal with Marvel that will bring no less than five new projects to the streaming service.
The caveat with Hulu's new Marvel deal is that all of the new shows are animated. It makes complete sense for all these fantastical projects – Howard the Duck, M.O.D.O.K., Hit-Monkey, and Tigra & Dazzler – to be of the animated variety, since they're all meant to come together for the all-star crossover special The Offenders. (I mean, that's basically a Netflix burn already.)
Plus, not only will those projects be a big boost for Hulu's original fare that appeals to both older and younger audiences, but it also expands professional relationships between Marvel and Hulu's execs. Granted, Marvel's parent company Disney will soon own 60% or so of Hulu, so those execs might have soon been chummy anyway.
Craig Erwich echoed those sentiments at TCA, too.
I’m sure it will lead to — you know, business gets you business — we have a good creative relationship with them. That’s where opportunities tend to arise.
Considering how long it takes animated projects to come together, one would hope that viewers don't have to wait until Howard the Duck and the rest are all released before hearing about future projects. Especially since those new shows have awesome talent behind them like Kevin Smith, Patton Oswalt, Chelsea Handler and more.
Marvel's TV output has grown immensely in recent years, to the point where Netflix no longer felt like the best option for small screen superheroes. Dramas like Cloak & Dagger and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Legion continue to wow fans in a variety of different ways, and more shows are in development for the upcoming Disney+ streaming service.
Legion is ending with Season 3, sadly, meaning FX will also potentially be lacking a Marvel show by the end of 2019. When CinemaBlend recently talked to FX boss John Landgraf, he told us he and his team are also willing to keep working with Marvel after the third and final season of Legion has come and gone. Can we just get a Wolverine TV show already?
What will Hulu and Marvel do next? The sky is the limit, I'd think. While waiting to hear what happens, head to our midseason premiere schedule to note all of the new and returning shows hitting TV soon.