As the two biggest comic book companies, Marvel and DC have been competitors for decades, and in this golden age of comic book television, now they find themselves facing each other down on the small screen. DC may have Marvel outnumbered with Arrow, The Flash, Gotham and Constantine, but Marvel has Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter (as well as the upcoming Netflix shows) to build upon the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe, so each “team” has its advantages and disadvantages. While there may be similarities with developing these shows, whether it’s paying close attention to source material, a similar casting process, colorful costumes, etc, there’s one key difference between working in Marvel TV and DC TV: information security.
Agent Carter showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas and Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim (also Butters’ husband) sat down for a discussion through THR, and the topic came up of the level of security each show has to deal with. Butters and Fazekas revealed that with Marvel security is kicked up a lot. In fact, they often turn to their higher-ups on what they can and cannot say about Agent Carter.
“The level of security here is really high — because they don't want any spoilers out there — and as little as you can say, the better it is. They don't want anyone to know anything about it other than what they have to disclose. You're always literally looking to someone saying, "Can I say this or not?”’
In contrast, Guggenheim says that he and the Arrow team usually dictate what is allowed to reach the public rather than the DC people.
“DC is actually pretty chill. I will say Andrew Kreisberg and I tend to be the gatekeepers in terms of what's a secret or trying to keep spoilers from leaking out. DC never really dictates stuff to us. We're self-policing…”
Although both shows have big fanbases, because of Agent Carter’s connection to the MCU, the higher level of scrutiny the showrunners have to deal with is understandable. In addition to making sure that details for Agent Carter itself don’t accidentally get leaked, Marvel also has to worry about small easter eggs hinting to other films and projects being kept a secret before episodes air. Because shows like Arrow are separate from the DC Cinematic Universe, they don’t need to worry about unintentionally spoiling something from the movies. Since Guggenheim’s partners Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti are also showrunners on The Flash, between the three of them they have all the bases covered on which information gets out regarding the CW shows.
So, if any of you ever find yourself developing a Marvel show, be ready to check in with your superiors on what you’re allowed to say, and if you’re on a DC show, well, you have free reign…just make sure you also have a fair amount of self control. If you start blabbing left and right, DC will replace you faster than Barry Allen dons on his costume.