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Netflix is about to get extreme.
The streaming giant has signed a deal with Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld for his Extreme Universe characters, with the intent being a series of movies existing in a shared universe.
“Marvel and DC have their own wonderful mythologies and so too over the last 27 years, has Extreme,” Liefeld tells Heat Vision. “Fueled by unique and powerful characters and conflicts, they all stand on their own separate foundations.”
The deal follows a similar attempt last year to bring the Extreme characters to the screen, with Akiva Goldsman and producer Graham King. Although King is not involved with this new venture, Goldsman will oversee the writers room for Netflix’s output and act as producer on the movies alongside Liefeld and Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment. Weed Road’s Greg Lessans will act as executive producer.
Liefeld’s Extreme Universe characters debuted in the early 1990s when the creator left Marvel after his fan-favorite New Mutants and X-Force runs, where the central characters of Fox’s Deadpool movies — including the second film’s Cable and Domino — debuted. Concepts and characters in the Extreme package include superhero teams Brigade and Bloodstrike, as well as solo characters such as Lethal, Cybrid and Kaboom.
The Netflix deal has its origins back in the summer at San Diego Comic-Con, when Goldsman approached Liefeld to say he had his sights set on the streaming service. Liefeld is a self-professed Netflix addict, having binged the Marvel shows, with Altered Carbon becoming latest obsession. He’s also watched Netflix’s recent big-budget forays such as Bright and Mute.
And while Netflix already has not only its Marvel properties, but also has acquired Mark Millar’s Millarworld company, Liefeld feels his characters will be able to stand out.
“I don’t have a superhero clubhouse,” he says to cite the difference between Marvel’s Avengers movies and DC’s Justice League. “That’s not in my catalogue. I have a lot more people with different agendas and resentments and conflicts.”
He and Goldsman are plotting out which characters films will come first, but they are keeping those details secret for now. He does point to a familial struggle that’s important in the comics as an example of what the universe has to offer. In the comics, Brigade and Bloodstrike sees brothers John Stone and Cabbot Stone act as the Cain and Abel of the universe — on opposite sides of a super powered struggle.
“None of my characters are do-gooders. Deadpool wasn’t a do-gooder. Cable wasn’t a do-gooder,” says Liefeld. “My generation was taking things in a different direction than the people who got powers and automatically became heroes. The conflicts are a little different, they are slightly twisted, it’s the kind of stuff that found a tremendous audience.”
His Extreme Universe continues to publish stories via Image Comics.
“We did some crazy fun stuff that we’ll reboot and adapt and put it on the screen for a new audience,” he says, adding that there’s already a substantial audience familiar with the books that will be happy with the product too.
As a co-founder of Image Comics in 1992, Liefeld was part of a revolution in that industry, so there is something poetic about him jumping onto a platform that is disrupting how film and television is being made. Watching his three teenage children consume content on Netflix has him convinced that streaming is the way the next generation will be getting much of their content.
“I had to chaperone my daughter’s party the night Bright came out. She said, ‘Dad, can you just be upstairs and not be seen tonight?’ I said, ‘Honey, I’ve got a brand new $100 million movie that’s going to debut on my screen upstairs. I’ll catch you later,” says Liefeld.
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Sterling K. Brown