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Marvel will develop at least four original series exclusively for Netflix, followed by a miniseries for the streaming service, the companies announced Thursday.
The series will be focused on Marvel heroes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, in that order.
Netflix has committed to a minimum of four 13-episode series, which will begin streaming in 2015 and will culminate with a The Defenders miniseries about a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters.
The deal marks Marvel’s most ambitious foray into live-action programming and comes in the wake of last year’s Disney movie-distribution deal with Netflix. It comes as ABC is enjoying modest success with Marvel’s first live-action primetime scripted drama, Agents of SHIELD, which the network previously picked up for a full season.
“This deal is unparalleled in its scope and size, and reinforces our commitment to deliver Marvel’s brand, content and characters across all platforms of storytelling. Netflix offers an incredible platform for the kind of rich storytelling that is Marvel’s specialty,” Alan Fine, Marvel Entertainment president said in a statement. “This serialized epic expands the narrative possibilities of on-demand television and gives fans the flexibility to immerse themselves how and when they want in what’s sure to be a thrilling and engaging adventure.”
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos added: “Marvel’s movies, such as Iron Man and Marvel’s The Avengers, are huge favorites on our service around the world. Like Disney, Marvel is a known and loved brand that travels. With House of Cards and our other original series, we have pioneered new approaches to storytelling and to global distribution and we’re thrilled to be working with Disney and Marvel to take our brand of television to new levels with a creative project of this magnitude.”
The shows will be produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios.
The deal comes years after Marvel teamed with Twilight writer Melissa Rosenberg to develop AKA Jessica Jones, a drama centered on the hero at ABC that never went anywhere. Beyond the Netflix pact, Marvel is also prepping a potential series revolving around Agent Carter, based on a one-shot included on the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray featuring Captain America‘s Hayley Atwell. A network is not yet attached.
For Netflix, it marks a major investment in original programming as the streaming service continues to find critical and awards season success with scripted fare. The series join a roster of originals that includes Orange Is the New Black, House of Cards, Lilyhammer and more.
The four-series deal also comes as comic book adaptations remain hot this development season. In addition to Joss Whedon‘s Agents of SHIELD, Fox is prepping a Batman prequel series based on Commissioner Gordon, The CW is readying an Arrow spinoff revolving around The Flash and a drama based on DC Comics hero Hourman, and more.
Lesley Goldberg contributed to this report.
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