Marvel Television as it has previously existed is no more. In mid-October, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige was made the Chief Creative Officer over all things Marvel, including the movies, which he already ran, television, and the comics themselves. Now, word has emerged that Marvel TV will be folded into Marvel Studios. Marvel Studios already has a string of live-action TV shows in the works, which will premiere on Disney+ starting next year.
Layoffs are expected as some positions will be redundant. After all, Marvel Studios already has multiple TV shows in active development, so it wasn’t as though they needed more help in that regard. But some Marvel TV staffers are being kept, most notably Marvel TV Senior VP current programming and production Karim Zreik and select members of his staff. According to The Hollywood Reporter, about two dozen individuals will be let go.
Marvel TV’s head Jeph Loeb has been expected to leave Disney completely since Feige’s advancement was announced, but it has been revealed that Loeb will remain in place to help oversee this transition.
The final remnant of Loeb’s tenure is ‘Helstrom’, a live-action series, and a quartet of adult animated series– ‘M.O.D.O.K.’, ‘Hit-Monkey’, ‘Tigra & Dazzler Show’, and ‘Howard the Duck’– all set up at Hulu, which Disney now owns. However, the entire writing team behind the ‘Tigra & Dazzler Show’ was fired last week, so that doesn’t bode well.
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ABC’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ will air its final season in 2020, and the final season of Hulu’s ‘Runaways’ will drop this Friday. That season includes guest appearances by the stars of Freeform’s ‘Cloak & Dagger’, which was axed in October.
‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ was Marvel TV’s most high-profile show, but was never a huge hit. Marvel TV’s most acclaimed show, was arguably ‘Agent Carter’, but that only lasted for two low-rated seasons. Loeb’s greatest success was the series of Netflix shows– ‘Daredevil’, ‘Jessica Jones’, ‘Luke Cage’, ‘Iron Fist’, ‘The Defenders’, and ‘The Punisher’– but interest in those dwindled over time, and Netflix chopped them upon news of Disney launching Disney+ and then acquiring Hulu, two major competitors. Ironically, those shows, as successful as they were, don’t fit the squeaky clean Marvel/Disney image, so as far as continuity is concerned, they don’t exist.
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe has soared with ‘Avengers: Endgame’ becoming the highest-grossing movie of all time and ‘Black Panther’ being the first comic book movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, Marvel TV has struggled. ‘New Warriors’ was ordered straight-to-series by Freeform, who then pulled the plug seven months into development. A ‘Deadpool’ animated series for FX was scrapped in development. ‘Inhumans’, a partnership with IMAX, was a resounding failure. Most recently, a live-action ‘Ghost Rider’ show for Hulu was scrapped in development.
‘Helstrom’ and the Hulu cartoons are still expected to happen, but after that, all further live-action TV shows will either spin-off from, or tie into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.