S.H.I.E.L.D. Spinoffs That Could (and Probably Should) Happen
This week sees the release of ABC’s new series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As expected, the anticipation for this show is through the roof. Not only does it mark the first serialized television show for Marvel Studios, but is also the first shot for Marvel characters to dominate the small screen. Of course, we’re not going to see Captain America, Thor, or Iron Man appearing in a weekly series anytime soon (if ever), but S.H.I.E.L.D. could be the launch pad for hundreds of other Marvel characters that don’t necessarily have the star power for their own film. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some characters that deserve a prime time slot. We’ll start with one that I’ve been championing since Marvel got his film rights back….
Of all the Marvel characters that could potentially star in their own series, Daredevil would be the simplest one to execute, and execute correctly. Nearly every year there are new shows starring lawyers, so it’s not like it would be very hard to sell the show to execs: lawyer by day, vigilante by night.
Daredevil (or if you want to go the “Dark Knight” route, Man Without Fear) would follow Matt Murdock’s everyday life balancing his life as a public defense attorney and as the vigilante Daredevil. Of course, there’d be some bleed over between these two lives, which would see Murdock (ideally played by Burn Notice star Jeffrey Donovan) chasing down criminals who are actually guilty, but beat the rap in court (sometimes thanks to Murdock). Since Murdock is a street-level character, there wouldn’t be any need for a huge special effects budget, except for the few instances where his powers would need to be shown. Murdock could be crossed over into the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, or even introduced there as a lawyer brought in to represent an agent or someone being detained by the organization. In turn, Daredevil/Man Without Fear could introduce other street-level heroes that Marvel Studios owns the rights to, like Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and my next character…
Wonder why all of those Punisher movies have trouble making an impact on the box office? Because it’s hard to translate Frank Castle’s personal war on crime in a two hour timeframe. Sure, it can be as over the top violent as it wants, but there’s only so much story time that can be devoted to effectively showcasing how much of a machine of revenge Castle is (for my money Punisher War Zone, despite being so goofy, came the closest in this regard).
With this in mind, Punisher would crib from CW’s hit series Arrow. No, Frank Castle will not appear shirtless every episode (but he would do salmon ladders). Like Arrow’s Oliver Queen, Frank Castle would be keeping a list of the dirty cops, mobsters, and other low lifes who caused the death of his family years ago. Hell, keeping with the Arrow theme, let’s have Slade Wilson himself, Manu Bennett, play Castle. The S.H.I.E.L.D. connection could be an episode where Castle is targeting the same criminal/super powered being as they are.
With shows featuring dark heroes like Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy dominating the ratings, a weekly series starring Frank Castle would be an excellent idea, and fit with the anti-hero wave going on in TV right now. I’m picturing a station like FX or HBO picking it up, where the dark, violent world of Frank Castle can be accurately brought to life.
Much like a show revolving around Daredevil could open the doors for more street level characters, a Doctor Strange weekly series could showcase some of the supernatural characters under Marvel’s control. While there have been rumblings of a Strange movie for years now, I’d be surprised if the character is able to support his own film. A weekly series however, would probably be a better bet.
In the same vein as other supernatural shows like Angel and….Supernatural, Doctor Strange would follow Sorcerer Supreme Stephen Strange’s investigations of the occult, having him either seeking out magical artifacts or helping people who are victims of demons and other monsters. The overlying mythology would have a cult threatening to resurrect the dread Dormammu, which would bring about the end of our world (and allow for a crossover with an already established Marvel character or franchise, like, you guessed it, S.H.I.E.L.D.). Strange would of course feature Wong, but could also find room for other supernatural characters like Morbius, Ghost Rider, and Blade.
As the Prince of Atlantis, Namor constantly has to deal with not only outside threats to his people, but inside as well. From human pollution wreaking havoc on the ocean, to attacks from rebel Atlanteans, the show could play like an underwater Game of Thrones. The S.H.I.E.L.D. angle is simple: taking a page from his early Fantastic Four appearances, Namor declares war on the surface world for ruining the oceans. Setting the series from his perspective would not only give us insight into his war on humanity, but also create a cool counter to the S.H.I.E.L.D. side of the conflict.
A political thriller starring Namor would be pretty awesome, especially if we can have a recreation of the current war with Wakanda going on in the background of Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers. However, the one snag is if Marvel Studios has the film rights to Namor or if he’s tied up as part of the Fantastic Four rights owned by Fox.
Of course these are just a sample of the characters that Marvel Studios could spin off of S.H.I.E.L.D. into their own show. I personally want to see Ghost Rider get his own series (and crossover with the boys from Sons of Anarchy) and would even be cool with a new Hulk show. The point is, all eyes will be on S.H.I.E.L.D. when it debuts this week. However, with Joss Whedon at the helm, it seems like we should be in for a treat, and hopefully the start of a Marvel dominated TV lineup.