COLLIDER – On the heels of yesterday’s news that Disney’s upcoming streaming service would be featuring a Winter Soldier/Falcon-focused limited TV series, it looks like the previously announced Scarlet Witch standalone series will be a two-hander. Longtime MCU player Paul Bettany, who has been the voice of JARVIS since 2008’s Iron Man before getting to appear on screen in the artificial flesh as the superheroic android Vision, is now expected to join Elizabeth Olsen in the streaming series.
/Film reports that Bettany will have a significant part to play in the Scarlet Witch limited series in a narrative that will likely focus on the relationship between Vision and Wanda Maximoff before the arrival of Thanos and his dusty fingers. Like the Tom Hiddleston-starring Loki series and the previously mentioned Winter Soldier/Falcon show, Scarlet Witch is expected to be six to eight episodes long and won’t be connected to either the Netflix Marvel TV universe or that of Disney’s broadcast banner, ABC. Production of the streaming series will be handled by Marvel Studios and not Marvel Television, bringing blockbuster-like budgets to each focused, limited season.
Not much more information is available on any of the MCU TV series, except for the fact that Empire writer Malcolm Spellman will write the limited series centering on Falcon and Winter Solidier. We should expect further confirmation from Disney proper once they’ve got their marketing machine all revved up and ready to go with official cast confirmations, title reveals, release dates, and more. Disney’s not alone in trying to get their many-headed streaming service up and available to the masses, but they might just be the furthest along the track in the quest to dethrone Netflix.
If I even tell you the project title, it will be a spoiler so everything is behind the cut!
VARIETY – Disney is enlisting Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as the company prepares to launch its upcoming streaming service. The entertainment giant is in early development on an ambitious plan for a number of limited series centered on popular characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These series will likely include shows centered on Loki and the Scarlet Witch, along with other beloved superheroes who have yet to appear in their own standalone movies.
Marvel and Disney had no comment.
There’s an important distinction from other Marvel small screen efforts, however. The actors who portrayed these heroes and villains in the Avengers films and their spin-offs, such as Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen, are expected to play them in the streaming shows. Moreover, though sources close to the production are staying mum on the cost of the programming, the budgets are expected to be hefty rivaling those of a major studio productions. Each series is expected to include six to eight episodes. Marvel Studios will produce the shows and Kevin Feige, the guru of all things MCU, is expected to take a hands-on role in their development.
The pricey gamble with one of the crown jewels of the Disney film empire is a sign of how much the company has riding on its direct-to-consumer platform. As companies such as Netflix and Amazon continue to grow their user base, Disney is trying to find a way to establish a toehold in the streaming revolution upending Hollywood. The company has kept the details of the service close to the vest, beyond saying that it will likely cost less than Netflix and will launch at some point in late 2019.
Disney has already started to unwind its licensing deals in order to put as much premium content on the platform as possible. That’s meant that the company is forfeiting billions of dollars in profit, as well as shouldering the cost of developing the technology. The company has announced a number of high-profile projects, including a Star Wars series overseen by “Jungle Book” director Jon Favreau, a show based on “High School Musical,” and a live-action “Lady and the Tramp” film. The company also plans to offer several new releases when it launches, including its live-action “Dumbo” film and “Captain Marvel.”
Many of these projects are expensive bets. The Star Wars series will reportedly cost $100 million and the movies are expected to carry budgets north of $25 million. However, Disney has to spend big to make an impression. Netflix, its main rival, has 125 million subscribers globally and has lured top talent like Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story”), Kenya Barris (“Black-ish”), and Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy”) to its platform with record-setting deals.
/FILM – For years, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been calling for a solo movie centered on Black Widow, the ass-kicking super spy played by Scarlett Johansson. And while there have been a lot of vague claims of support from the people in charge at Marvel, we’ve yet to see her suit up for her own film.
But now there may be a film on the horizon that focuses on all of the prominent women characters in the MCU, not just Black Widow. Read Marvel Studios president and mega-producer Kevin Feige‘s comments about the possibility of an all-female Marvel movie below.
io9 was at a recent press conference for Thor: Ragnarok, where Ragnarok actress Tessa Thompson – who plays the sword-wielding Valkyrie in that movie – told a story about how she led a charge that Valkyrie herself would have been proud of:
“Recently, I marched up with a couple of other women that work in Marvel and we went to Kevin, ‘What about a movie with some female super heroes? Like all of them?’”
Feige jumped in to reveal what happened:
“It was a pretty amazing moment to be somewhere and have your shoulder get tapped and turn around every female hero we have is standing there going, ‘How about it?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’”