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SDCC 2016: Marvel TV is Alive and Well

The Upfronts back in May were a bit of a bummer as a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s television presence. Not only was Agent Carter cancelled, but the Mockingbird-focused Most Wanted was ultimately passed over by ABC. Throw in that there was no further mention of the in-development Damage Control, and it was hard not be a bit bummed about Marvel’s small-screen presence.

Fortunately, the showing out of Comic-Con this weekend has given us all plenty to be excited about. Though there were no new shows announced, there were numerous big announcements about the entire line of Marvel shows on Netflix, as well as a major character revealed to be coming to Agents of SHIELD in the fall. As such, given how much I love the episodic corner of the MCU, I thought I’d take a look at the announcements and share my thoughts.

Starting with Netflix and taking things roughly in order of release, we finally got our first trailer for the first season of Luke Cage. Though we didn’t get much of what an idea of what the show’s story will be, it’s hard not be especially excited about this one. For one, it’s the show releasing soonest, coming out in just over two months, but more importantly, Mike Colter proved he was the right man to bring Luke Cage to life with his role on Jessica Jones last year. This trailer showed that to still be true, particularly in emphasizing Luke’s fighting style; where Daredevil strikes with precision from the shadows, Luke tears through threats like a wrecking ball, as a man with unbreakable skin should.

Also doing a great wrecking ball impression was Finn Jones’ Danny Rand, tearing his way out of a mental hospital in the first teaser for Iron Fist. It was a nice surprise to get the first footage from the new show since its 2017 release is still a ways off, and it gave us an idea of the unwelcoming homecoming Danny seems to be in for when he returns from his time in K’un-Lun. There’s too little to go on in terms of determining how well Finn Jones will do in the part, but he looks like a good fit for the character.

It would have been an even bigger surprise to get footage of the epic Netflix crossover series The Defenders – given that, you know, it hasn’t started filming yet – but the stylish teaser trailer we were given was a great first look nonetheless. The teaser gives us a cool logo combining letters from each of the solo shows, as well as a brief snippet of dialogue from Scott Glenn’s Stick chastising this collection of street-level heroes. We’ve known for years now that the four Netflix heroes – Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist – would be teaming up in a single series from the beginning, but finally seeing the first promotional material for it makes it feel all the more real.

Though the Netflix side had a far bigger showing, Agents of SHIELD delivered a major bit of news by revealing that an iconic hero would be joining the show when it returns: Ghost Rider. Teased for a few months now, the character’s presence was made official with the casting of Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes, the most recent version of the Spirit of Vengeance. Reyes drives a muscle car instead of Johnny Blaze’s iconic motorcycle, but any version of Ghost Rider is sure to bring an exciting new element to the series, which has more or less wrapped up its ongoing Inhuman storyline.

It’s still a bummer that ABC’s promising Marvel presence has shrunk so much, but all of the news out of SDCC this weekend has reminded me that there’s still plenty of great superhero content coming to the small screen from the House of Ideas. Here’s hoping that we’ll get even more amazing showings like this one for many years to come.

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