The battle for streaming dominance is one that's just getting started, and Disney may have fired a shot across the bow last night from the USS Avengers.
According to Variety, Marvel is "actively developing" (such aggressive language) a Limited Series starring Captain America sidekicks Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (a/k/a The Winter Solider, a/k/a Sebastian Stan) to help christen Disney’s still-as-of-yet unnamed streaming service. This news lands hot on the heels of rumors that both Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch might also get their own short-lived spin-offs (as each run is reportedly expected to run six to eight episodes).
To sweeten the deal, Marvel has enlisted Empire writer Malcolm Spellman to pen the show. As you may recall, HBO had recruited Spellman to bring their "alternative history" epic Confederate to life alongside Game of Thrones masterminds D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, but that all ended in screaming and tears. Probably not coincidentally, Weiss and Benioff have also signed on to shepherd an installment into a different Disney universe via their own Star Wars story.
Slashfilm has been sniffing out this news for a hot minute, and notes in their own coverage that Stan and Mackie have been talking about teaming up for a side adventure for a while now, hinting that the tone could resemble Midnight Run and other buddy comedies. Slash even goes on to note how Paul Bettany's Vision could play a significant role in Scarlet Witch’s show. So, basically, we're not going to be seeing the last of quite a few of these characters (not to mention the performers who slip on their respective tights) for a little bit. Sorry, Chris Evans.
In the grand scheme of the entertainment world, Disney’s streaming service (and the announcement of such high profile projects) is a rather brazen gauntlet being thrown toward the current champs: Netflix, Amazon and (to a lesser extent) Hulu (though following the Disney/Fox merger, that last one may end up being part of that family, as well). When combined with the recent cancellations of both Luke Cage and Iron Fist, it's pretty clear Disney is rounding up all their action figures to play with as one set.
Beyond these developing Marvel shows, Disney also has The Mandalorian (a Star Wars series written by Jon Favreau and sporting directors such as Taika Waititi), one last season of the animated Clone Wars, a show based on Nick Hornby's book (and Stephen Frears' film) High Fidelity, and a live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp with the voice talents of Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux. That's a pretty wild lineup coming straight out of the gate.
While we patiently wait and watch these projects come together, there's also Avengers: Infinty War Part II (or whatever the fuck) coming next year. It's Avengers overload! Stay tuned...