Anyone who watched The Defenders or Inhumans could have told you this was coming, but Jeph Loeb is finally vacating his position as head of Marvel Television. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter, who says Loeb has been "working on a transition plan to exit the company and is expected to formally announce his departure by Thanksgiving." This comes in the wake of the news that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has been promoted to lead Marvel Entertainment's film, TV, animation, and print divisions as chief creative officer. THR notes that Loeb has been planning to step down since before Feige's promotion, so this sudden changing of the guards is really the conclusion to a long-incoming culture shift within the company.
It's the dawn of a new age over at Marvel Television. Over the past year or so, several of the Marvel shows across network, web, and cable TV have been cancelled, and the few that remain are either ending soon (such as Agents of SHIELD), or they star characters who will likely not become prominent in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Unless you can picture, say, Daimon Hellstrom headlining Avengers 5: Secret Wars.) There are plenty of obvious reasons for this.
The first, and it's a big one: now that Disney is in full control of Fox's Marvel properties, they want to consolidate the Marvel film and TV brands under one roof. What's surprisingly unknown to many people (including many fans of the MCU) is that the Marvel shows on Netflix, ABC, Hulu, and Freeform had no input from Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios, even though they're all technically part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (for marketing reasons). For years, things have been set up so that a production can have the Marvel logo in front of it even if Disney and Marvel Studios had nothing to do with it, and Disney wants that state of affairs to end. They desperately want the Marvel logo to mean "Marvel Studios (We're The People Who Made Avengers)" whenever people see it.
The second is Disney+. To build up their new streaming service into the behemoth they need it to be, Disney is no longer in a position to share their properties and characters with their competition. That was the culture of Marvel Television when Jeph Loeb was running things (and say what you want about his writing sensibilities, but the man was very good at getting Marvel on every channel), but that strategy just isn't going to work anymore.
Marvel Studios is the future of Marvel TV, and that will mean a deeper relationship with the Marvel Cinematic Universe theatrical films, as well as a bigger buy-in for Disney+. It's been said before, but I love saying it again: we're finally going to see Marvel superheroes be full-time superheroes on the small screen. No more cutesie nicknames, no more nondescript clothing in place of actual costumes. It remains to be seen what that actual budget will be for the Disney+ Marvel series, but I'm sure they'll look way more in step with the movies, i.e. no more dimly lit corridor fights to save money.
I guess the one downside to Loeb's departure is the chance that Marvel programming will no longer cater to adults, the way the Netflix shows and FX's Legion did. But I wouldn't be certain of that. Disney gave the greenlight for Hellstrom to premiere on Hulu next year, which will probably become the venue for most of their edgier shows now that they own it. I doubt we'll see characters like Daredevil and Luke Cage lay pipe and swear profusely ever again, but those are the casualties of media conglomeration.
Farewell, Jeph Loeb. You gave us... shows... that some people liked. Thanks, I guess. Can't wait to see what your successor has in store for us, though.