John Ridley Talks About Why He's Doing A Marvel TV Project


John Ridley, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave and creator of ABC’s hit drama American Crime, has been working on a new Marvel Television series for ABC that’s been shrouded in secrecy.

While it’s still too early to reveal specifics, Ridley (who also worked as a writer on the Static Shock and Justice League animated series) did explain to Collider how his desire to reach a different audience brought him to Marvel’s table:

I grew up reading graphic novels, which back then were comic books. I’ve written some. I have kids who, with as much social impact that American Crimeor 12 Year A Slave has, they could not care less. They’re just at that age. Back in the day, when I was growing up with things like Star Wars and Superman, they were quality work. We’ve seen really good things that are based on these fantastic universes. And I can’t talk much, at all, about it, but when Marvel and ABC approached me about the project, it felt like a good fit. Look at Jessica Jones and what they’re doing. It’s quality stuff. So, I hope and believe that, if we have the opportunity to do it, it will be done with quality. Because it is something that people maybe go, “Why would John do that?,” I love American Crime and I love what it’s about, but it’s a hard show. It’s not just about, did we get it right? Are people going to like this? This year, we had a lot of technical advisors. The interview in Episode 2, with Taylor talking to the sexual assault nurse, is a real sexual assault nurse, really walking him through what a real examination would be like. In Episode 4, the young man doing the spoken word piece is a real survivor of assault. There is a real blend this year between the narrative and the reality, and there were days when you’d feel good about what you did, in terms of television, and that maybe you’re giving a voice and perspective, but it’s very, very tough. So, the days where you can go off and do something that’s going to be tough to execute but that’s fun are great. The other pilot that I’m doing for ABC, Presence, is fun. Like everybody, I’ve got a lot of moods and I want to service them. And I want to service other audiences. American Crime is not for everybody. I acknowledge that, and that’s okay. I’d like to find something else that maybe is not quite for an American Crime audience, but is for some other folks who want to have other experiences when they’re digesting entertainment.

While we don’t know what Ridley is working on, we do know that Marvel TV will return to ABC with the Season 2 premier of Agent Carter on Jan. 19.

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