Just like that, Marvel Television is without another program in it's stable. Wednesday afternoon, news surfaced reporting Hulu and Marvel Television wouldn't be moving forward with the Gabriel Luna-led Ghost Rider series. While Deadline's report suggests the streamer and studio weren't able to get on the same page creatively, the conspiracy theorist in me (and many others who can't go one moment without tweeting some scorching-hot take) instantly busted out the tin foil hats.
You see, it's been but a matter of hours since those involved in the superhero scoop game have suggested Kevin Feige and the team at Marvel Studios were interested in using Ghost Rider in the films. That's too much of a coincidence, right? Again, maybe it's just my little conspiracy-filled heart beating a million miles an hour, but while it may be easy to chalk things up to "creative differences" in public-facing statements, there has got to be more at play behind the scenes than any of us care to imagine.
Say those scoopers were accurate in their reporting, there's little to no chance a Ghost Rider series from Marvel Television and Ghost Rider franchise or Disney+ from Marvel Studios would be allowed to fly at the same time — it's a matter of simple brand confusion from the biggest brand in the world. Then again, maybe Marvel's Ghost Rider was actually canned due to creative differences. That still doesn't explain the other numerous times Jeph Loeb and his team have gotten the short end of the stick.
Let's start with one of the most recent instances of the two warring Marvel factions and the introduction of Disney+. Now that Marvel Studios has its very own streaming platform, the Feige-led outfit has virtually no need to work with Loeb and his television colleagues, Feige himself has even said something confirming that situation, admitting on a podcast last December the direct-to-consumer service would allow the studio more opportunities to tell the stories they've wanted to tell in a more serialized format.
Sure, Loeb or Marvel Television wasn't namedropped once in the conversation, but it's too easy for one to read between the lines. Since the inception of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there's been a Disney-owned studio dedicated solely to developing Marvel-based properties for television, yet Marvel Studios would rather develop the properties itself than trusting another studio to do so.
Loeb's continually said Marvel Television will be having programming on Disney+ at one point or another, yet announcements on that front have been virtually non-existent. Again, it comes back to brand confusion — does Disney really want original Marvel properties on the service if it's made by two different studios?
Then comes the fiasco with the DefendersVerse shows on Netflix, a series of six shows that were critically-acclaimed, with one exception when it comes to one protector of K'un-Lun. Again, in any public-facing statements, the blame was placed solely on Netflix yet when it comes to insider reports, it's suggested Disney hiked up the licensing fees enough so the streaming giant was forced to back out of any new deal in hopes of getting the live-action rights "back home," for lack of a better word.
Over the course of the summer, Marvel Studios has announced a whole slew of properties that many thought would be better suited for Marvel Television. First, it was the announcement Mahershala Ali would be starring in a Blade film franchise, then it was the announcement Moon Knight would be heading to Disney+ in a limited series. In the blink of an eye, Marvel Studios snatched up a pair of characters many people — myself included — thought would have been a better fit on a "darker" network like Hulu or FX. Now those characters are both officially at Marvel Studios, it's all but guaranteed Marvel Television won't get its hands on either one for quite some time, if ever.
Marvel Studios has an "embarrassment of riches" now that it's boasting a massive theatrical schedule and its own proprietary streaming platform to release content on. At some point, the well of consumable content for Marvel Television is going to dry up. At what point does the Marvel Cinematic Universe deviate from it's "all connected" motto and switch over to something similar to what Warner Brothers has done with the DCEU and Arrowverse? Will that ever be a plausible scenario with this or will Marvel Television actually be forced to cobble together shows featuring Glyph, Stilt-Man, and Forbush Man?
One way or another, we've been shown time and time again Marvel Television has its hands tied when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe — when's enough going to be enough?
Were you looking forward to seeing Ghost Rider on Hulu? What are other characters do you think would be better suited for a television program over film? Share your thoughts in the comments below or by tweeting me at @AdamBarnhardt!