Sony’s long-in-the-works “suite” of TV series based on Marvel characters controlled by the studio is getting closer to reality.
I hear Sony is in talks with Amazon to be the SVOD distributor of the high-profile package of shows, which includes multiple titles. The first, which was identified by Sony Pictures TV about a year ago and had been in development at the studio, is Silk. Lauren Moon, a writer on Sony TV’s Netflix series Atypical, wrote the TV adaptation based on the Korean-American comic book superhero, created by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos. Silk would mark one of the first comic book series led by an Asian-American character.
Sources close to the situation cautioned that the complex talks are still in early stages and there are major issues that need to be resolved. Some of them have to do with a complicated web of multi-platform rights for the various characters. No one would comment, but I hear the proposed suite of Marvel series is expected to land on a linear platform first before heading to Amazon for streaming.
In April 2019, Sony TV signed a mega deal with the Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse’s Phil Lord and Chris Miller, which included the duo overseeing the suite of TV series based on Sony’s Universe of Marvel characters. Lord and Miller executive produce the series with Spider-Man franchise producer Amy Pascal.
The suite approach is similar to the unprecedented-at-the-time sale of four Marvel series and a limited series by Marvel TV to Netflix, which was led by Daredevil.
The series package based on Marvel characters has been a big priority for Sony, whose toppers have spoken about it on earnings calls. As part a deal that predates Disney’s acquisition of Marvel, Sony controls hundreds of Marvel characters, led by Spider-Man.
Silk (aka Cindy Moon) first appeared as a faceless cameo in Marvel Comics’ The Amazing Spider-Man #1 in April 2014. She was part of the new Agents of Atlas team, which debuted in a War of the Realms tie-in and later got their own five-issue limited series. A new Silk ongoing series by writer Maruene Goo and artist Takeshi Miyazawa was set to be published in July 2020 but is on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The character has been portrayed by Tiffany Espensen in the films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
There have been many Asian comic book characters in TV series and in film. Often times they are seen as a supporting character or part of a larger ensemble. This dates all the way back to Bruce Lee in the 1960s Green Hornet series.
However, more and more Asian and Asian-American characters are getting time in the spotlight of huge comic book properties on film and TV. This is most evident in Marvel’s forthcoming movie Shang-Chi, with Simu Liu playing the titular hero. This marks the first Asian-led comic book feature from Marvel. Aside from that, we have seen Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain in Birds of Prey and Ming-Na Wen and Chloe Bennet were part of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ensemble. We also have seen Chantal Thuy’s Grace Choi become a fan favorite on Black Lightning, while DC’s Legends of Tomorrow introduced Ryan Choi (aka Atom) played by Supernatural alum Osric Chau. The two characters are half-siblings in the comic books, and fans are dying for them to meet in the Arrowverse. On top of that, Disney+ is developing Ms. Marvel, which features the first Muslim, Pakistani superhero.
Dino-Ray Ramos contributed to this report.