Claire Temple isn’t the only character who appears in all of Marvel’s Netflix shows. Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory, the co-executive producers of Marvel TV, are quick to note that New York City itself is perhaps the most consistent character in the entire Marvel TV universe.
On Wednesday, Loeb and Chory received the inaugural “Created in New York” award at the National Association of Broadcaster’s show at the same convention center that hosted New York Comic Con just two weeks before. The two recounted what went into bringing Marvel TV to the Big Apple and explained how their crazy idea for five interconnected shows on Netflix has since spread to additional shows on different networks — and other metros.
Despite the Runaways’ upcoming Los Angeles adventures, and Cloak and Dagger’s flight to New Orleans, New York remains the heart of Marvel’s TV offerings. But, Leob and Chory know that the New York viewers see on screen isn’t the same city they spoke to Inverse in when we caught up after the presentation. That’s kind of the point. Inverse asked the pair about that eternal continuity question, what’s next for The Punisher, and why we don’t see Avengers Tower on Netflix. Turns out there’s a reason — but whether or not it sounds too convenient is up to you to decide.
What is the next “Avengers” for Marvel TV? Will we see something like The Defenders again — a model that builds up to some big crossover?
Jeph Loeb: I don’t think we approach things from models. What’s important is storytelling. We’re just as excited about the next three things that are coming out which are Punisher, Runaways, and Season 5 of Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. They all live in their own kind of world and might intersect at some point, but to answer your question directly, they don’t build to a “Defenders model,” so to speak.
They all share the same world, but will the Hulu shows address anything in the Netflix series, even in a minor way?
Loeb: You’re obviously trying to get me into trouble by saying “#ItsAllConnected,” and that’s fair. But it is all connected. And they do live in a world where Tony Stark is Iron Man, and by the same token they are aware that there are heroes that live in New York that aren’t part of the Avengers and are street level guys. What it really comes down to is story.
We can always put in a line that says “this person’s going to Hulk out,” but whether or not those stories are going to intersect with each other or those characters are going to interact with each other is complicated on a numbers of things. One is schedule, the other is they are on different networks and oftentimes networks have feelings about that that we have to take into consideration. And, lastly, and most importantly, is storytelling. We never do Easter eggs for the purpose of having an Easter egg. But Cloak and Dagger deals a lot with the people at Roxxon and people will know Roxxon for it being in other series in the same kind of way that there’s Hammer tech running around in Luke Cage, and we all know where Justin Hammer came from.
It’s all part of the Marvel universe, and if you read Marvel comics, you recognize that it’s probably fairly rare that Thor’s going to run into Ghost Rider, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t live in the same world.
How important is New York City to Marvel TV?
Loeb: Well it’s certainly where it stems from. You know the publishing division, all the way back to Stan Lee, decided that this was the greatest city in the world. They wanted the stories to take place here. It really wasn’t until much later that people decided that they could set stories in Los Angeles, or Chicago, or Louisiana. I think that speaks to the elastic nature of the Marvel Universe that it can be in various places. But the characters that we chose for The Defenders — Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist — those characters predominately, live and work in New York and in many ways, around Hell’s Kitchen. That gave us a really good place to ground the show and then it just became the reality of shooting here, both from a production point of view and a financial point of view.
Jim Chory: I think that New York has got a lot of filming going on, but I think that it’s a big character in the show. When Jeoph said “let’s do it here,” that was what we wanted. We wanted it as a character.
How do you balance that grounded New York City specificity with making a show that’s not only accessible to New Yorkers?
Chory: Hell’s Kitchen doesn’t look like Hell’s Kitchen in the comic books. So, Hells Kitchen has become, some of it in Greenpoint, some of it in East New York, and some of it in Harlem, and some of it in the Bronx. We try to be more true to the comic books than today’s 42nd street, just because it wouldn’t exist in under the same lights.
The show makes it seem like Hell’s Kitchen is an entire borough.
Why don’t we see Avengers Tower more in the Netflix series? Is a budgetary thing?
Loeb: I think it’s much more that we look at it from the point of view of “where are we?” and having to establish that along the way. In many ways, being less specific helps the audience understand that this could be on any street corner. Where we’re sitting right now, I can see the Empire State Building, but if we were sitting 30 blocks that way, I wouldn’t be able to see the Empire State Building. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It just means that we can’t see it from where we are.
Is what happened with The Punisher going to impact The Punisher or Marvel TV going forward in a larger way? The way you depict gun violence?
Loeb: This was a decision that we made specifically because it was a week after a horrible, horrible incident. It hasn’t changed the television series, the show is not predominantly about gun violence, and in fact it shows you the problems that occur in that world. But, to introduce that as close to what had happened. We made a very hard choice with Netflix, and our hearts still go out to the people of Las Vegas and the people around the world who still deal with that senseless violence.