An All-Female Marvel Team Heads to ABC

The series will be scripted and overseen by the writer of Patty Jenkins' 'Wonder Woman.'

A Force
Marvel Comics

The Marvel side of our collective superhero obsession never sleeps. Not two days ago, news got out that Loki and Scarlet Witch would be among the list of “second-tier” Marvel Cinematic Universe characters to star in their own limited series, which are expected to air on Disney’s in-house streaming service. The potential of these shows has gained significant attention, as they aim to retain existing MCU actors like Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen, sport feature-worthy budgets, and be more closely linked to the Marvel Studios arm of operations than its television division.

Now, Deadline has the scoop that Marvel TV actually also has something in the works, this time at the Disney-owned ABC. Allan Heinberg, creator of the popular “Young Avengers” comic book series for Marvel and screenwriter of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, will oversee an untitled hour-long drama about female superheroes.

Heinberg will write the show, although any other details about it all but stop here. Nevertheless, Deadline’s announcement includes speculation that some “lesser-known” characters will be the show’s main focus. The report recommends teams such as A-Force, Lady Liberators, and Fearless Defenders to represent the potential well of characters that Marvel TV could dive into for this project.

The above-mentioned groups have cycled through a broad range of heroines apiece. Moreover, even without much familiarity with A-Force, Lady Liberators, or Fearless Defenders, plenty of the superheroes on their individual rosters have been or will be immortalized on screen in some way, shape or form in the coming years, regardless of this ABC series.

Of those that currently exist within the MCU, Valkyrie and Misty Knight are known team leaders of Fearless Defenders. Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, and the Wasp have been part of Lady Liberators. And as far as the A-Force is concerned, an even wider variety of characters has taken part in that team-up thanks to the “Secret Wars” crossover event in 2015. Overall, its most notable member is arguably Captain Marvel, who is set for her own movie due out in 2019.

A plethora of non-MCU characters is included across these line-ups, too. Lady Liberators has comprised Storm from the X-Men and Invisible Woman from the Fantastic Four. Other X-Men associates like Mirage and Dazzler – who will feature in upcoming movies in the X-Men universe – appear in Fearless Defenders and A-Force, respectively.

Still, for every established onscreen heroine is a fan favorite waiting to be unearthed. She-Hulk plays an integral part in both the A-Force and Lady Liberators, and we’ve not seen her in any live-action capacity thus far. Various attempts to bring her to life in film and TV have occurred in the past. Actress Brigitte Nielsen was even prepared to star in an ill-fated motion picture slated to be made in the early 1990s.  Of course, it is worth noting that “lesser-known” She-Hulk is not. The character maintains a level of popularity in the Marvel Comics canon. All the more reason to warrant her own TV series, though.

Furthermore, an A-Force centric show could be Medusa’s second chance at small-screen glory after the failing of ABC’s own Inhumans, a series that fizzled out after only eight episodes amid abysmal reviews. The A-Force also introduces fascinating characters such as Singularity, who – as her name states – is a sentient quantum singularity capable of flight, teleportation, and psionic senses.

Meanwhile, Amazon-esque warrior woman Thundra and crime fighter Tigra fit in among Lady Liberators. Fearless Defenders may very well bring Clea – a sorceress with ties to Doctor Strange in the comics – as well as monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone to the forefront.

Really, the possibilities for Heinberg’s show are endless and Deadline’s vague report only ensures this. The process of adapting a comic book is extremely fluid anyway. Expecting exact page-to-screen copies of individual characters has long been a fool’s errand. What more of entire team dynamics? They are bound to shift and change in order to fit among the existing timelines and characters that have previously materialized on screen.

We can really only trust in Heinberg’s abilities as a writer to have any kind of concrete faith in this ABC series. Luckily, his resume is decorated with commendable work. I’m actually shocked (and a little sad) that he’s evidently not spearheading a Young Avengers adaptation considering its revered status. There would be no one better for the job than the creator himself.

Heinberg’s celebrated work on Wonder Woman needs no further introduction after that movie took 2017 by storm. The film proves that he can craft an impeccable example of a superhero origin story, complete with high stakes and a whole lot of earnestness. Comparatively, his work in TV is highly laudable with multiple Shondaland credits (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and The Catch), HBO’s comedy-drama Looking, and early TV milestones in Sex and the City and Party of Five.

Disney may be focused on securing audiences for their inaugural streaming service with some pricey and flashy small-screen ventures, but it’s important to remember that Marvel TV has made its own impact over the years. I still mourn Agent Carter, Inhumans really was a mess, and the Bobbi Morse-centric show Most Wanted sadly never made it off the ground, but ABC keeps a strong footing with Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. Netflix still has an ongoing Defenders-related slate to champion. Hulu’s Runaways and Freeform’s Cloak & Dagger demonstrate that turning away from the bombast of the MCU’s movie line-up can be totally worth it.

Couple all this with Heinberg’s credentials, and there are plenty of reasons to be enthusiastic about ABC’s newest series.

Often chugging tea and thinking about horror movies. Curator of daily stuff and things here at Film School Rejects.