Netflix Calls on Marvel Superheroes for Next Big Programming Push

Deal with Disney brings four original series, starting in 2015.

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Robert Downey Jr. rings opening bell at New York Stock Exchange to promote his new movie 'Iron Man 3,'
Brendan McDermid / Reuters

Actor Robert Downey Jr. (C) and Marvel Comics representatives ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange to promote his new movie 'Iron Man 3,' April 30, 2013.

After the success of original series such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, Netflix is playing the superhero card.

Starting in 2015, Netflix will stream four new original shows based on Marvel heroes, culminating in a miniseries that brings all the characters together. Netflix and Marvel parent company Disney are calling it “an unprecedented deal.”

The first series will focus on Daredevil, followed by additional series for Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. Each series will have at least 13 episodes, plus a mini-series dubbed “The Defenders” at the end. The two companies haven’t said who will star or direct.

Netflix and Disney were already on good terms, having negotiated a deal that will bring Disney films to exclusively Netflix in the premium TV window–a timeframe usually set aside for HBO and other movie channels–in 2016.

The Netflix deal isn’t Marvel’s only television venture, with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. now airing on ABC. Still, the deal is a big show of faith in what Netflix is doing. Instead of releasing new episodes on a weekly schedule, Netflix puts out entire seasons at once, while making them available in all of its international markets without delay. And of course, Netflix streaming is available without a cable or satellite TV subscription. The company’s approach to television seems to be paying off, as the service now has more subscribers than HBO. (Disclosure: HBO and TIME Inc. are both subsidiaries of Time Warner.)