Reports arrived yesterday that Disney has plans to produce mini-series about characters from Marvel’s Avengers featuring the original stars for its streaming service, Disney Play. The subscription service will boast new live-action Marvel projects that are expected to include a Loki and Scarlet Witch series, starring film actors Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen. But those are only for starters. According to the initial report, which has yet to be confirmed by Marvel or Disney, there are other shows in the works, featuring other Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes, portrayed by their original actors.
These are mini-series, not full series. Don’t expect 13-episode, multi-season orders like most of Marvel’s Netflix dramas, or even ten episodes like Runaways on Hulu. These Disney Play series are miniseries, in the neighborhood of six or eight episodes. That would fall in line with Hiddleston’s British TV work like Wallander and The Night Manager; Olsen, for her part, now stars in Sorry for Your Loss, a web drama comprised of 10 half-hour episodes.
While shows ranging from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daredevil to The Gifted and Legion are produced, or rather co-produced, by Marvel Television, these miniseries will get overseen by Marvel Studios. That makes sense, considering the inclusion of actors like Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen in their film roles likely means the shows will end up more tightly integrated into cinematic continuity than the other Marvel series.
Disney is expected to lay out sizable budgets for these miniseries. No actual figures have surfaced, but sources contend the costs are expected to rival those of major studio productions. For comparison, director Jon Favreau’s live-action Star Wars series, also destined for Disney Play, has an estimated production budget of $100 million. That’s Game of Thrones-sized. Other streaming service projects are thought to carry costs in the range of $20 million to $60 million.
Disney’s streaming service, Disney Play, is targeted to launch in 2019.