In the wake of The Avengers‘ 1.5 billion dollar success it was inevitable that Disney/Marvel would be creating a sequel. They also decided to broaden both the universe and the franchise by green-lighting a TV series based on the organization in the comics, titularly named S.H.I.E.L.D.
It marks Joss Whedon’s return to television, as he will be both directing and producing the pilot. Acting as directors and producers, however, are his brother Jed Whedon and his sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen. The three formerly worked together on the online cult classic Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which actually leads me to the point of this post.
The DVD and Blu-Ray versions of Dr. Horrible a commentary track titled Commentary! The Musical, which consists of entirely new songs performed by the cast and crew. Track 10 was written and performed by Tancharoen, and I’ve embedded it here:
While obviously very tongue-in-cheek, as an Asian-American in the entertainment industry she’s more than a little aware of the imbalance in roles for racial minorities. Having her and Jed Whedon take off as showrunners if the pilot is a hit, this is a huge opportunity for a show other than Hawaii Five-0 to feature a good number of Asians in their main cast.
The perfect opportunity for this takes the form of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent James “Jimmy” Woo. Originally starting out with the FBI, he created and led the first ever super-hero team to exist with a government mandate. Although he later left to join the Agents of Atlas, Woo was a high-ranking member of S.H.I.E.L.D. and definitely a possible addition to the upcoming series.
In general, it’s exciting to have the comics come to the small screen as a live-action show. Cartoons like The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the classic Batman: The Animated Series have proven very popular, but were directed at a younger audience. In recent years The Walking Dead is the only program based on comics that has received any amount of positive attention.
Disney/Marvel have a chance, as they often do, to bring diversity through a form of media, this time television. With Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen at the helm, here’s hoping that we might even see our first ABC series headlining an Asian actor that is also a spinoff of a major motion picture based on a comic book.