Remember when we used to argue about Disney snatching up all the best independent directors for Marvel movies? It might be time to brush off those arguments and apply them to television. With Disney+ set to launch later this year—and Disney promising to unleash a flurry of television shows based on its ‘Star Wars’ and Marvel properties—it seems that the new social media power move will be complaining about Disney snatching up all the best showrunners. After all, Disney has created a system that allows filmmakers to play to their strengths; with Disney+, a lot of this infrastructure is nonexistent.
Take “Hawkeye.” The latest news from The Mouse is that Disney+ has tapped Jonathan Igla to both write, and executive produce the ‘Avengers‘ spinoff series. Igla is best known as a writer and story editor on AMC’s “Mad Men“—which is, according to my notes, a “pretty good television show”—and as a producer of the short-lived Fox series “Pitch.” “Pitch” may actually be the more interesting reference point; while “Mad Men” comes with an unparalleled degree of cultural cache, Igla’s baseball drama explored how a talented young woman navigated a world created and maintained by men. Since “Hawkeye” is rumored to focus on Jeremy Renner‘s Clint Barton passing the mantle to an as-of-yet unnamed Kate Bishop, the series may end up playing with a lot of the same themes as “Pitch.”
That being said, it’s also worth noting that Disney chose to go with a male showrunner for (what seems to be) a show focused around a female superhero, especially if they are foregoing a writers’ room in favor of a single series author. In fact, at least one high-profile showrunner—Amy Berg of “The 4400“ and “Eureka“ fame—shared that she Disney specifically passed on her vision for the characters. If Marvel as a business entity has an Achilles heel—a place where criticisms both land and stick—it’s in the lack of female creatives on the backend of their properties. Sometime to keep an eye on going forward.