Netflix is getting involved in the shared superhero universe game. Unfortunately, it looks like they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for this one.
According to Deadline, Netflix has reached an agreement to purchase the film rights to Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Universe brand of superhero comic books. In a reported seven-figure deal (six figures too much, I reckon), Netflix will get the rights to the heroes, and will work with producer Akiva Goldsman to conceive of a series of films to be based on Liefeld’s work, which includes such “household” names as Brigade, Bloodstrike, Bloodpool, and Bloodwulf. Yep, those are actual things.
There are a couple of red flags that should be apparent to film fans, and even comic book fans. First, while Rob Liefeld created Deadpool, and was all over various media outlets taking credit for the popularity of the character, it should be noted that his version of Deadpool isn’t what was seen on screen. In fact, if you look at his Extreme Universe, you get the idea of exactly the type of stories Liefeld told, which were filled with exaggerated female anatomy, massive guns, ridiculous shoulder pads, and heroes that…ummmm, very much resembled other popular superheroes.
Red flag number two is Akiva Goldsman. According to the report, Goldsman will head up a writers room that will help flesh out the new superhero universe, and come up with stories for some of these characters. If this sounds familiar, it should. Goldsman was previously hired to head up a writers room for the “Transformers” franchise, and if rumors are to be believed, his work is being completely trashed in favor of a potential reboot.
“Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Universe features gritty stories and distinctive characters,” said Netflix’s Scott Stuber. “Akiva’s creative voice has been behind some of the largest movie franchises, making him uniquely capable of helping bring these superheroes from the Extreme Universe to life for Netflix.”
Liefield was equally as excited, and raved about Goldsman, saying, “Netflix has become a part of everyday existence for me and my children. Their programming is the most dynamic and diverse I have seen. I am beyond thrilled and inspired to be bringing my Extreme catalogue to life with the creative wizards at Netflix. What Akiva Goldsman has achieved with his craft and storytelling across all mediums in our industry is of absolute benefit for my Extreme characters. He is an absolute comic book fanatic and working with him on adapting Extreme Universe has been electric.”
Hopefully, Netflix does what Fox was able to do with Deadpool, get rid of the Liefeld-ness of the character and create something truly entertaining. If they can do that, then perhaps they’ll have a few hits on their hands. Otherwise, it looks like the quality of Netflix’s feature film division really is as bad as it seems.