Why Netflix's next big superhero TV show has nothing to do with Marvel or DC

Jupiter's Legacy Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix has begun teasing Jupiter's Legacy, its latest superhero show released in the wake of the relatively quick cancellation of the streamer's Marvel shows. This one's a big deal. 

In 2017, Netflix bought Millarworld, the comic book label owned by Mark Millar – an influential comic writer whose work helped shape the MCU and inspire the movie Logan. He's also the co-creator of Kick-Ass and Kingsman, both of which became successful movies, and he's probably the most successful writer of his generation.

On May 7, almost four years after Netflix acquired the publisher, we'll finally see the first adaptation of his work on the streaming service. Jupiter's Legacy (not to be confused with Wachowski movie Jupiter Ascending) is about the children of the now-ageing first generation of superheroes – and their struggles to live up to their reputation. 

Photos from the set featuring star Josh Duhamel have been circulating since July 2019, so this show has been a long time coming. In a year that's likely to be starved of superhero movies again in the wake of the pandemic, too, it could be a potential smash hit – especially as its May 7 release date is sandwiched between The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki on Disney Plus, which gives it the best opportunity to capture people's attention.

Check out the first teaser below:

If you need another reason to tune in, original Daredevil showrunner and Pacific Rim: Uprising director Steven S DeKnight is behind this series. You won't want to miss it. 

Life after Marvel for Netflix

The name of the series isn't particularly evocative, but Jupiter's Legacy could be an important step in Netflix building out its own selection of superhero offerings, alongside existing favorites like The Umbrella Academy – especially as other streamers are trying to do the same. 

As Disney bets big on its Marvel shows, something certain to give it constant attention and dollars in the streaming space over the coming years, others are doing their best to keep up. When Disney ploughed ahead with its own Marvel series, Netflix steadily cancelled its own, like Daredevil, The Punisher and Jessica Jones. These series had fan bases, but were clearly a league behind in production values next to big-budget series like WandaVision, and it's now turning into something of an arms race between the different streamers.

It's why DC Comics series will feature heavily on HBO Max, from animated series Harley Quinn to spin-offs of upcoming movies like The Suicide Squad offshoot Peacemaker, and The Batman prequel Gotham PD. Launching Wonder Woman 1984 on the streaming service told everyone that the service is the home of DC Comics content – it's a unique selling point.

The problem is, since adapting Marvel and DC's own superheroes is off the table now that each of the parent companies are pushing their own series, rival streamers have to look for source material elsewhere.

That's why The Boys season 3 will be followed up with a spin-off series set in a school – an effort by Amazon to build on its successful superhero property, and create a universe out of it.

Will Netflix's own efforts actually keep up with their more recognizable counterparts? Jupiter's Legacy will be another important test for the streamer, to gauge the appetite for more superhero stories featuring relatively unknown characters. If The Umbrella Academy can become a smash hit, though, there's no reason this can't, too. 

While the DC vs Marvel battle has been happening on the big screen for years, in the TV space it's barely getting started – and there are a lot more competitors this time.

Samuel Roberts

Samuel is a PR Manager at game developer Frontier. Formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor, he's an expert in Marvel, Star Wars, Netflix shows and general streaming stuff. Before his stint at TechRadar, he spent six years at PC Gamer. Samuel is also the co-host of the popular Back Page podcast, in which he details the trials and tribulations of being a games magazine editor – and attempts to justify his impulsive eBay games buying binges.