Despite having a feature film strategy that set up the highest-grossing movie of all time, Marvel has yet to truly figure out what it's doing on the small screen, with its fractured TV universe hampered by rights issues and studio implosions. Things appear to be moving in the right direction on Disney+, where connective MCU storytelling can thrive, but Marvel's impending projects on Hulu just got more bad news for Kevin Smith's Howard the Duck animated series and more.
It appears as if Hulu is cutting back on its future relationship with Marvel, having scrapped Kevin Smith's Howard the Duck project, along with the in-flux Tigra & Dazzler. The recent pullback on those productions follows the shuttering of Jeph Loeb's Marvel TV studio, at which point all remaining projects were shifted to Marvel Studios proper, with big boss Kevin Feige overseeing development. According to Deadline, the choice to pull the plug on Howard the Duck and Tigra & Dazzler came quite recently as Feige and his team reconsidered everything all programming outside the MCU umbrella.
Hulu does still have three other Marvel projects in the running: the animated series Hit Monkey and M.O.D.O.K., and the live-action drama Helstrom. That said, fans may certainly start to feel more worried about their chances of making it to the air, especially since Howard the Duck had the biggest name recognition in the bunch, thanks to his MCU cameo.
As well, it doesn't seem very likely that Hulu will continue moving forward with its animated crossover series The Offenders, which was thought to be a loose parody of Netflix's Defenders team-up series. It's certainly possible that Howard, Tigra and Dazzler could make their debuts in the Offenders series if it gets completed, but that's not the most likely option.
Prior to this latest bad news, Hulu had already cancelled Runaways and parted ways with Marvel creatively on a new live-action Ghost Rider series, where Gabriel Luna was set to once again play Robbie Reyes' Ghost Rider, though in a storyline that was completely separated from the character's stint on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The reason for that project's dismissal was "creative differences," though it wasn't clear who had the bigger issues. The show, along with Helstrom, was meant to introduce Marvel's live-action Adventures into Fear branding, which itself is seemingly in limbo.
For what it's worth, production has already started on both Helstrom and M.O.D.O.K., with the latter having recently rounded out its casting with such stars as Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Melissa Fumero and Lucifer's Aimee Garcia. Helstrom, meanwhile, announced its cast whenever production started in October 2019, with The Royals vet Tom Austen taking the lead role of Damion Helstrom.
Based on the comic character, whose 1986 live-action film was executive produced by George Lucas, Howard the Duck was set to be crafted by filmmaker Kevin Smith and Aqua Teen Hunger Force creator Dave Willis. One would have expected Howard to be as ribald as possible, considering Smith's reign in Hollywood (and the underrated Clerks: The Animated Series) and Willis' long run on Adult Swim. Hopefully something will still come of that collaboration in some form.
Elsewhere, Tigra & Dazzler had already undergone some setbacks between the initial announcement and the cancellation. The project's original showrunner Erica Rivinoja and her entire writing staff were reportedly let go by Marvel and Hulu after completing 75% of the show's development cycle, though executive producer Chelsea Handler remained on board until the show's axing. Dazzler made her live-action debut in 2019, with Halston Sage portraying her for a brief scene in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, though that appearance probably has little to do with the TV show's fate.
Are you guys bummed to see Hulu continuing to chop up its remaining Marvel slate, or is this all just a prologue for when Disney+ starts dropping its MCU shows such as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, and Loki? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned for more developments as they're announced.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.