Multiple reports indicate Marvel has dumped Kevin Smith’s previously announced Howard the Duck and Chelsea Handler’s Tigra and Dazzler animated shows that were expected to be showcased on Hulu.
The Hollywood Reporter specifically notes that the decision to scrap the two shows was made by Marvel and not Hulu. While they scratched Howard the Duck and Tigra & Dazzler, the other two shows announced as part of their Offender series, M.O.D.O.K. and Hit Monkey are expected to continue. It’s unclear if the announced Offenders crossover will happen. Although early speculation indicates it’s unlikely to move forward.
Kevin Smith confirmed his Howard the Duck the show had been axed writing on Twitter, “Alas, Howard remains trapped in a world he never made.”
He added, “Thanks to Jeph Loeb, Dave Willis, and the Best Duckin’ Writer’s Room for all the effort. May we all at Marvel meet again one day on something else!”
Alas, Howard remains trapped in a world he never made. Thanks to #JephLoeb, @DaveWillis2 and the Best Duckin’ Writer’s Room for all the effort. May we all @Marvel meet again one day on something else! https://t.co/e05ad0zn1M
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) January 25, 2020
The decision to scrap these two shows comes shortly after it was announced that Kevin Feige would be taking control of everything Marvel including Marvel TV as well as Marvel Comics. These properties were initially green lit under Jeph Loeb’s management at Marvel TV. This could be an indicator of Marvel cleaning house.
A Troubled Production
As with many creative efforts running into problems recently (Doctor Strange, Obi-Wan, Ghost Rider), this is no different. The reported issues started in December when production was halted as Marvel wanted a creative overhaul for the Tigra & Dazzler show.
The entire writing staff was let go after completing a number of scripts and some outlines. It was only 15 weeks into the 20 week production cycle, and a new showrunner was being sought out after Erica Rivinoja’s departure due to creative differences. Subsequently, all work under the previous crew, including Rivinoja’s writing influence, was scrapped.
Chelsea Handler, Erica Rivinoja, and Jeph Loeb were listed as executive producers for the cancelled show. It was originally described as a “politically progressive” and would see Tigra and Dazzler “try to get their superpowered heads, hands, and hearts around life in the City of Angels.”
There have not been any reported issues with the Howard the Duck production.
In terms of streaming television properties, this leaves only M.O.D.O.K, Helstrom, and Hit Monkey for Hulu. All other shows on Marvel’s slate will be premiering on Disney Plus for their upcoming Phase 4 slate of properties. This includes The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, She-Hulk, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, What If…? And Hawkeye. The first entry of that list will debut this fall.
The Mutant Conversation
Handler and Rivinoja said of the Tigra & Dazzler show back in February last year:
“We are so excited to be the token lady show in this lineup! And we’re so thrilled to finally bring the world the cat lady and roller skating pop star show that they’ve been begging for.”
Fans of the X-Men have been clamoring for a live-action Dazzler. She briefly shows up in Dark Phoenix, but her appearance isn’t substantive nor does it aid the plot of the film. Her appearance in a solo or team-up show would be confusing, because X-Men fans want to see her as part of the X-Men. And I believe Marvel Studios is thinking along these same lines. So, scrapping the show might serve that narrative for future stories better.
Also, Howard the Duck has already made multiple appearances in the MCU. So giving audiences an animated version of the character in a solo series might confuse the continuity going forward. It’s also possible they have larger plans for him in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 or even Thor: Love and Thunder.
Although they might not actually be concerned with any of those arguments, seeing as they are releasing New Mutants soon, and the continuity with those characters is with another franchise. Then there’s Deadpool. Another studio had already established his character.
Only time will tell what may come from these Hulu/Marvel shows.
But what do you think happened with them? Is it Marvel Studios cleaning house or is it just a failed production process leading to a cancelled show? Let us know in the comments below or let’s talk about it on social media!