'Ghost Rider,' 'Helstrom' Marvel Live-Action Dramas a Go at Hulu

Ghost Rider_Daimon Hellstrom_Split - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Marvel

Marvel, apparently, doesn't really need Netflix.

The comic book powerhouse, fresh off a wave of high-profile cancellations at Netflix, has nabbed a pair of straight-to-series orders at Hulu — Ghost Rider and Helstrom, based on the comic book characters of the same name. Both series will debut on Hulu in 2020. They join fellow live-action drama Runaways and a slate of four animated comedies (and a special) at Hulu. The news comes as Hulu is now majority controlled by Marvel Television parent company Disney.

Ghost Rider revolves around anti-hero Robbie Reyes, who, consumed by hellfire and supernaturally bound to a demon. Reyes lives on the Texas/Mexico border and when he unleashes the Rider, Robbie brings vengeance for the innocents he encounters, but struggles to control the power he wields. Ghost Rider will be executive produced by Ingrid Escajeda (Justified), who will serve as showrunner, Paul Zbyszewski (Agents of SHIELD, Lost) and Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb.

Helstrom, meanwhile, revolves around Daimon and Ana Helstrom, the son and daughter of a mysterious and powerful serial killer. The siblings have a complicated dynamic as they track down the terrorizing worst of humanity — each with their attitude and skills. Helstrom is executive produced by Zbyszewski, who will serve as showrunner, and Loeb. Both shows will exist in the same universe as Hulu builds its second interconnected Marvel universe as the two live-action dramas and animated slate are akin to the five-show universe Marvel previously had at Netflix.

The news comes after ABC's Marvel drama, Agents of SHIELD, featured the character of Ghost Rider/Robbie Reyes with Gabriel Luna previously portraying the character in season four. Luna will reprise his role in the Hulu drama. (Nicolas Cage also portrayed the Johnny Blaze iteration of the character in the 2007 feature Ghost Rider and its 2012 sequel.)

Both series will be produced by Marvel Television and ABC Signature Studios.

All told, Hulu's Marvel slate now consists of season three of Runaways, Ghost Rider, Helstrom and animated comedies MODOK, Hit-Monkey, Tigra & Dazzler Show, Howard the Duck and team-up special The Offenders. (The latter title should be considered a dig at Netflix, whose live-action miniseries team-up was called The Defenders.)

The Hulu live-action Marvel slate comes on the heels of Netflix's decision to sever all ties with the comic book giant earlier this year when the streamer canceled The Punisher and announced that the upcoming third season of Jessica Jones would be its last. Those joined Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil and mashup mini The Defenders in the canceled heap. The decision was brought on after Netflix and Marvel's relationship soured. (Read our deep-dive analysis into what happened here.)

With the Marvel orders, all of the company's scripted offerings now live on Disney-owned networks after Fox canceled The Gifted a few weeks ago. Marvel's slate also includes Freeform's Cloak and Dagger, the upcoming third and final season of Legion on now Disney-owned FX as well as three live-action series for Disney's upcoming streaming platform, Disney+: Loki, starring Tom Hiddleston; WandaVision, with Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen; The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan; and animated series What If. The Disney+ series are all being overseen by Marvel's film division.

The Marvel series pickups were announced Wednesday during Hulu's upfront presentation in New York, where the streamer also announced renewals for comedies PEN15 and Ramy, and a series order for a Nicole Kidman drama from the author of Big Little Lies, among other news that included its impressive growth.