Marvel's Animated Hulu Comedy 'Tigra & Dazzler' on Pause Amid Creative Overhaul (Exclusive)

Showrunner Erica Rivinoja and the entire writing team have been dismissed as the comic book powerhouse plots a new course for one of its four animated shows for the streamer.
Barry King/Getty Images
Erica Rivinoja

Marvel is changing course on one of its four adult-themed animated comedies at Hulu.

Tigra & Dazzler Show showrunner Erica Rivinoja (Girls Trip, The Addams Family) and the comedy's entire writing staff have been let go from the series following creative differences with Marvel. Sources say Rivinoja and her team had completed multiple scripts and outlines for others and were 15 weeks into a planned 20-week production cycle. 

Production on the show has been paused as sources note Marvel plans to hire a new showrunner and have them build their own writing team as part of a larger creative overhaul. All of the work Rivinoja and her staff had completed is being thrown out. Sources say Hulu and Marvel — who both declined comment — remain committed to making Tigra & Dazzler.

Picked up in February as part of Hulu and Marvel's Netflix-like four-show-and-a-special universe, Tigra & Dazzler is earmarked to be the third comedy out of the gate. Production on the first two, M.O.D.O.K. and Hit-Monkey, remains on track, as does the fourth, Howard the Duck. While all four shows will come together in a special — titled The Offenders, in a nod to Marvel's Netflix miniseries mash-up The Defenders — none of them are interconnected; they will not crossover until the one-off, so issues on Tigra & Dazzler will not have an impact on any of the other shows in the works.

The animated lineup and the live-action drama Helstrom will be all that remains of Marvel's programming at Hulu as the live-action drama Runaways wraps its run Dec. 13 after three seasons. (A planned Ghost Rider live-action drama was recently scrapped after being picked up straight to series at Hulu.) Sources note that the creative changes coming to Tigra & Dazzler had little to nothing to do with Marvel's executive restructuring. Longtime TV head Jeph Loeb is poised to formally confirm his departure from the comic book powerhouse, which will consolidate his duties under newly promoted chief creative officer Kevin Feige. The latter exec has overseen the MCU's multibillion-dollar box office dominance and will now oversee the creative direction of the company's content creation, including publishing, film, TV and animation. As part of the consolidation, Loeb's Marvel TV and the animation-focused Marvel Family Entertainment have also moved under Feige's Marvel Studios banner. That officially knocks down the wall that had existed between Marvel's film and TV units.

Tigra & Dazzler — which will feature executive producer Chelsea Handler in one of its leading voice roles — is a story about two woke superheroes and best friends, Tigra and Dazzler, as they fight for recognition among powered people who make up the 8 million stories in L.A. Loeb is attached to exec produce all of Hulu's Marvel animated shows. Outside of Hulu's animated plans, all that remains of Loeb's Marvel slate is the final season of ABC's Agents of SHIELD — the same show that ironically launched the company into the live-action scripted space. All of the MCU TV spinoffs coming to Disney+ are being overseen by Feige and the film division.

As for Hulu, adult-themed animation remains one of the most successful genres for the Disney-owned streamer. Hulu recently extended its deal with WarnerMedia for Rick and Morty and remains the streaming home for the mega-hits Family Guy and The Simpsons and next has Solar Opposites and a revival of Animaniacs both due in 2020.