As Marvel’s Netflix relationship sours, the comic book powerhouse is entering a new pact for a slate of four animated series with Hulu.
The streamer — soon to be majority controlled by Marvel parent Disney as part of the Fox asset sale — has greenlit four animated series (and a special) as part of a new partnership with the comic giant.
Adult animated series based on popular Marvel Television characters MODOK, Hit-Monkey, Tigra & Dazzler and Howard the Duck have been ordered to series. Similar to Netflix’s original four-series deal, all of the Hulu animated shows will culminate in a special — called The Offenders. (Netflix’s Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Iron Fist and Luke Cage culminated with miniseries mash-up The Defenders.) All four of the Hulu series — and special — will be exec produced by Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb. They will expand Marvel’s slate at Hulu, which already includes drama series The Runaways, which is awaiting word on its third season after its sophomore run dropped all its episodes on Dec. 21.
The Hulu deal arrives as Marvel’s relationship with Netflix has soured over the past few months with the surprising cancellations of Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. The Defenders was considered a one-off mini, Daredevil spinoff The Punisher is awaiting word on a potential third season and the next cycle of Jessica Jones is a few months away.
Marvel will also be a major provider to Disney’s forthcoming Netflix competitor, Disney+, with feature film TV series spinoffs centering on Loki, Winter Soldier/Falcon as well as Vision and Secret Witch — all of them expected to feature the MCU stars. The animation push arrives nearly a year after Marvel pulled the plug on its planned Deadpool animated series that was in the works at FX with Donald Glover attached. “[Glover’s] Deadpool animated series didn’t work out because Marvel didn’t want to make it. I mean, that really is what it comes down to. It didn’t fit what they wanted to do with Deadpool, and it’s their brand. It’s their decision,” FX CEO John Landgraf told reporters at TCA on Feb. 4.)
For Hulu, the four Marvel series arrive as animation has become a powerhouse for the streamer. Series including Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty, Comedy Central’s South Park, Fox’s Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers are all among the streamer’s most-watched acquired programming. Based on their performance, Hulu has continued to invest in the animated space with Solar Opposites, an original series from Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland.
Descriptions of all four of Hulu’s animated Marvel series — and the special — follow:
• M.O.D.O.K. centers around an egomaniacal supervillain with a really big head and a really little body, who struggles to maintain control of his evil organization and his demanding family. Writers Jordan Blum and Patton Oswalt will also executive produce.
• Hit-Monkey tells the tale of a wronged Japanese snow monkey, mentored by the ghost of an American assassin, as he cuts a wide swath through the Tokyo underworld in this darkly cinematic and brutally funny revenge saga. Writers Josh Gordon and Will Speck will executive produce.
• Tigra & Dazzler Show 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 eight million stories in Los Angeles. Writers Erica Rivinoja and Chelsea Handler serve as executive producers.
• Howard the Duck is trapped in a world he never made, but America’s favorite fighting fowl hopes to return home with the help of his unstoppable gal pal Beverly before the evil Dr. Bong can turn him the crispiest dish on the menu. Writers Kevin Smith and Dave Willis will also executive produce.
• The Offenders follows MODOK, Dazzler, Tigra, Hit Monkey and Howard the Duck as they are all forced to team up in order to save the world and certain parts of the universe.
Marvel’s TV slate also includes ABC’s Agents of SHIELD, the third and final season of FX’s Legion, Fox’s The Gifted and Freeform’s Cloak & Dagger. The company is repped by CAA.