Marvel is cleaning house.
As the transition from the Jeph Loeb-led era of Marvel Television comes to its end and Kevin Feige begins to have greater creative control over film and television projects, the comic book company has opted to end development of two of its four animated Hulu comedies. No longer moving forward are Howard the Duck and Tigra & Dazzler, the latter of which was paused in December as part of a creative overhaul. The other two shows in Marvel’s original four-show animated comedy universe set up at Hulu — MODOK and Hit Monkey — will continue on as planned.
Animated crossover The Offenders is also unlikely to move forward given that half the combined universe has been scrapped. Still, the character of Howard the Duck has had several cameos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it’s likely he will appear in future projects. Sources say that the decision to scrap two of the four shows was ultimately made by Marvel, not Hulu. Both Disney-owned companies declined comment.
The decision to scrap both series arrives a week after Hulu senior vp scripted originals Craig Erwich was asked during his appearance at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour about the future of Marvel at the streamer. “I have seen quite a few episodes of MODOK, which I’m really excited about,” he said of the comedy, whose voice cast was announced earlier this week. “Helstrom, we’re currently in production on. I’ve seen the first four episodes of that as well and I’m really excited about it. It is a definitely a different corner of the Marvel universe in terms of its horror. It’s a really unique take on a horror show and that has a very unique family situation at the center of it. So, we’ll be announcing dates of those soon.”
The news comes nearly two months after work on Tigra & Dazzler was paused amid creative differences with Marvel. In December, the entire writing staff was let go from the series after completing multiple scripts and outlines for others. They were 15 weeks into a planned 20-week production cycle. At the time, sources said that a search for a new showrunner was underway as part of a larger creative overhaul. All the work the previous regime did on the series was scrapped.
Picked up in February as part of Hulu and Marvel’s Netflix-like four-show-and-a-special universe, Tigra & Dazzler was poised to be the third comedy out of the gate, with Howard the Duck earmarked as the fourth.
The demise of Tigra and Howard the Duck arrives as Marvel TV head Loeb remains with the company as he continues to work on a transition plan as part of his forthcoming exit. Loeb — who steered Marvel into live-action scripted TV originals with ABC’s Agents of SHIELD — had been prepping to leave well before the Oct. 15 news that MCU mastermind Feige had been elevated to the role of Marvel’s chief creative officer.
With his promotion, Feige — who has overseen Marvel’s multibillion-dollar box office dominance — now oversees 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.
In addition to Hulu’s animated comedies, MODOK and Hit Monkey, Loeb’s Marvel TV slate now consists of the upcoming final season of Agents of SHIELD and Hulu live-action drama Helstrom. (Hulu’s live-action scripted Ghost Rider drama was also scrapped after scoring a straight to series order at the streamer alongside Helstrom.) Hulu announced in November that the third season of drama Runaways would be its last and Marvel TV’s other live-action shows — FX’s Legion, Freeform’s Cloak & Dagger — ended/were canceled last year.
The remainder of Marvel’s scripted TV slate consists of MCU live-action spinoffs overseen by Feige’s film division. Those series — Loki (starring Tom Hiddleston), WandaVision (with Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen) and Falcon & the Winter Soldier (led by Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan) — have not been part of Loeb’s TV division. Nor have the second round of Marvel TV series set to launch on Disney+, including What If (animated), Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk and Moon Knight.
Tigra and Howard are the latest Marvel TV series to get the ax after being ordered straight to series. They join Loeb’s New Warriors (formerly set up at Freeform) and Ghost Rider.