"Howard the Duck", "Tigra & Dazzler" Cancelled; Marvel/Hulu Moving Forward with "M.O.D.O.K.", "Hit-Monkey" [REPORT]

Taking to the stage at this year's Television Critics Association (TCA) winter press event, Hulu Senior Vice President of Originals Craig Erwich revealed that he had screened the first four episodes of both Helstrom as well as M.O.D.O.K. – and liked what he's seen so far. While he didn't use the occasion to reveal any premiere dates or casting news, he did say that news on M.O.D.O.K. and other series would be coming "very soon" (more on that in a minute). So everything looked great on that end – but now it seems like the "Red Wedding" that is the "Loeb-otomization"of Marvel's television and streaming projects continues. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Marvel will not be moving forward on Howard the Duck and Tigra & Dazzler, but that M.O.D.O.K. and Hit Monkey are moving forward as planned (with The Offenders also expected to get the red light).

howard the duck
(Howard the Duck) – Hulu/Marvel

There were rumblings once Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige took over the role of chief creative officer for all things Marvel Entertainment: film, television, comics – all the stuff that "The House of Mouse" calls its own. That's a problem when you have someone like Jeph Loeb (Marvel Television's resident mastermind: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil, Jessica Jones, etc.) – especially with a new slate of animated series set up at Hulu (Howard the Duck, M.O.D.O.K., Hit-Monkey, Tigra & Dazzler Show, and The Offenders).

Apparently, that problem was solved in October – with reports that Loeb was stepping down from Marvel before the end of the year – and then a very "interesting" thing happened: we started seeing Marvel shows getting collectively "Loeb-otomized".

Though production and casting is moving forward on Marvel's Helstrom (possibly sensing a Lucifer fanbase it could tap into), what follows isn't an impressive scorecard:

Hulu's Marvel's Ghost Rider? Gone.

Hulu's Marvel's Runaways? Done in three.

Freeform's Marvel's Cloak and Dagger? Gone in two.

ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Done after this upcoming season.

But there was still not word at that point on Howard the Duck, M.O.D.O.K., Hit-Monkey, Tigra & Dazzler Show, and The Offenders.

Then came word of trouble within Hulu's animated slate, with news that Tigra & Dazzler Show showrunner Erica Rivinoja (Girls Trip, The Addams Family) and the project's writing team let go over "creative differences." Rivinoja's team had completed a number of scripts and script outlines, and were 15 weeks into the show's 20-week production cycle

In early December, the other shoe dropped with news that Marvel TV will be phased out and absorbed into Marvel Studios. Staffing reductions will be in effect – though some executives will transition to Marvel Studios to oversee remaining Marvel TV projects (which Kevin Smith had heard are all still a "go" – including Howard the Duck and Tigra & Dazzler).

It appears "very soon" means Tuesday, with the streaming service officially announcing who will be joining Patton Oswalt's constantly-foiled Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing (we're guessing you figured out the title by now). Sam Richardson (Veep), Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs), Ben Schwartz (House of Lies), Aimee Garcia (Lucifer), Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Beck Bennet (Bill & Ted Face The Music), and Jon Daly (Curb Your Enthusiasm) have joined the streaming service series.

"I'm blown away by our insanely talented and hilarious voice cast, who have all brought their specific kind of magic to this weird and wonderful corner of the Marvel Universe."

– Jordan Blum, executive producer/showrunner

m.o.d.o.k.
Marvel

Earlier this week, the streaming service officially announced who would be joining Patton Oswalt's constantly-foiled Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing (M.O.D.O.K.). Sam Richardson (Veep), Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs), Ben Schwartz (House of Lies), Aimee Garcia (Lucifer), Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Beck Bennet (Bill & Ted Face The Music), and Jon Daly (Curb Your Enthusiasm) have joined the streaming service series.

Here's a look at the series overview and character breakdown, exclusive from Deadline Hollywood:

In Marvel's M.O.D.O.K., the megalomaniacal supervillain M.O.D.O.K. (Oswalt) has long pursued his dream of one day conquering the world. But after years of setbacks and failures fighting the Earth's mightiest heroes, M.O.D.O.K. has run his evil organization A.I.M. into the ground. Ousted as A.I.M.'s leader, while also dealing with his crumbling marriage and family life, the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing is set to confront his greatest challenge yet: a midlife crisis!

● Garcia's Jodie is M.O.D.O.K.'s wife and mother to his children who has had a late-in-life awakening — excited to pursue her mommy-blog turned lifestyle-brand empire and discover who she is as an independent woman in her forties. There are just too many things to do in this world and not enough time to waste being held back by negativity. And unfortunately for M.O.D.O.K., the thing weighing her down the most… is him.

● Schwartz portrays M.O.D.O.K.'s twelve-year-old son Lou – who he doesn't really "get". Not athletic enough to be a jock. Not smart enough to be a nerd. Lou is… well, Lou — a kid who clearly marches to the beat of his own drum. Lou's lack of friends, ambition and hygiene is a constant worry for M.O.D.O.K., who often projects his own insecurities onto his overly confident son.

● Fumero's seventeen-year-old Melissa has risen the ranks to become the Heathers-like queen bee of her school and a star in the world of teen figure skating – even with her father's "features". Every popular kid either wants to date her or avoid her terrifying wrath. But for all of her success, Melissa secretly yearns for her father's approval.

● McLendon-Covey's Monica Rappacciniis a brilliant mad-scientist at A.I.M. and M.O.D.O.K.'s rival at work. Clearly more competent and qualified than M.O.D.O.K., Monica believes she should be running the organization. After GRUMBL acquires A.I.M., Monica relishes in M.O.D.O.K.'s suffering until the new management begins to infringe on her ungodly experiments. With a common enemy in Austin, M.O.D.O.K. and Monica are finally able to put aside their differences and work together… when they aren't constantly betraying each other.

● Bennet's Austin Van Der Sleet is the owner of silicon valley tech-giant GRUMBL. – new owner of A.I.M. after M.O.D.O.K. is forced to sell it. GRUMBL sends slick, twenty-something Austin as a "post-merger-integration-consultant" and M.O.D.O.K.'s new boss. Though M.O.D.O.K. wishes he could just zap Austin to the Negative Zone, M.O.D.O.K. must find new solutions to confront Austin's corporate jargon-speak and frequent mandatory HR meetings, if he's ever going to reclaim A.I.M. from Austin's grip.

● Daly's Super Adaptoid is a snarky android with ambitions to live, feel and create, but is instead forced to spend his days massaging the hoverchair sores on his creator M.O.D.O.K.'s scalp. Although the Adaptoid dreams of overwriting his programming and turning on M.O.D.O.K., there is also a begrudging friendship between these two.

● Richardson's Gary is a henchman or "beekeeper" at A.I.M. who is fiercely loyal to his boss M.O.D.O.K., even if M.O.D.O.K. struggles to remember his name. As M.O.D.O.K. continues to get demoted within his own organization, Gary is there by his side, always offering his help and unshakeable optimism whether M.O.D.O.K. wants it or not.

About Ray Flook

Proudly serving as TV Editor, Ray started with Bleeding Cool in 2013 as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought aboard as staff in 2017. Counting John Cusack as his pop culture "spirit animal," his "word fu" stays strong as he continues trying really hard to be the sheppard...

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