More shake-ups have affected previously announced Marvel television series as Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb exits and Kevin Feige takes the reins as Marvel’s new Chief Creative Officer (replacing Joe Quesada, who is now Executive VP and Creative Director). First, the Ghost Rider show planned for Hulu was cancelled back in September. Now, as The Hollywood Reporter announced, Marvel has dismissed the entire creative team for the Tigra & Dazzler animated show announced in February, led by showrunner Erica Rivinoja. Chelsea Handler still remains on hand to executive produce and voice one of the lead characters for the series.
Recent reports still list Jeph Loeb as an Executive Producer on this as well as the other three planned animated shows for Hulu, including M.O.D.O.K., Hit-Monkey and Howard the Duck. According to the February announcement, these four series will eventually cross over into a series called The Offenders, a play on the Netflix gathering of its feature heroes in 2017, The Defenders. However, with these recent changes and Loeb’s exit, will his executive credit remain? The other Marvel live-action series slated for Hulu, Helstrom, remains on track and will likely retain Loeb as Executive Producer since he has been involved in its casting and pre-production.
Fans have to wonder at all these shake-ups, and what they will mean for the long-term direction and health of Marvel’s television presence on multiple streaming platforms. All the previously announced Disney+ Marvel series seem to be smoothly charging ahead for their 2020 and 2021 debuts and are all intimately connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, these Hulu series were developed independently of the MCU and in fact seem to revel in their irreverent and out of continuity takes on the Marvel Universe. Yet these series, though admittedly in early development, have been plagued with cancellations and creative team shake-ups.
The big question I’m sure Feige and the Marvel staff are wrestling with is should the Hulu live action and animated series share coherence with the MCU, as the Disney+ series do, or should they remain independent and allowed to bloom on their own, unconnected to the MCU? The MCU has generated plenty of success for years to come and doesn’t need the support of any television series. Further, the Marvel Universe is big enough to sustain several iterations, from the MCU, to the comicbook universe, to the animated and game universes.
Or should all the series, whether animated or live-action, streamed on Hulu or streamed on Disney+, share the same coherent universe? This would allow the shows to ride on the coattails of the MCU’s huge success and also encourage viewers to watch them all to discover the connections. In the end, it all comes down to how much money these costly (especially in the case of the reported Disney+ series budgets) programs can make.
Either way, more changes are probably coming down the pipeline, but that’s fine. Whatever it takes to make these the best Marvel animated and live-action series they can be. With Feige in charge, judging from his past track record, it’s likely that upcoming Marvel shows on both Hulu and Disney+ will be well worth the wait.