Step aside Netflix. Time for a new couple to reign Marveltown.
Hulu has teamed up with Marvel Television to produce four separate adult animated series which will lead into a crossover special. The Marvel characters picked for this are Howard the Duck, M.O.D.O.K, Hit-Monkey, and the team of Tigra and Dazzler. Together they will form The Offenders.
Head of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb, will executive produce all the projects. The deal between Disney and Hulu comes as the Fox-Disney merger is coming to a completion. Disney will have 60 percent control of Hulu as part of the deal with 21st Century Fox.
The grouping of these characters is similar to what Marvel did with Netflix, teaming Jessica Jones, Nick Cage, Iron Fist, and Daredevil for The Defenders. However, since Disney/Marvel is moving away from Netflix, there had been the questions of what would be the Mouse’s next move. There is the option to drop new Marvel content on the Disney+ streaming service when it debuts later this year. However, theories are that Disney plans to place slightly more “adult” content on Hulu, keeping the Disney+ a little more “family friendly.” This could be true but at the same time it would depend on how viewers would categorize the stand alone MCU character series that focus on Loki, Winter Soldier/Falcon and Vision and Secret Witch will all be on the Disney streaming service. The only current Marvel show on Hulu is The Runaways whose second season dropped on December 21 and waits for a third season pick up.
Adding these new Marvel characters to the television universe in an animated state comes a year after they pulled the plug on Donald Glover’s Deadpool series for FX. According to FX’s CEO John Landgraph, the animated series “didn’t work out because Marvel didn’t want to make it…It didn’t fit what they wanted to do with Deadpool and it’s their brand. It’s their decision.”
With the decision they have made in this new direction, Marvel and Disney have definitely chose quite a different group of characters. Like the Netflix crew, chances of them showing up in the MCU is unlikely even though one has already made two cameos and another is traditionally associated with the X-Men.
First up is Howard the Duck, which will be written and produced by Kevin Smith and Dave Willis. The two are the co-creators of Adult Swim’s popular animated series Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The series described is
Trapped in a world he never made, America’s favorite fighting fowl Howard the Duck 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.
Howard the Duck was created in 1972 by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerick. Originally from Duckworld, populated by anthropomorphic duck people, Howard was stranded in our dimension. His adventures are usually satirical commentary on modern social issues while some are fourth-wall-breaking stories loosely inspired by popular fiction. His companion – and sometimes girlfriend – Beverly Switzler is a nude model Howard rescued from a super-villain. Dr Bong is his greatest nemesis, a psychotic scientist who was once a schoolmate of Beverly’s and has had a flame for her since college.
Howard the Duck has appeared on the large screen already. First was the 1986 live-action film (produced by George Lucas) that was a critical and commercial failure but has gained a cult following since. More recently, he has appeared as a computer-generated cameo in both of the Guardians of the Galaxy films, voiced by Seth Green.
M.O.D.O.K. (short for Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing), will be written and executive produced by Jordan Blum and Patton Oswalt. M.O.D.O.K. is described as
An egomaniacal Super Villain with a really big head and a really little body, who struggles to maintain control of his evil organization and his demanding family.
He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1967 as a ruthless genius and a genetically modified killing machine created by a techno-supremacist organization called A.I.M. M.O.D.O.K. was originally an enemy for other Marvel heroes like Captain America and Carol Danvers’ Ms. Marvel, but in more recent years writers have used him for comedy. He has become an insecure character who just wants to be loved and is desperate to prove himself to A.I.M. by beating the superheroes.
Next is Hit-Monkey, which will be written and executive produced by Josh Gordon and Will Speck. They co-directed Blades of Glory and Office Christmas Party. Hit-Monkey is described as
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.
Hit-Monkey has the strangest history out of these characters for the Hulu shows: a macaque who learns how to mimic the moves of the deadly assassin mentor and becoming a gun-for-hire with a reputation for killing fellow assassins. Created by Daniel Way in 2010, Hit-Monkey is best known as an enemy of Deadpool, who frequently tends to be on the hit-man’s list.
Finally, Tigra & Dazzler will be written and executive produced by Erica Rivinoja and Chelsea Handler. Considered Marvel’s top two divas, the two ladies have never worked together in the comics, but between their mission and drive for becoming celebrities in an already jam-packed world of superheroes, the two seem made for each other.
Marvel’s Tigra & Dazzler are two woke Super Heroes and best friends. Tigra and Dazzler fight for recognition among powered people who make up the eight million stories in Los Angeles.
Tigra became an athletic superhero after getting drawn into the affairs of the Cat People. Mortally wounded, she was offered one chance to save her life by undergoing a mystical ritual that would transform her into a feline warrior-woman. Now a celebrated hero, she has been a longstanding member of the Avengers and has worked with the X-Men on occasion while still working on her modeling career.
Dazzler is a mutant pop sensation, using her ability to transform sound into light to create light shows during her concerts. The X-Men recruited her when they discovered she was a mutant, and she’s worked on and off again as a superhero since. At one point, Fox had prepared a teaser for Dazzler in X-Men: Apocalypse but it ended up being cut out.
Together, all five of these Marvel characters will create The Offenders, which will be a one-off special. They will team up to save the world and parts of the Universe. Originally in the comics, the Offenders were a band of unwilling champions brought together by the Collector, one of the Elders of the Universe to participate in a brawl with the original Defenders. The Grandmaster chose his champions; the Collector countered them. Each battle was to the death with the life of a loved one on the line. Of the match-ups between the Red Hulk and Hulk, Baron Mordo and Doctor Strange, Terrax and Silver Surfer, and Tiger Shark and Namor the Sub-Mariner, it was the Offender Red Hulk who successfully killed the Hulk first. He then killed the other Offenders and Defenders, absorbing Silver Surfer’s Power Cosmic to enhance his own power. When the Grandmaster and the Collector realized their game had gotten out of control, they rewrote history and erased their latest match so it never happened.
Unfortunately, this is not going to be the Marvel Television version of the Offenders. This will play out like Netflix did with Marvel’s Defenders: introduce each character with their own stand-alone series and bring them together for a showdown. How Marvel and Disney will let this play out is unclear, as there is currently no writer attached to The Offenders, however Jeph Loeb has hinted there may be a fifth member who acts as a team leader.
As of now, Hulu has not announced any dates for production or schedules for the shows.