"Marvel's Helstrom" & Animated "M.O.D.O.K.": Hulu VP Updates Projects; Premiere Dates "Very Soon"
Over the course of the past several months, Hulu and Marvel Studios have reaffirmed their commitment to Marvel's Helstrom with a number of major casting announcements – names that carry some serious "geek street cred" with them (see below) – and now the streaming service is offering updates on not only that series but also on one of Hulu's upcoming adult-aimed Marvel animation slate (Howard the Duck, M.O.D.O.K., Hit-Monkey, Tigra & Dazzler Show, and crossover The Offenders)
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's screened the first four episodes of Helstrom as well as M.O.D.O.K. – and he likes what he sees, especially the horror aspects of Helstrom:
"We're in production on Helstrom. I've seen the first four episodes of that as well [as the animated M.O.D.O.K.]. I'm really excited about it. And it's definitely different corner of the Marvel Universe in terms of its horror."
Erwich continued, regarding Helstrom: "It's a really unique take on a horror show that has a very unique family situation at the center of it."
While Erwich didn't use the occasion of this week's TCA to reveal any premiere dates or windows, he did say that Helstrom, M.O.D.O.K., and other series would be coming viewers' way "very soon".
Executive produced by series showrunner Paul Zbyszewski and Marvel Studios mastermind Jeph Loeb(???), Marvel's Helstrom stars Tom Austen (Grantchester, The Royals) as Daimon Helstrom, Sydney Lemmon (Fear of The Walking Dead) as Ana Helstrom, Elizabeth Marvel (Homeland, The Meyerowitz Stories) as Victoria Helstrom, Robert Wisdom (Ballers, Watchmen) as Caretaker, June Carryl (Mindhunter, Dead Women Walking) as Dr. Louise Hastings, Ariana Guerra (Raising Dion, Insatiable) as Gabriella Rosetti, Alain Uy (The Passage, Paper Tigers) as Chris Yen, Daniel Cudmore (X-Men and Twilight franchises) as Keith Spivey, and David Meunier (Justified) as Finn Miller.
Here's a look at the updated character breakdowns for the upcoming series:
● Austen's Daimon Helstrom is professor of ethics who moonlights as an exorcist. Daimon has no illusions about saving a world he has no patience for; he just hopes he can help a few of the people closest to him. In his battle against a hidden world, Daimon is determined to root out demons as they arise, and will not stop until they're vanquished.
● Lemmon's Ana Helstrom runs a successful auction house and suffers no fools, but her true interest lies in hunting down those who hurt others. Traumatized by her father as a child, Ana is driven to rid the world of those like him, even as she secretly worries her father will return.
● Marvel's Victoria Helstrom is plagued by demons both real and imagined. Victoria has been institutionalized for twenty years. While she struggles to be herself, she hopes to repair her relationship with her children.
● Wisdom's Caretaker is a guardian of knowledge of the occult. He uses his knowledge and his relationship with Ana to help keep demonic forces at bay.
● Carryl's Dr. Louise Hastings is a psychologist with a strong faith but an open mind. Hastings is head of the psychiatric hospital where Victoria is being monitored. She has watched over the Helstrom family for years, caring for them as best she can.
● Guerra's Gabriella Rosetti is a woman balancing logic and faith. Gabriella arrives from the Vatican to help Daimon and Hastings uncover cases of demonic possession. She wants to save everyone she can, including Daimon.
● Uy's Chris Yen is Ana's business partner and her closest friend — some would say surrogate brother. He carries out the bulk of the auction house's responsibilities and assists Ana with whatever she needs.
● Cudmore's Keith Spivey is a nurse at St. Teresa's. With the hospital serving as the institutional home for their mother Victoria for the past 20 years, Spivey's profession has him crossing paths with Daimon (Austen) and Ana Helstrom (Lemmon).
● Meunier's Finn Miller is part of a secret organization that handles work not for the faint of heart.
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.
Then came word of trouble within Hulu's upcoming 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 has heard are all still a "go" – for now).