Kevin Smith recently shared new details about his cancelled Howard the Duck series. Howard is one of Marvel Comics’ more offbeat characters, first appearing in 1973. Since then, he’s featured in several comic book series, as well as video games and TV shows. The character starred in the 1986 movie Howard the Duck, from Lucasfilm and Universal Pictures. The film performed poorly at the box office and was also critically maligned. Howard the Duck didn’t return to the big screen until 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. He followed that up with an appearance in the movie’s sequel, as well as Avengers: Endgame.
Until January 2020, Smith was working on a Howard the Duck animated series for Hulu. It was developed alongside Tigra & Dazzler, with plans for the shows to join M.O.D.O.K and Hit Monkey in a team up series called The Offenders. However, Hulu ultimately decided not to go forward with Howard the Duck or Tigra & Dazzler. The decision came soon after the launch of Hulu parent company Disney’s own streaming service. Disney+ is of course currently establishing itself as the go-to place for Marvel content on the small screen, having launched its first Marvel Cinematic Universe series WandaVision in January 2021.
In an episode of his FatMan Beyond podcast, Smith discussed the cancelled Howard the Duck series, revealing a Marvel staple, the Darkhold spell book, was going to be a big part of the show. Smith also theorized that if it’s the book briefly shown in WandaVision villain Agatha Harkness’ lair, as some have guessed, then that may have played a role in Howard the Duck not making it to series:
It was going to play a central role in our Howard the Duck cartoon. That was the only way for him to get home, was the scattered pages of the Darkhold. Now that I’ve seen WandaVision, if that [book] is indeed the Darkhold, that would have been a reason to kill Howard the Duck right then and there.
It came as a bit of a surprise when Hulu decided not to go forward with Howard the Duck, especially considering Smith’s involvement. The writer and director has established himself as an authority in the comic book sphere and clearly had interesting ideas for the show. Many assumed Disney+’s incoming MCU series played a role, with Disney looking to put all of its new Marvel content in one place. However, the information about the Darkhold adds an interesting layer to the decision. As Smith notes, it’s entirely possible the book’s potential role in WandaVision factored in.
Regardless of the reason, it remains disappointing audiences never got to see the Howard the Duck animated series come to life. It sounds like it would have been an entertaining show, especially coupled with Tigra & Dazzler. The Offenders series also would have offered a less serious take on a Marvel team-up than what’s often seen in the franchise’s movies and TV shows. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.
Source: FatMan Beyond