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List of unproduced television projects based on Marvel Comics

This is a list of unmade and unreleased television projects based on Marvel Comics. Some of these productions were, or still are, in development hell. Projects that have not provided significant production announcements within at least a year, would be considered in development limbo until further announcements are released. The following include live-action and animated productions created for television. Along with Marvel Comics properties, projects based on their imprints (Icon Comics, Malibu Comics, CrossGen, Star Comics, Razorline, and Epic Comics) are included.

Live actionEdit

Richard Egan's NamorEdit

In the 1950s, a television series based on the character Namor was planned starring Richard Egan, but it never finished production.[1][2]

Sub-MarinerEdit

In the early 1970s, a different Sub-Mariner television pilot was in development but never finished filming due to the similarity of the short-lived Man from Atlantis series.[3]

Daredevil and the Black WidowEdit

In 1975, Angela Bowie secured the TV rights to Daredevil and Black Widow for a duration of one year and planned a TV series based on the two characters. Bowie had photographer Terry O'Neill take a series of pictures of herself as Black Widow and actor Ben Carruthers as Daredevil (with wardrobe by Natasha Kornilkoff) to shop the project around to producers, but the project never came to fruition.[4]

DaredevilEdit

In 1983, ABC planned a live-action Daredevil pilot. Academy Award-winning writer Stirling Silliphant completed the draft of the program, but it was not aired.[5] However, nothing came out of it.

Dr. StrangeEdit

Philip DeGuere was given an ample budget for Dr. Strange, which he wrote, directed and produced. The film was shot on Universal sets in Los Angeles, going over-schedule by several days because of the special effects, which included a lot of the era's green screen. Friend and composer Paul Chiraha was encouraged to produce an electronic score. Chirara, interviewed in 2016, said that DeGuere had high hopes for the film, and was crushed when it "tanked".[6]

In January 1985, Stan Lee recounted the largely positive experience of working on Dr. Strange, compared with the other live-action Marvel Comics adaptations under the publisher's development deal with CBS and Universal in the late 1970s, saying, "I probably had the most input into that one. I've become good friends with the writer/producer Phil DeGuere. I was pleased with Dr. Strange and The [Incredible] Hulk. I think that Dr. Strange would have done much better than it did in the ratings except that it aired opposite Roots. Those are the only experiences I've had with live action television. Dr. Strange and The Hulk were fine. Captain America was a bit [of a] disappointment and Spider-Man was a total nightmare."[7] CBS did not pick up Dr. Strange as a series.

The Young AstronautsEdit

In 1985, The Young Astronaunts, produced by Marvel Productions, concerned a 21st-century family aboard the interplanetary transport ship Courageous, along with their cat and a comical maintenance "droid". It was slated to be a Saturday-morning midseason replacement on CBS.[8] A Star Comics comic book series from Marvel Comics was planned to be released before the cartoon, but was also canceled for the same reason. An advertisement that appeared in many comic books in 1986, which promoted the upcoming fall lineup for CBS Saturday morning, prominently featured a drawing of The Young Astronauts along with other shows set to air that fall.[9] The show never aired due to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster causing CBS to cancel the show before it finished production.[10]

Thor / The Incredible HulkEdit

In 1988, Thor appeared in the live action television film The Incredible Hulk Returns, which was meant to be a pilot episode for a live action Thor series.[11] Thor was played by Eric Allan Kramer, and Donald Blake by Steve Levitt.[12] The project was scrapped, for unknown reasons.

Daredevil / The Incredible HulkEdit

As was the case with The Incredible Hulk Returns, the 1989 telefilm The Trial of the Incredible Hulk also acted as a backdoor television pilot for a series for Daredevil, but went unproduced for unknown reasons.[13] Rex Smith portrayed Matt Murdock / Daredevil in the pilot.[14]

She-HulkEdit

She-Hulk was announced as co-star of an October 1989 made-for-TV film headlining the Incredible Hulk, the third reunion/sequel to the live-action Incredible Hulk series with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno reprising their roles. Although no specific title or actress was announced, in early July of that year it was still firmly expected to air that autumn.[15] A third Hulk telefilm did appear in February 1990 without any additional Marvel character adapted. A year later, a proposed She-Hulk series for the ABC network was "dead."[16] In August 2019, a different She-Hulk series was announced for Disney+, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[17]

The Revenge of the Incredible HulkEdit

Despite the Hulk's death in the 1990 film, the movie's makers had intended from the start for him to return in The Revenge of the Incredible Hulk, again with Gerald Di Pego as writer.[18][19][20] In early July 1989, Iron Man was planned to make a brief appearance.[21] As of July 10, 1990, a script was being written.[21] It has been reported that the fourth film would have featured the Hulk with Banner's mind,[22] and that the project was canceled because of Bill Bixby's struggle with cancer,[23] but Di Pego has refuted both these claims as fan rumors, pointing out that Bixby's health had not yet begun to decline at the time the film was canceled. Di Pego said that the plot for The Revenge of the Incredible Hulk began with Banner being revived, but no longer able to change into the Hulk. Banner then begins to work for the government in order to prevent accidents like the one that turned him into the Hulk, but is captured by villains and coerced into turning their agents into Hulk-like beings. According to Di Pego, at the film's climax Banner would be forced to recreate the accident that transformed him into the Hulk in order to stop the villains' plans.[24] The sequel was canceled because of the disappointing ratings for The Death of the Incredible Hulk.[24]

Power PackEdit

Following the cancellation of the original comic, Paragon Entertainment Corporation and New World Television developed Power Pack into a live-action show for NBC's Saturday Morning Kids block. While a pilot episode was made, the series was passed on and the pilot was later picked up by Fox, which chose to broadcast it as a Saturday morning special, on September 28, 1991, rather than ordering an entire series. The 27-minute pilot has subsequently been aired a few times on Fox Kids during the off-season.[25] Minor alterations to the concept were made for the pilot, ranging from the children's parents being aware of their superhuman abilities, Julie's acceleration power being altered to her being able to move at superhuman speed, without the ability to fly, and the "cloud" aspect of Jack's density power being eliminated; he was only able to shrink in size. The children did not wear costumes.

Stealth WarriorsEdit

In November 1993, Rick Ungar was developing Stealth Warriors for Marvel Comics.[26] For unknown reasons, the project was abandoned, with Ungar moving on to other projects.

Generation XEdit

Generation X is a FOX television pilot directed by Jack Sholder that aired on February 20, 1996. It is based on the Marvel Comics comic-book series of the same name, a spin-off of the X-Men franchise. It was produced by New World Entertainment and Marvel Entertainment Group.[27][28][29] After talks of a TV series stalled, just before the release, the TV special was testing the waters for a series of TV movies instead, with nothing coming out since.[30]

Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.Edit

Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a pilot episode from 1998 based on the Marvel Comics character Nick Fury.[31] The pilot was broadcast for BBC One and FOX on May 26, 1998. Directed by Rod Hardy, the film stars David Hasselhoff as Fury, a retired super spy who is approached to return to duty to take down the terrorist organization HYDRA, who threaten to attack Manhattan with a pathogen they have reconstituted known as the Death's Head virus. Lisa Rinna plays Contessa Valentina "Val" Allegra de Fontaine, and Sandra Hess plays Andrea von Strucker / Viper. The film was met with a mixed to poor reception, resulting in the studio not picking up the series.[32] A different Nick Fury TV series was in development, around 2001.[33] Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was given a DVD release on September 30, 2008.[34]

BloodstoneEdit

In 2001, a Ulysses Bloodstone-centered TV series was in development.[35] Since then, there have been no further development news.

Daughters of the DragonEdit

An intended Daughters of the Dragon TV series was in development in March 2001,[36] The series would have featured Colleen Wing and two other Daughters, but not Misty Knight.[37] The series was never produced, with Wing and Knight eventually making their debut appearances in the shared universe of Marvel's Netflix series.[38][39]

EctokidEdit

In August 2001, Ectokid was planned as a television show to air on Nickelodeon. Barker would have acted as an executive producer of the television show, with Daley and Murphy as producers. Talking to Daily Variety, Barker explained that his aim was to create "a franchisable world" for the studio, "of great, transcendent beauty; one that reconfigures people's expectations of what ghosts are, of what comes after death."[40] Since then, there have been no further development news.

Night ThrasherEdit

A Night Thrasher TV series was originally in early stages of development for UPN in 2002, before eventually being scrapped.[41][42]

Brother VoodooEdit

In January 2003, Syfy ordered a live-action made-for-TV-movie and backdoor pilot based on the Marvel Comics supernatural character Brother Voodoo. Hans Rodionoff was announced to write the screenplay, set in New Orleans, of this Reveille Productions and Marvel Studios co-production executive produced by Reveille head Ben Silverman and Marvel Studios' Avi Arad and Rick Ungar.[43]

The CrossoversEdit

In March 2003, CrossGen was in negotiations for a live-action, prime-time television series adaptation of The Crossovers, with Davis Entertainment.[44][45] Since then, there have been no further development news.

Skrull Kill KrewEdit

In 2006, a television series based on Skrull Kill Krew was in development. At some point in time, Marvel ceased development for unknown reasons.[46]

Alter EgoEdit

In 2006, a television series based on Alter Ego was in development. At some point in time, production was halted for unknown reasons.[47] In 2015, a different adaptation of Alias was produced by Netflix, which was developed by Melissa Rosenberg for ABC Studios and Marvel Television. The name change was needed due to the unrelated ABC series Alias.[48]

Moon KnightEdit

In 2006, Marvel Studios and No Equal Entertainment announced a live-action Moon Knight TV series.[49] Writer Jon Cooksey confirmed in 2008 that he was developing the Moon Knight television series.[50] In August 2019, a different Moon Knight series was announced for Disney+, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[51]

FX's PowersEdit

In 2009, Brian Michael Bendis confirmed plans to develop a Powers television show on FX as well as his involvement as the writer of the pilot for the show.[52] In February 2011, a greenlit pilot of the show scripted by Charles H. Eglee was announced as a co-production by Sony Pictures Television and FX Networks.[53] Charles S. Dutton became the first cast member in May 2011 when he signed on to play Captain Cross.[54] In June, 2011, filming in Chicago was scheduled to start within a few weeks.[55] The following week, Lucy Punch was cast as Deena Pilgrim.[56] Katee Sackhoff had campaigned for the part.[57] Although FX was rumored to be courting Kyle Chandler for the part of Walker,[57] the next day Jason Patric was cast in the part.[58][59] Later in June, Carly Foulkes was cast as RetroGirl[60] and Bailee Madison was cast as Calista.[61] Filming began in Chicago in early July 2011 and ended in early August.[62] In November 2011, FX announced that it would reshoot the Powers pilot.[63] Bendis tweeted that "the reshoots are planned for January and are all about tone and clarity".[64] In April 2012, more scripts were ordered and writing continued, but more reshoots and recasting were being discussed by the network.[65] Work on this project halted, when on March 19, 2014, it was announced that Powers would become the first original television series from the PlayStation Network, with a different cast and writers.[66][67] The new series premiered on March 10, 2015.[68]

Carol Danvers / Jessica JonesEdit

In July 2011, Carol Danvers was intended to make her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in the series Jessica Jones when it was developed for ABC, but the character changed to Trish Walker when it moved to Netflix, due to the changes in the direction of the MCU storyline, such as the decision for Danvers to appear in her own film.[69][70]

MockingbirdEdit

In July 2011, a Mockingbird series was in development at ABC Family.[69] This adaptation never materialized, with a different iteration of the character appearing in a 2014 episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.[71]

FOX's PunisherEdit

In October 2011, FOX was developing The Punisher as an hour long TV series.[72] The project was eventually cancelled, in May 2012.[73] A different series centered around the Punisher was released onto Netflix in 2017.[74]

The HulkEdit

Around 2012, Guillermo del Toro was in talks with Marvel Studios to make a TV series titled The Hulk as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The series was intended to be aired on ABC. However, after Mark Ruffalo's acclaimed performance as the Hulk in The Avengers, the project was put on hold,[75] and entered development hell.

DreadstarEdit

On February 17, 2015, Jim Starlin teamed with Universal Cable Productions to adapt Dreadstar as a scripted TV series with Chris Bender and J. C. Spink as producers.[76] For unknown reasons, the project fell into development hell.

Untitled John Ridley-developed seriesEdit

In 2015, Marvel has been working with screenwriter John Ridley since mid-April 2015 to craft a new television series, "reinventing" an existing Marvel character or property.[77] In January 2016, Ridley confirmed that the project was "still in development". He stated that he was looking to "bring some of the socially conscious nature" of Jessica Jones and his series American Crime to the show, while also creating something that is "straight entertainment".[78] A year later, Channing Dungey revealed that Ridley's project was still progressing, with Ridley working on a rewrite of his script.[79] Ridley added that the rewrite was not because "anything didn't work the first time around", but rather trying to make sure the series does something viewers have not necessarily seen before in a superhero television series, hoping it would occupy "a space that is not currently being filled" by Marvel. He also stated that he hoped to create the series "in the near term."[80] By August 2017, Dungey was "not sure" if Ridley was still working on the project.[81]

Marvel's Most WantedEdit

By April 2015, Marvel started developing Most Wanted, a spinoff series of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The series, which was being developed by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. executive producer Jeffrey Bell and writer Paul Zbyszewski, would be based on storylines occurring at the end of the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and would receive its own pilot rather than a backdoor pilot.[82] Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood entered into discussions to headline the potential new series as their characters Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter, respectively.[83] By May 7, 2015, when ABC announced their series renewals and cancellations, and new series pickups, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff was passed on.[84] In August 2015, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff series received new life as a reworked series, titled Marvel's Most Wanted, with a pilot order.[85] Bell and Zbyszewski once again developed the series, while also serving as co-writers of the pilot, executive producers, and showrunners, with Jeph Loeb also attached as executive producer.The series would still focus on Morse and Hunter, with Palicki and Blood both attached, and was described as "a new take focusing on the same duo and their continuing adventures. The show was not ordered to series, for a second time, after the pilot was filmed.[86]

Empire of the DeadEdit

In May 2015, Empire of the Dead was being planned as an adaptation of George A. Romero's comic series.[87] The series was going to be written and executive produced by Romero and Peter Grunwald. Demarest executives Sam Englebardt and William D. Johnson would have also executive produced. In November 2015, AMC acquired the TV rights on the series. Since then, there have been no further announcements.[88]

Marvel's Damage ControlEdit

In October 2015, ABC ordered a put pilot for a half-hour live-action comedy series Marvel's Damage Control, based on the comics construction company of the same name. The show would have followed the overworked, underpaid, clean up crew of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, who specialized in dealing with the aftermath of superhero conflicts, rescheduling events because of the conflicts, and retrieving lost items.[89] The series was being developed by Ben Karlin for ABC Studios and Marvel Television, with Karlin also writing the script for the project and serving as executive producer.[90] The series had previously been implied by then ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee to have begun airing as early as the 2016–17 television season. Since then, there have been no further announcements.

HellfireEdit

In October 2015, a live action television series titled Hellfire was under development by 20th Century Fox Television and Marvel Television with an early 2017 air date,[91][92][93] but on July 12, 2016, Variety reports that the project is no longer moving forward.[94]

Untitled comedy seriesEdit

In January 2016, Stan Lee announced that an untitled comedy series was in the works.[95] Since then, there have been no further details since the original announcement and Stan Lee's death, therefore resulting in this series falling into development limbo.

Captain BritainEdit

In March 2016, it was reported in the British media that Marvel had plans to start a new series starring Captain Britain.[96][97] Since then, there have been no further development news.

Untitled Allan Heinberg-developed seriesEdit

In May 2016, ABC president Channing Dungey said the company had "a handful of projects in development" with Marvel Television that the two studios thought would be "beneficial to both brands".[98] Karim Zreik of Marvel Television said in August 2017 that one of these ideas was "female-skewed" and "Jessica Jones-esque". He noted that the success of the DC Comics-based film Wonder Woman (2017) had increased interest in comics among younger girls.[99] By January 2018, Dungey said that the series had not "worked out as well as we would've liked. We developed a couple things this season that we don't think are going to end up going forward, so we're going to look really carefully about what we do next".[100] In August, Dungey said "we're cooking up a couple things" in terms of potential new Marvel series on ABC, and that there was one idea in particular that she was excited to talk about.[101]

In September 2018, ABC gave a production commitment to a series featuring lesser-known female superheroes from Marvel Comics. Wonder Woman writer Allan Heinberg, who had an overall deal at ABC Studios at the time, was set to write and executive produce the potential series, with Marvel Television president Jeph Loeb also executive producing. The idea had been a "strong contender from the get-go" in terms of the new series that Marvel and ABC had been developing together.[102] However, in February 2019, ABC chose not to proceed with the pilot, despite its "big" production commitment. Nellie Andreeva of Deadline Hollywood noted it was "unclear" if the series would be redeveloped.[103]

ScarletEdit

In June 2016, Brian Michael Bendis was developing a TV series based on his comic series Scarlet for Cinemax.[104] Since then, there have been no further development news.

Marvel's New WarriorsEdit

In August 2016, development started on a series titled New Warriors centered on the team of the same name, with networks and streaming outlets showing interest in the project.[105] In April 2017, New Warriors received a series order of 10 episodes from Freeform, with Biegel joining as showrunner and writing the first script, and a planned premiere in 2018.[106] By that November, after filming the pilot, Freeform was no longer airing the rest of the series, and it was being shopped around to other networks.[107] Since then, a new outlet has not been announced, leaving the pilot and the rest of the season in limbo.[108] By September 2019, it was reported that the series was canceled after not finding a new broadcaster.[109]

Untitled Kingsman seriesEdit

In June 2018, upon announcing his new film studio, Matthew Vaughn revealed that an eight-episode Kingsman television series was in early development at 20th Century Fox Television.[110] Since then, there have been no further development news.

Marvel's Ghost RiderEdit

In May 2019, it was announced that Hulu was developing a Ghost Rider series, featuring the Robbie Reyes incarnation of the character. A television series centered around the character has been discussed for some time, after first appearing in the Ghost Rider pod of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4. Gabriel Luna would have reprised his role for the series.[111] Ingrid Escajeda was hired to serve as showrunner, in addition to executive producing the series with Zbyszewski and Jeph Loeb.[112]

The series would not have been an intended spin-off of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but will focus on the "same character [introduced in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.] with [a] new story that lives unto its own."[113] The series would have been part of the "Adventure Into Fear" banner.[114]

In September 2019, it was announced that the series would not be going forward, due to irreconcilable creative differences.[115]

AnimatedEdit

Iron ManEdit

In 1980, an Iron Man TV series was one of several pitches, resulting in an unaired pilot and an abandoned prospect of a full-fledged series.[116]

Daredevil and Lightning the Super-DogEdit

In the 1980s, ABC had planned a Daredevil animated television series that would have featured a guide dog named "Lightning the Super-Dog".[117][118] Television writer Mark Evanier said in 2008 that he was the last in a line of writers to have written a pilot and series bible, with his including Lightning as a guide dog without superpowers.[117] Production stills for a proposed Daredevil animated series meant to air on Fox Kids were made.[119]

X-Men: Pryde of the X-MenEdit

X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men is a pun on the name of Kitty Pryde, the youngest of the X-Men. The series that this episode was intended to launch never materialized; Marvel Productions would have to go back to the drawing board for 1992’s X-Men. Funding for this pilot actually came from the budget for RoboCop: The Animated Series. Instead of making a 13th episode of RoboCop, Marvel Productions decided to use their funding to have Toei Animation produce the animation for this pilot. The pilot itself is most specifically influenced by issues #129[120]-139[121] of Uncanny X-Men. Shortly after this pilot was delivered, Marvel started having financial issues (New World Pictures, who purchased the Marvel Entertainment Group or MEG from Cadence Industries in 1986, sold MEG in January 1989 to the Andrews Group) and stopped work on just about everything but Muppet Babies. This pilot effectively marked the end of the Marvel animated universe created by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises/Marvel Productions, which began with Fantastic Four (1978) and continued with Spider-Woman (1979), Spider-Man (1981), Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981) and The Incredible Hulk (1982). The X-Men themselves had previously guest starred in several episodes of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, although that particular series isn't necessarily in the same continuity as "Pryde of the X-Men".

SolarmanEdit

In 1988 a 22-minute animated Solarman pilot was produced, which its creator David Oliphant maintained ownership of, since he produced over $400,000 for its production, with Marvel acting as a licensee. It was released on VHS as a cross promotion tie-in with the first issue of Marvel Comics' adaptation. The pilot finally aired on October 24, 1992, as a special on Fox Kids, a week prior to the debut of the X-Men animated series. According to Oliphant, a major studio offered $15 million to create 64 animated episodes of Solarman, but the studio cancelled this offer soon after on the advice of their consultants, who cautioned that Saturday morning superhero cartoons would soon die out in popularity.[122]

Ruby-Spears ThorEdit

Artwork by Jack Kirby from a planned Thor animated series, in the 1980s, by Ruby-Spears Productions has surfaced.[123]

Captain AmericaEdit

In the 1990s, a planned Captain America animated series from Saban Entertainment to air on Fox Kids proposed that Captain America's true name was Tommy Tompkins, with "Steve Rogers" being a cover name assigned to him by the U.S. Army. The Red Skull would appear as the main antagonist. The series was cancelled during production with scripts written, characters designed and a one-minute pitch film produced, because of Marvel's bankruptcy.[124][125][126]

FOX's ThorEdit

There was another attempt at an animated Thor TV series in 2000, for FOX.[127] Since then, there has been no further development.

Untitled Deadpool animated seriesEdit

In May 2017, FXX placed a series order for an animated series based on Deadpool, to be co-produced by Marvel Television, FX Productions and ABC Signature Studios. Donald Glover and his brother Stephen Glover were announced as showrunners, executive producers and writers for the series.[128] In late March 2018, it was announced that FXX would not move forward with the series due to creative differences.[129][130] Stephen Glover later admitted that the "creative difference" in question involved an episode revolving around Taylor Swift which FXX stated was the "last straw" and that they wanted to give Rick and Morty "a run for its money".[131]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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