You might think, after successfully reinventing the superhero movie genre with a series that has just hit a high point with the multiple-record-breaking The Avengers movie, that television networks would be eager for a piece of the Marvel superhero pie. Turns out, you’d be partially wrong: Of the most recent flurry of Marvel properties vying for live action television adaptations, currently only one is showing much strength. But then, we already knew that Hulk is the strongest of them all.
During a conversation with reporters ahead of the official upfront presentation to advertisers, ABC entertainment president Paul Lee revealed that, while the network was still developing a Hulk TV series with Marvel TV and Guillermo Del Toro, the network had passed on a series based on Brian Michael Bendis’ cult favorite detective series Alias. Telling reporters that, despite the latter show stalling, he’d like to “see some Marvel projects come to television,” Lee confirmed that Hulk is still a go, if a somewhat delayed one. “It wasn’t going to be ready this season but we hope it’s going to be ready for next season,” he explained.
AKA Jessica Jones — renamed from Alias to avoid confusion with the ABC series starring Jennifer Garner — had been in the works since December 2010, with Twilight and Dexter veteran Melissa Rosenberg producing and writing the pilot script. Hulk has been in preparation a couple of months longer, with Del Toro and Battlestar Galactica‘s David Eick in place as executive producers. According to Del Toro, despite the character’s prominence in Avengers, the television series would take place in a different continuity – something that may ultimately doom the project if Disney decides to move ahead with a full-scale movie spin-off for the character from the hit Joss Whedon flick.
While ABC is keeping the familial synergy alive (The network, like Marvel, is owned by Walt Disney Co.), Fox seems to be closing the door on its partnership with Marvel TV with the news that its potential Punisher television series – co-created with Criminal Minds‘ Ed Bernero – has also met an untimely end with the network not picking up the pilot. Unlike the promising AKA Jessica Jones, however, this one might be considered a mercy killing; according to sources, the series would have recast Frank Castle as an NYPD cop who went after those who slipped through the fingers of the system by himself after clocking out every night. Somehow, I don’t think that would’ve really appealed to fans of the merciless, messed-up character as written by Greg Rucka, Garth Ennis or Jason Aaron…