Who needs Netflix when you own most of Hulu?
Two new live-action Marvel TV series, Ghost Rider and Helstrom, have been picked up for straight-to-series orders by Hulu. The announcement comes just over two months after Netflix severed ties with the Marvel Cinematic Universe by canceling all the shows under its Defenders banner, and about a month and a half after Marvel’s parent company, Disney, completed its accusation of 21st Century Fox, giving the House of Mouse a majority stake in Hulu.
Ghost Rider will follow Robbie Reyes, a young man who finds his soul bonded to a demon. When the blood of innocents is spilled, Reyes (and his 1969 Dodge Charger R/T) is consumed by hellfire to become the Spirit of Vengeance, the Ghost Rider. In the series, the character will live on the Texas/Mexico border and struggle to control his hellish powers. Ingrid Escajeda (Justified) will executive produce and serve as showrunner, while Paul Zbyszewski (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb will also be EPs.
Zbyszewski’s involvement may actually signal a casting possibility for the lead role. The Reyes version of Ghost Rider had a major story arc on S.H.I.E.L.D., where Reyes was played by Gabriel Luna. It’s unconfirmed whether the Hulu series will center on the same incarnation of the character or a rebooted one. (It won’t, however, have anything to do with Nic Cage’s two Ghost Rider films, which featured a different Rider, Johnny Blaze.)
Meanwhile, Helstrom will tell the tale of siblings Daimon and Ana Helstrom, the offspring of a mysterious serial killer. (Potential spoiler alert: In the comics, that serial killer is freakin’ Satan. In fact, Damion is known as the Son of Satan and Ana’s name is Satana in the source material.) The brother and sister will spend the show tracking down “the terrorizing worst of humanity.” Zbyszewski and Loeb again executive produce, with the former taking showrunning duties as well.
Set for 2020, the series are the first clues as to how Disney/Marvel will handle their streaming content now that they own most of Hulu and are gearing up for the launch of Disney+. With the latter being a more family oriented outlet, the former gives Marvel a chance to get a little weirder and darker.
On their proprietary service, they’ve set up continuations of the MCU like Loki, WandaVision (or whatever the Scarlett Witch/Vision spin-off ends up being called), and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, plus the animated What If. At Hulu, Ghost Rider and Helstrom join Marvel’s recently revealed animated lineup: Howard the Duck, Tigra & Dazzler, M.O.D.O.K., and Hit-Monkey, four series that will culminate in the team-up mini The Offenders (zing, Netflix). In March, Hulu also picked up Marvel’s Runaways for a third season.
This all lines up with the consolidation of Marvel’s TV projects. Fox’s The Gifted was canceled a few weeks back, and Legion is gearing up for its third and final season on the now Disney-owned FX. Sleeper hit Cloak and Dagger, meanwhile, still lives on Disney’s Freeform network.