It’s time for self-awareness, no frills Howard the duck to get his own MCU TV show. Created in 1973 by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik, Howard the Duck joined Marvel’s catalog of anthropomorphic animals as a supporting character in the Man-Thing comics. Soon after, he got his own series of comics and comic books in the newspapers, where he poked fun at the tropes of the horror genre, cartoons, other comics, and pop culture in general. Howard is known for his existentialist outlook on life and his tendency to tackle mature themes with his brand of cynical humor.
Howard the Duck was a surprise hit for Marvel, and despite some hesitation from the House of Ideas, Howard drew a loyal following who demanded more content featuring the character. Sadly, creator Steve Gerber faced legal disputes with Marvel, and the quality of Howard’s comics quickly plummeted, which was followed by their cancellation and the disastrous release of Lucasfilm in 1986. Howard the duck film, which has had its share of logistical problems.
Since then, Howard the Duck has appeared from time to time as a guest character in the comics of other superheroes and as the protagonist of some Howard-centric stories. The Talking Duck made its MCU debut guardians of the galaxy as a prisoner at the collector’s museum, followed by a brief appearance at the Feast of Ravagers in Contraxia in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and a flashing cameo and miss you in the final battle against Thanos and his army at Avengers: Endgame. As fun as those nods to the character are, the MCU may be wasting the potential of an innovative character who could inject a new dose of drama, humor, and adventure into its own hit MCU series. Here’s why.
Howard the Duck may be Deadpool’s cosmic equivalent
Much of Fox’s success dead Pool the films, aside from Ryan Reynolds ‘charisma, were their perfect blend of self-aware humor and R-rated action, now that Reynolds’ Deadpool is confirmed to arrive in the MCU soon – and with the She-Hulk Disney + show also incorporating the character’s groundbreaking antics into the MCU – Howard the Duck’s self-awareness would be welcome, but not as groundbreaking. However, Howard would have the benefit of applying his meta-humor to the cosmic side of the MCU. As Deadpool and She-Hulk comment on the insanity of Earth, Howard could poke fun at Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor, Loki, Captain Marvel, the Skrulls, and a myriad of other characters.
Howard could also go on an adventure through the galaxy and meet obscure characters in a remote corner of space with more freedom. Howard is not wearing the X Men baggage that Deadpool does, which would make a Howard the duck rather, the series would be a blank slate with plenty of opportunities to tell an original story with as many or as few jokes and references as Howard wants. He could mock Zeus while hanging out with Man-Thing in Sakaar or visit Earth and comment on Steve Rogers’ retirement. The possibilities are limitless.
Howard the Duck show may be the MCU’s first satire
Howard the Duck’s humor is not only self-conscious, but also cynical and slightly dark. Howard is often critical of the tropes of the medium in which he operates, but his main focus is on the absurdity of life itself as if he was jumping comic book boards and immersing himself in one of Jean’s works- Paul Sartre. As Deadpool jokes about Ryan Reynolds and the messy continuity of the X Men franchise, Howard mourns the impossibility of death in a superhero universe and condemns the self-centeredness that the “hairless monkeys” called “humans” show by believing that they are nature’s favorite species.
At first glance, a Howard the duck the series would seem too wacky to be adapted for live-action – even more so with the unintentionally silly 1986 film precedent – but if the series were to stick to the main character themes, it would actually be a more mature MCU version than most. To fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Howard the Duck would likely have to give up his smoking habit, cut back on alcohol, and avoid delving too deep into the grim futility of life. Given Marvel Studios’ track record of adapting ambitious properties, Howard the duck could present the opportunity to enter the realm of satire on several levels. MCUs Howard the duck series could be a more literal version of that of Alejandro Iñárritu Bird man, with a jaded Howard who doesn’t live up to the superhero archetype.
A Howard the Duck show would mix different genres
The wide variety of themes that Howard the duck encompasses not locking the feathered hero into one genre, as his comic book appearances have demonstrated over the years. Howard started out as a supporting character in the inspired horror film Man-Thing comics before teaming up with characters like Spider-Man and Squirrel Girl for lighter adventures. Howard’s solo appearances are often more serious, while his MCU cameos have been comedic. An ideal Howard the duck The show would mix the MCU’s iconic superhero show with Howard’s irreverent comedy and existentialist drama, as well as a tinge of sci-fi and a bit of murder mystery. Howard could even star in the Madness of the MCU’s Multiverse and become the spokesperson for Duckworld.
Phase 4 is the perfect time to release a Howard the Duck Disney + series
As with Loki, who debuted as the tragic antagonist of the Shakespearean action-adventure Thor, followed by his role as a supervillain in The Avengers before becoming the anti-hero protagonist of the mind-blowing Disney + sci-fi series Loki, or as Wanda Maximoff, who went from a creepy witch to Avengers: Age of Ultron to the sitcom star of WandaVision and ultimately the sinister scarlet witch, Howard the Duck, could have many different facets. Some of Marvel’s most unique comic book characters coexist in Phase 4 of the MCU. A CGI duck with a suit and tie can be hilarious, but it can also be taken seriously.
Concepts like Alligator Loki and a hilariously drunken “wizard” vision would have been unfathomable during the early stages of the MCU. Now that the foundations for these kinds of stories are there, Marvel’s wildest characters and concepts hold immense potential for unique and innovative titles. Plus, Marvel’s immersion in the long-form storytelling of Disney + shows allows for new ways to adapt comic book storylines. Howard wouldn’t seem out of place in Loki‘s Void alongside Throg and the Thanos-Copter. Why not his own show? What if a live action Howard the duck doesn’t match up with the MCU’s current plans, he could still star in a series with the same animation style as What if…? (where Seth Green is confirmed to reprise his MCU role as Howard the Duck) or Hulu’s MODOK style – a show that offers an equally cynical take on the Marvel Universe.
Howard the Duck can continue Rocket Raccoon’s legacy
While Howard is more independent than most other Marvel characters, he could be connected to several established MCU characters. If rumors of Rocket Raccoon’s death in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 are true, Howard would be Rocket’s ideal successor – and not just because he’s an anthropomorphic outlaw with anger issues. Rocket’s MCU arc is based on his insecurities following a twisted experience, which made him feel like he didn’t belong anywhere. Still, Rocket Raccoon finds his purpose as a hero and likely finds closure when he faces his tragic origin. Likewise, Howard might be lost in a quest for meaning in a universe that doesn’t understand him, but he might expand his worldview when a bigger goal calls out for him. A Howard the duck The series isn’t the obvious next step for the MCU, but now is the perfect time for the nihilistic bird to seek redemption more than three decades after starring in Marvel’s first-ever theatrical feature film.
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