Over the weekend Comic-Con@Home hosted various movie and gaming studios and actors and artists to showcase their upcoming work. While Marvel Studios was absent from the event refraining from making any MCU Phase 4 announcement, its mutants and son of Satan did reach the Con. Marvel’s New Mutants movie and Hulu’s Helstrom had an opening scene and teaser released respectively. And fans worldwide got their first look at the horrors that Marvel has to offer in near future.
Marvel Studios’ official horror movie was announced last year at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. Director Scott Derrickson was the first person ever to describe a Marvel movie as ‘horror.’ He was presenting Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The movie indeed is going to open the doors of Marvel’s Multiverse, letting in demons, vampires, beings from other dimensions and more. Along with it, Marvel Head Kevin Feige announced projects such as Moon Knight and Blade that have religious and satanic themed horror. However, the rule is — Satan, make it kid-friendly!
In The Beginning
During the golden age of comics around 1938, Heaven, hell, Gods, demons, vampires all were a fair game for representation. How else, Norse Gods, Devil, Olympian warriors, demonic bikers and spirit of vengeance can all exist in the same world?
But that changed after World War II. The Comics Code Authority was created to regulate comic book content. The code regulated depiction of demon worship, walking dead, vampires and witchcraft along with werewolfism, torture, cannibalism and ghouls among other things. But keeping ambiguity in check, comic creators could still get their characters and stories passed through the CCA.
Watch: Dark And Twisted Marvel Horror Storylines
Fast forward to 2009 when Disney acquired Marvel, the ‘kid-friendly’ rule strictly applied (Read No R Rated Content). That starts immediately reflecting right from Iron Man 2. The entire 10 years of Infinity Saga was made kids friendly but still smashed the Box Office with every release. This is also the reason fans are quite doubtful of Deadpool’s fate in the MCU.
Kevin Feige explained during the last comic con that the studio was looking for the ‘right way in’ to explore the mystical side of the universe. Doctor Strange 2 seems to tick all the right boxes. However, a year down the line the studio had a change of plans and Derrickson was resorted to Executive Producer of the project while Sam Raimi stepped in as director.
Watch: Comic-Con Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Official Panle
The word is Derrickson wanted to explore Nightmare and his dark realm as a villain while studio wanted to maintain the ‘funny,’ ‘kid friendly tone.’ And Sam Raimi is what you get when you are asking for comic situation and horror together.
Another supernatural project that ties into the Doctor Strange 2 is WandaVision on Disney+. Wanda better known as Scarlett Witch in the comic is rooted into witchcraft and wizardry. The series is supposed to be drawn from House of M comic, served with MCU twists. Wanda’s journey is expected to open the doors to the other side of the universe while Doctor Strange will spiral the viewers into the Multiverse.
But come 2020, the Coronavirus outbreak put the world at a standstill and we are yet to have a confirmed announcement of MCU Phase 4’s restart. But The New Mutants and Helstrom did give us a glimpse into the horror productions that are definitely hitting the screens in 2020.
The New Mutants
Made by Fox Studio, New Mutants took a major hit from the Fox-Disney merger. The movie has been delayed five times now, something even the trailer took a jab at. The four-minute footage gives us a good look at all the teenage superheroes and the antagonist of the movie Demon Bear. Some might even say it should have come with a spoiler warning!
Watch: Comic-con Official New Mutants Panel
The clip opened with the voiceover narrating Native American mythology about two bears living inside of us – the good and the evil. It takes us through the worst nightmares of each character to finally show Demon Bear for a couple of seconds. All the delayed dates were also added as a spoof at the end of the trailer. The background score and footage by surely gives one the creeps.
The movie is now unofficially Marvel’s first ‘horror’ offering. Director Josh Boone tells during the panel, “The whole movie is about a curse, I guess. The Demon Bear curse. I guess it’s possible. We’re just excited for the fans to see it.”
The New Mutant comic book artist whose story Demon Bear the movie is based on said,
“People have talked about it being a cursed film because it’s taking forever, but in some respects the lockdown has amped up interest.”
The movie is finally set for August 28th release if at all it doesn’t get delayed again given the virus is still keeping theatres shut. Fans expect the movie to be released on Disney+. During the merger reports surfaced about studio wanted to reshoot with some changes but later the director confirmed no changes were made.
The strict code about being child friendly is something Marvel abides by whereas Fox Studio is quite known for its R rated work (Hi Deadpool, Logan!).
This leaves New Mutants in a PG-13 category. Sienkiewicz previously explained in a tweet, “The atmosphere, mystery, & tone of Josh’s direction make it work. The cast is stellar, not horror tropes who split from the group 1 by 1 like idiots only to get offed. They’re a team united; forged by the horror, and that’s new take.” Meaning, Fox’s last in X-Men franchise will be a scary movie that happens to fall in PG-13 category.
Helstrom is literally Marvel’s son of Satan. This horror offering is created and executive-produced by Zbyszewski along with Karim Zreik and Jeph Loeb for Hulu. Marvel’s Helstrom’s stories are seeded in satanic horror. The story follow son and daughter of Satan — Daimon and Ana, the adult children of a serial killer – who now spend their time as detectives hunting demons and killers.
The trailer opens with Daimon and Ana visiting their mother in an asylum, establishing Satan as their father. The teaser features some more snaps of their demon-hunting adventures. In the comic, Doctor Strange actually considers Daimon to become Sorcerer Supreme after him. Helstrom also ties very well into the Ghost Rider story (a character Feige also widely spoke about). Originally the TV series was supposed to bring all the Marvel TV characters like Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Jessica Jones all in a crossover event. But when Marvel TV shut down and Kevin Feige took over Disney+ content, only Helstrom survives.
Watch: Comic-con Official Helstrom Panel
Zbyszewski explains during the panel, “It is based on the story ‘The Son of Satan,’ so it’s a really bad dad story, ultimately.” But it also promises a family drama. He said, “It’s about the family that we’re born with and the family that we create.” Adding it’s a nature-versus-nurture story, he said, “It’s about the stuff that we’re born with genetically that we inherit and we carry with us because we have to. It’s about our environment that we’re raised with and the values that we’re imprinted with as we grow older, and that affects our ability to judge right from wrong, and our morality.”
After shutting down of Marvel TV this would be the last show that will air out of the Disney+ camp. Helstrom will premiere on Hulu on October 16 and will run for 10 episodes.