Last week, Disney CEO Robert Iger confirmed that Marvel TV and ABC were developing three television shows based on existing Marvel properties. Earlier reports on this venture suggested that an updated version of The Incredible Hulk was always at the top of that list.
It was rumored that David Eick (Battlestar Galactica) and Guillermo del Toro would each be pitching their take on The Hulk, and at the time I expressed skepticism over del Toro's involvement, given how frequently his name has been attributed to projects he had nothing to do with. Well, allow me to admit I was wrong - and in this particular instance, I'm quite happy to be.
Deadline is reporting that Eick and del Toro will both have a hand in bringing The Incredible Hulk back to the small screen. The pair will write the pilot together and del Toro is interested in directing it if his schedule permits him to. While Eick has a considerable amount of television experience (including Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and the Bionic Woman reboot), the series will mark del Toro's first foray into TV.
The new show will focus on the Bruce Banner/Hulk character in his mid-20s and even though it's another origin story, del Toro insists that it will be told in "a respectful but powerful way."
Although The Hulk's recent big screen appearances have been realized entirely with CGI, the show will also mix in prosthetics and puppetry. Not surprisingly, Del Toro will be heavily involved with the design of the character and will be drawing inspiration from the various comic book incarnations as well as the original 1978-82 series. Deadline claims fans can expect "a few wild tweaks on the old look."
Given the enormous amount of preparation required for such an undertaking, the new Hulk series likely won't premiere until the fall of 2012. If that's the case, the show could benefit from the exposure Joss Whedon's The Avengers gives the character that summer - despite the fact that each property seems to be operating within its own separate continuity.
I have to say, I'm completely on board with this. I already fully supported a new Hulk television show and the involvement of Guillermo del Toro and David Eick only sweetens the deal. Not only is del Toro a guy who knows the comic book medium inside and out, he's also a truly visionary filmmaker and storyteller. Pairing him with a TV vet like Eick (who seems to enjoy updating classic shows and characters) seems like a smart decision and I can't wait to see what they come up with.
I also like that the show doesn't seem to be tied to the Marvel movie universe. It's a decision that I think frees them up creatively - not only in terms of casting and which characters they can use, but also for the overall tone and look of the series.
The Incredible Hulk has had his share of tumultuous travels into other mediums recently. It finally feels like he's in good hands.