The Freeform series New Warriors is perhaps the most intriguing prospect on Marvel’s live-action slate. There are several things that make it unique among Marvel Studios and Marvel Entertainment’s current crop of projects: it’s a comedy show, with a largely unknown cast, and a protagonist that talks to squirrels.
This departure from the norm is exciting, offering further proof that Marvel isn’t willing to rest on its laurels and fill its coffers with a mix of predictable programming and risk avoidance. As they did with Guardians Of The Galaxy, here Marvel is chucking money at a Z-list pile of characters and allowing creative writers to have some fun.
Scrubs alum Kevin Biegel is serving as showrunner for the ten-episode first season, which will feature Squirrel Girl, Mister Immortal, Night Thrasher, Speedball, Microbe and Debrii as its central roster of heroes. Little is known, at this stage, about what ground the show will be covering in terms of plot.
There could be clues in the comics, though, where the New Warriors have enjoyed a very varied array of adventures. To find out about those odd outings and much more, read on and discover the 15 Things You NEED To Know About The New Warriors.
15 Their Leader Defeated Thanos
Squirrel Girl defeating Thanos is the stuff of comic book legends. It was also presented as something of a joke, with Squirrel Girl (real name Doreen Green) running into battle with The Mad Titan at the end of one issue, before being shown to be victorious at the start of the next one – the fight itself was never actually detailed, leaving fans to scratch their chins and ponder just how Doreen managed to do it.
Squirrel Girl also defeated Doctor Doom, many years prior. In that instance, she employed an army of squirrels to overrun the villain, with the sheer number of furry fighters proving to be totally overwhelming. One can assume – though never know for sure – that she used a similar tactic against Thanos.
Both New Warriors as well as Avengers: Infinity War – which will see Earth’s mightiest heroes battling Josh Brolin’s Thanos in live action form – are expected to premiere in 2018. The chances of Squirrel Girl showing up to defeat the purple space villain seem slim, though.
14 They’ve Met Zeus And Hercules
These days, thanks in no small part to the Wonder Woman movie, Zeus is more commonly associated with DC properties. However, Marvel has a take on the god of gods from Greek mythology as well. Back in the 1990s, the New Warriors had a bit of a run in with him.
This went down because Trey Rollins – a Brooklyn kid with a passion for myths and legends – had joined the team after discovering a magical breastplate known as the Aegis. After seeing him use it, Hercules took Trey – and the rest of the team – to Olympus to meet his old man.
Trey was accused of stealing the breastplate (but really it was a gift from Athena). He had to battle Hercules to prove himself worthy of it. In the end, Trey did pretty well and was allowed to keep it. Aegis is not listed among the characters for New Warriors season 1, though, so don’t expect an adaptation of this storyline anytime soon.
13 Their Mistake Killed Hundreds Of Kids…
It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, and that’s exactly what ended up happening during the comic book New Warriors’ stint on TV. While filming the second season of their hit reality series, the team ended up fighting a battle that they couldn’t win in front of a huge TV audience: the supervillain Nitro exploded, and hundreds of civilians – including a school full of kids – lost their lives.
This is what happens when small fry heroes get a taste of stardom and want to take on bigger and bigger battles even though they’re not ready for them. (Again, you can see similarities between this plot point and Spider-Man: Homecoming.) Before it got to the point where a major explosion happens in a public place, the New Warriors should have called in the Avengers. However, they didn’t want to look incompetent with the cameras watching.
Again, it's easy to imagine a dramatic event like this finding a place in the real-life New Warriors TV series. A slice of hubris leading to a major tragedy sounds like perfect season finale material. It would show how much these heroes have to learn.
12 They Were Kicked Off The Comic Book Civil War
In the comics, the New Warriors’ tragic battle with Nitro became known as ‘The Stamford Incident," and it was the instigator of the Civil War conflict between Iron Man and Captain America. In the wake of the disaster, the government wanted superheroes to register with them and reveal their secret identities, which Steve Rogers wasn’t in favor of.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: Civil War forged its own path, using the Avengers’ fight against Crossbones in Lagos for a similar plot-starting purpose. There’s no way that the New Warriors TV series will be able to adapt the fallout of Stamford exactly as it happened in the comics, then.
Instead, the show – presuming that it's set in the modern day – will probably start at a point where The Sokovia Accords already apply, and any superheroes that don’t align with the government will be considered criminals. This could throw up drama of its own, of course.
11 They Once Battled Iron Man’s Rogue Armour
Shortly after the Iron Fist team-up, the New Warriors were thrust into another adventure involving iron: they went up against a haywire Iron Man suit, which had gone rogue and sentient and violent. It was another bad day for the team.
Tony Stark’s invention proved to be more than a match for the New Warriors team of the day. They were promptly defeated, and Nova might have been killed if it wasn’t for the suit’s programming. Tony Stark was put into mortal danger, and the suit flew off before sacrificing itself to save its creator.
Again, this sounds like it could be a fun premise for an episode of New Warriors. You wouldn’t need Robert Downey Jr to actually appear – a stuntman and a CGI suit could probably do a decent job. However, New Warriors will probably have to prove itself before Marvel lets them play with the big boys.
10 The Team Is A Really Weird Bunch
When Marvel announced the official line up of heroes for New Warriors, only hard-core comic book fans would’ve recognized most of the names. Squirrel Girl – who is strong, acrobatic and has power over squirrels – has a certain amount of name recognition, but the rest of the crew come firmly from the left field.
Mister Immortal was described in the official Marvel info as a “charmingly grumpy” bloke that “literally can’t die.” Night Thrasher is a “local celebrity hero” who doesn’t have powers but does have “his very own YouTube channel.” Debrii is a “low level telekinetic” and something of a “trickster”.
Also on the team is Speedball, who “loves the idea of being a hero” and can “launch kinetic balls of energy.” Then there’s Microbe, who “can talk to germs” to the point that he’s nearly telepathic. Apparently, “the germs tell him where you’ve been, what you ate and who you hung out with." It should be quite interesting to see this group interact.
9 Their Base Was Destroyed In A Gang War
The New Warriors don’t spend all their time meeting gods. Since the first iteration of the team was introduced in 1989, they’ve gone on to dabble in heroics both local and galactic. In the 1990s, for example, they stepped in to try and defuse an NYC gang war.
In a similar way to Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming, the New Warriors were worried to see Brooklyn thugs wielding high-tech weapons. (In this instance, the futuristic weaponry was supplied by AIM.) They tried to cut off the supply of arms, only to end up in the firing line. Their base was destroyed, and one of their members went into hiding after killing a gang member during a battle.
On TV, New Warriors seems to be firmly pitched as a comedy, so it might not be wise to expect stories like this to play out. However, having said that, Marvel has surprised viewers in some big ways before – so who knows?
8 The Show Is Unlike Every Other Marvel Series
It’s worth taking a moment to think about this: Marvel’s New Warriors is a half-hour comedy series. It’s a sitcom, essentially, but set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (That same Marvel info page mentions that Speedball “grew up watching Quinjets take off from Avengers Tower,” dispelling any doubt that New Warriors takes place in the MCU.)
Although the MCU has always offered laughs alongside the drama – from the witty banter of the Avengers movies to Scott Lang getting fired by Baskin Robbins in Ant-Man – it's never explicitly called one of its projects an out-and-out comedy.
New Warriors, then, is a major departure from the norm, and it’s funny to think that the same version of New York that houses the gritty Defenders shows is also home to a girl that talks to squirrels.
DC tried to make a sitcom recently, too, with its workplace comedy Powerless. That series got canceled after just one season, though. However, with actual heroes to play with, hopefully New Warriors will fare much better.
7 The Casting Is On Point (So Far)
Although there will surely be many more names added to the cast in the coming months – the show doesn’t have a villain yet, for one thing – the initial announcement of who will star in New Warriors showed an awful lot of promise.
Leading the charge will be Squirrel Girl actress Milana Vayntrub (above left), who showed an impressive emotional range – and a deft ability to dabble both cutesy fun and serious stuff – in ABC’s family drama This Is Us.
Derek Theler (above right), of Baby Daddy, will probably do a fine job as the undying lay-about Mister Immortal. It’s not hard to imagine Vayntrub bringing the nerdy charm while Theler offsets that with cocksure arrogance.
Rounding out the rest of the core cast are Dear White People’s Jeremy Tardy (as the vigilante Night Thrasher), Austin & Ally’s Calum Worthy (as the Avengers-admiring Speedball), The Comeback’s Kate Comers (as the telekinetic trickster Debrii), and Steven Universe’s Matthew Moy (as the germ-whisperer, Microbe).
There’s some real talent here, which should allow New Warriors to put a strong first foot forward.
6 The Show Won’t Shy Away From The Naff Stuff
Sometimes, you want a live action adaptation of a comic book character to avoid the sillier stuff from their illustrious history and focus on the core drama in a super serious way. (Netflix’s Daredevil seems like the perfect example of that strategy paying off.) On other occasions, though, it’s the weird and wonderful material that fans want to witness. (See: the sheer joy that erupted out of Guardians of the Galaxy.)
New Warriors undoubtedly falls into the latter camp. No one wants to see these characters given a gritty treatment akin to Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four. Marvel should leave the brooding for Netflix, and allow New Warriors to embrace the humor, the oddness, and the silly stuff.
Thankfully, this seems to be exactly the approach they’re taking. According to an exclusive report from USA Today, Squirrel Girl’s ability to “talk to critters” will be present and correct in the show, as will her squirrel sidekick, Tippy Toe. Obviously, it's impossible to have a squirrel sidekick in a gritty drama. This could be a delightfully light-hearted show, and a refreshing change of pace.
5 Nova Is Often A Member, But Isn’t In The Show
Like most comic book superhero teams, the New Warriors has something of a revolving door roster. Over the decades since the team’s debut, many faces have come and gone. Squirrel Girl has never even been a member in the comics, but she joined the team in the Spider-Man: Web Warriors animated series, and seems to be the headliner in Freeform’s live-action show.
The original comic book lineup consisted of Speedball and Night Trasher (both of whom are in the TV team) alongside Firestar (who has microwave radiation powers), Marvel Boy (high-speed flight and telekinesis), Namorita (water themed abilities), and Nova (who uses the Xandarian Wordmind to project and absorb energy).
The first season of New Warriors will be quite different from the first comic book version, then, but these absentee heroes could feasibly be added in for later seasons – rights issues and other Marvel projects allowing.
Nova would be a particularly interesting addition, with his cosmic powers adding a whole new angle. Freeform would need a beefed up budget to handle that, though.
4 Two Of Them Worked At Avengers Academy
In the comics, a few links have been drawn between the New Warriors (generally a younger group) and the Avengers (Marvel’s biggest hitters, obviously). Two members of the original New Warriors team -- Speedball and Justice, the latter of whom is an aged-up Marvel Boy -- even worked at the Avengers Academy for a time.
However, USA Today’s report explains that TV’s New Warriors will not be this far along in their careers. The team will be twenty-somethings, “who yearn to be the next Captain America or Iron Man but learn that making superhero dreams come true can be tricky.” They won't be anywhere near teaching jobs, then.
The New Warriors working for the Avengers could be a fun idea for a later season, though. It’s nice to know that there’s a precedent for career progression, in the comics, which could see the New Warriors cast aging with their roles and their characters gaining extra responsibilities. This is assuming that the show does well enough to justify a long run, of course.
3 They Starred In Their Own Reality Show
In 2005, the New Warriors were given a comic book relaunch, with an interesting new gimmick: they were now starring in their own reality TV show, which put them firmly under the microscope and in the public eye. In a world stuffed with superheroes, it makes sense that some of them would get lucrative TV deals and end up highly scrutinized as a result.
It sounds like the New Warriors TV show will take some inspiration from this, albeit with a more modern spin. The mention on Marvel's website of Night Thrasher being a “local celebrity” with a YouTube channel certainly suggests that the gang’s adventures will be screened online for all to see.
Plus, in the first official promo picture, the show’s central heroes are surrounded by screens and cameras. Perhaps New Warriors will be a bit like The Office or Parks & Recreation, then, with its characters being constantly filmed -- in a documentary sort of style -- offering their thoughts to the camera. This could be a recipe for lots of laughs.
2 They Have A History Of Time Travel
Several of the New Warriors died in The Stamford Incident, including Night Thrasher. The character’s brother then adopted the mantle of Night Thrasher, assembled a new team, and decided to travel back in time and change the events that ended his sibling’s life.
Of course, things didn’t go to plan. The new team ended up in a dystopian future, which had the original Night Thrasher at the head of an evil dictatorship. In the end, the team managed to avert this scary future, and upon returning to the present, decided to disband.
This is quite a farfetched idea for the TV version of New Warriors to tackle. It certainly wouldn’t be wise to expect time travel and dystopian futures in the first season of the show. Still, this is proof that New Warriors stories can go to some dark places.
1 They’ve Teamed Up With Iron Fist...
Earlier on in the comic book history of the New Warriors, the team was involved in a team-up with Iron Fist. Night Thrasher was working with Danny Rand, aka The Immortal Iron First, to battle The Hand, which was when things took a turn...
The Hand kidnapped Iron Fist, and Night Thrasher called in the other New Warriors to help sort the situation out. However, by the time that the team tracked him down, The Hand’s Junzo Muto had completed a ritual to steal Iron Fist’s powers. The mission wasn’t a total failure, though: Danny’s powers were lost for a time, but Night Thrasher and the New Warriors did succeed in saving his life.
If the New Warriors show does well and becomes a fan favorite, perhaps Netflix will be interested in sharing characters and letting a crossover like this play out on screen. Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Cloak & Dagger would probably be first in the queue for team-ups, though, since New Warriors is being broadcast by Freeform, which also hosts Cloak & Dagger, and is a sister network to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s home, ABC.
New Warriors premieres next year. Can you think of any other interesting need-to-know facts about the team? Leave your thoughts on what the show should include in the comments!