Hit-Monkey Let Marvel Be Weird Again, But Will It Be Renewed For Season 2?
In the post-COVID rush of movies and television series, some will naturally fall through the pop culture cracks. While all eyes are on Marvel Studios’ movies and upcoming Disney+ series, the relationship between Marvel Television and Hulu continues. A remnant of a bygone time in the larger Marvel Entertainment company, Marvel’s Hit-Monkey is a Hulu original that the storytellers hope gets renewed for season 2. However, whether this happens has far more to do with internal Disney corporate politics than the quality of the show. Because Marvel’s Hit-Monkey is an entertaining five or so hours of television. It’s the kind of weird, ludicrous concept that comic book stories do best.
By a happy coincidence, Marvel’s Hit-Monkey also stars a very hot actor right now in a much different role than he’s hot for. We all fell in love with Ted Lasso, which just finished season 2 and is already renewed, and Jason Sudeikis plays Bryce in Hit-Monkey. The former hitman who is now a ghost connected to the titular ape, has the fast-talking affability of Lasso, but he’s just a terrible person. He does kill people for money, after all. While I will forever love the MCU for being a bright, hopeful world without harsh violence, that doesn’t mean there’s not a place for those stories. This is one of them. It’s also stupid weird.
We’ll dive into the Marvel Entertainment politics that may prevent Marvel’s Hit-Monkey from being renewed for a season 2. However, the series deserves another go round to tell its stories. The monkey, played by voice acting legend Fred Tatasciore. Is a truly loveable character. Sudeikis’ Bryce is fun, too. This cartoon is not for kids, but for adults who like anime, action movies, kung-fu flicks, and strange circumstances.
Why Marvel’s Hit Monkey Should Be Renewed for Season 2
Image via Hulu
If we’re being brutally honest (and, in fairness, a little spoiled), the best thing about Marvel’s Hit-Monkey is that it’s not connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While it is an interesting idea that Marvel Studios has control of almost all their characters and all live-action adaptations, there is a loss. The checkered record of Marvel Television is what it is, but we got some delightfully weird and goofy stuff. And, I remain steadfast in my assertion that even the most serious, grounded comics adaptation, still needs to be a little goofy to work. For example, Gotham wanted to be timeless and gritty, but instead it became a kind of campy horrorcore goofball of a show. (And every episode was fully entertaining.)
Marvel Television was not afraid to get weird from time to time. One only need to watch ten minutes of any episode of Legion to see what I mean. Bryce and Hit-Monkey are not characters who should work on a TV show. On paper, like literally the comic book page, the narration and the interactions with Bryce make for compelling protagonists. Yet, the storytellers found a way to translate their relationship to an animated medium. Sure, a lot more people speak “monkey,” thank you might expect, but let’s not nit-pick when we’re this far in.
Also, the storytellers involved seem hopeful that the series could continue. Creators Josh Gordon and Will Speck seem to suggest that despite the corporate shake-up, Marvel Studios in no way curtailed their creativity. (Well, they wouldn’t allow them to use Bullseye, opting instead for Lady Bullseye.) Still, in an interview with the two, they are hopeful the show will go on, and they have multiple seasons planned.
“Will Speck: “We don’t have any future plans, in terms of no commitments, but in terms of a bible for the next 10 seasons, we have it very handy if you’d like to hear about it. ”
“Josh Gordon: “Certainly the second and third seasons were enormously detailed and drawn out. We wanted the first season to work as its own complete meal and it really does sort of operate almost like an extended feature in that way, where it has a very strong beginning, middle and end and it does stand alone. But in terms of where these characters would go, including Lady Bullseye, there’s a lot to be had there.”
I suppose the question of whether or not you think Marvel’s Hit-Monkey should be renewed for season 2 depends on whether or not you, like the executives who make these decisions, buy-in to the story. It’s weird. It’s violet. And even the internal logic of the thing is a bit loose-y goose-y. But it’s fun, and sometimes that’s all that matters.
Why Hulu Probably Has No Choice but to Cancel the Marvel Television Production
Image via Hulu
Only revealed in the trades by “sources with knowledge of” various things and the rumor/leaker internet, Marvel Television and Marvel Studios didn’t get along well with each other. Some say it was friction between Kevin Feige and Jeph Loeb. Others say that Feige hated dealing with Ike Perlmutter, a certified wackadoo who owns a significant stake of Marvel. Either way, the proposed blending of the MCU through movies and television, with Agents of SHIELD, never really materialized. Some things, like Daredevil on Netflix remain MCU-adjacent, but mostly Marvel Television did its own thing. In fact, Hit-Monkey was part of the Next Big Thing™ from Marvel Television, but then the plans were scuttled with most of Loeb’s unit.
Three Marvel Television projects, all for Hulu, have come out since. There is the poorly-received Helstrom, the stop-motion animated MODOK series, and Hit-Monkey. Marvel Studios has all live-action TV locked down, so Helstrom is definitely over. The other two series’ fates are less certain. Disney+ is faring well with original content from Star Wars and Marvel, but Hulu is a Disney property, too. It’s also known as the home for edgier fare, like Reservation Dogs and Handmaid’s Tale. So, these adult-themed Marvel shows allow them to have their corporate synergy and the MCU/Disney+ exclusive, too. Loeb is a producer on both shows however, and he reportedly left Marvel Television. So, it’s possible without him they can’t go forward.
Still, what remains of Marvel Television is focused on animation. If these particular series don’t come back for a second season, there’s still hope that more strange Marvel shows might be tested out on Hulu. Either way, for as much as I love the MCU, I appreciate Marvel Television for keeping things weird.
Marvel’s Hit-Monkey is currently available on Hulu.
What do you think? Do you think Hit-Monkey should be renewed for season 2? Do you think corporate politics will get in the way? Share your thoughts, theories, and reactions to the show in the comments below.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.