It's been almost a year since we first learned that Netflix will bring Matt Wagner's Grendel to live as an eight-episode TV series for the streaming platform. There hasn't been much news, but in a new interview, series star Julian Black Antelope says the series is going to please comic book fans and newcomers alike. The series, which has decades of history and various iterations of its titular hero, features one of the most visually striking characters Dark Horse has ever published, and a story so popular it would not only spawn numerous spinoffs, but cross over with characters like Batman.
Grendel was the masked identity of Hunter Rose, a successful author who moonlighted as an assassin, and intended to mete out vengeance to New York's criminal underworld, before eventually realizing that with his skills and resources, he could simply take it over instead. Later stories featured the adventures of Christine Spar, Hunter's posthumous biographer, assuming the identity of Grendel to pursue a mission of revenge, and later those of her boyfriend Brian Li Sung, who didn't last long in the role, and whose story didn't end well.
"It blew me away, Matt Wagner's comic has been around since I think the early '80s, 1982-83, somewhere in there," Antelope told Screen Rant. "It's come out with so many different versions of Grendel, different iterations of it over the years, and it's got this fan base that I wasn't even aware existed. I don't want to say too much about this right now, but I can say if you're a Grendel comic fan out there and you're familiar with the comic, you will not be disappointed in the series at all. And if you are not a Grendel fan and this is a first-time thing for you, I guarantee you that if you watch it, you will not be disappointed at all. It's got everything, I feel very blessed to be part of the project. That's what I can say. I don't want to talk too much about it, I don't know what I'm allowed to say and what I'm not. [Chuckles]"
Originally debuting in 1982's Comico Primer, the character appeared in a series of comics between 1983 and 1992, with occasional returns to the world of Grendel since, including a crossover with Batman, spinoffs by other comics creators at Dark Horse, and a novel by Greg Rucka. The original hero, Hunter Rose, is most likely to be the lead in the Netflix series, although other characters in the world have taken lead in the years since Rose's original story.
After Rose, Wagner would share writing and art duties with other creators, with the Grendel identity affecting a variety of people. The name Grendel took on several meanings, as the stories portrayed a dystopian future, and eventually became a synonym for The Devil, with the title held by the emperor of the world (Grendel-Khan) and members of a samurai-like society of warriors. For years, Wagner returned to the stories of Hunter Rose on the rare occasion he came back to Grendel at all. In 2019, though, he released Devil's Odyssey, returning to the dystopian future of Grendel-Prime.
Abubakr Ali (Katy Keene) is set to star in the title role. Grendel will be written and directed by Supernatural's Andrew Dabb. The series' cast includes Jaime Ray Newman (The Time Traveler's Wife) as Jocasta Rose, Julian Black Antelope (The Flash) as Argent, Madeline Zima (Californication) as Liz Sparks, Kevin Corrigan (The Get Down) as Barry Palumbo, Emma Ho (Star Trek: Strange New Worlds) as Stacy Palumbo, Erik Palladino (Watchmen) as Teddy Ciccone, Brittany Allen (What Keeps You Alive) as Annabelle Wright, and Andy Mientus (The Flash) as Larry Stohler.