Soon fans will be able to get even more of Wolverine, but not in the way you're probably expecting.
Marvel and Stitcher Premium have teamed up for a new scripted podcast called Wolverine: The Long Night, which will tell a serialized story over 10 episodes (via Mashable). The Long Night will star Richard Armitage (Hannibal) as Logan, and the show will kick off in Spring of 2018 on Stitcher Premium, but will eventually be available on all Podcast platforms.
CEO of Midroll Media (Stitcher's parent company) Erik Diehn is excited to pair classic Marvel characters with the Podcasting platform. “Podcasting is an incredible, intimate medium that's perfect for telling stories, and I can’t think of a better partner with whom to push the boundaries of scripted podcasts than Marvel,” Diehn said. “They make every translation of their rich universe of characters into new media fresh and interesting while still retaining the feel and spirit of the original comics, and, as a Marvel fan, I’m proud that we’ve helped them do it again in podcasting. The arrival of Wolverine and his many fans to podcasts and Stitcher is truly a signal that this medium is a major part of the American media landscape.”
Writer Ben Percy compares The Long Night to crime centered podcasts like Serial and S-Town, though it will also have elements of shows like True Detective. The story will revolve around two agents named Sally Pierce (Celia Keenan-Bolger) and Tad Marshall (Ato Essandoh) who head to Burns, Alaska to investigate several murders. They join local deputy Bobby Reid (Andrew Keenan-Bolger) to find the main suspect, who turns out to be none other than Logan.
"There are all these broken pieces that are being fitted together, and a shifting set of suspects, and every episode, you learn more and at the same time, recognize that you've been mistaken all along. It functions like a turnstile of mysteries," Percy hints.
Wolverine's fractured mind plays right into this building mystery and is the reason he headed to Alaska in the first place.
"Because he's been mind-wiped again and again, he doesn't know the whole terrible truth about his life. Part of the series is him recovering those memories and despite his attempts to separate himself from society, getting drawn into a situation where frontier justice is called for."
The Long Night will also tease a few more fantastical elements tied to Alaska itself. "It's very easy to turn up the volume on reality there. In addition to the crime investigation into the serial killer on the loose, there are also elements of the fantastic. And some of them have to do with Wolverine as his legend grows in this area, as people observe him bounding through the mists with packs of wolves; as they witness him save and end lives," Percy said. "I'm also drawing from the Native legends in the area and from cultish mythology. There is a compound set up outside of the town of Burns, Alaska, where the Aurora cult is located. And it's unclear at first whether they are implicated in the murders that are occurring here and whether they might have powers, as they purport to — a connection to and a control over the fabric of light that plays over the winter skies."
In addition to being able to easily interact with fans, the podcast format also allows a deeper analysis of Wolverine as a human being according to vice president and head of platforms and content for Marvel New Media Dan Silver.
"What I love about him for this specific space is he's one of our most complex characters, just in the way that he's been depicted and evolved in many different iterations in the books," Silver said. "But this space allows us to explore him as a person. When you strip away the visuals of the claws and the chops and the hair and all of that stuff and you really get a chance to explore the mind and the actions through words, he's a really interesting type of character. And I think this is a Wolverine that our fans haven't necessarily 'seen.' And it's very exciting for us to explore all the different nuances of him."
While it won't have visuals, The Long Night will still grab your attention with its impressive audio. "We're attempting to provide an audio experience that feels very much like if you just turned off your television screen, but left the sound on," Silver said. "It's very dynamic, it's very real, it's very raw, and it's made for what people would expect from Marvel."
Percy also teases that this universe won't end with Wolverine.
"We have a fun opportunity here, and that's to create our own continuity. A continuity that will grow more and more expansive as the Marvel Podcast Universe expands," Percy said. "There are glimmers that people will recognize, references to Weapon X and wartime Logan, Japan and past relationships that he's had. But he himself is not able to really work through his moth-eaten memory until the conclusion of this first season."
As for Richard Armitage's involvement, all it took was someone mentioning his name to see it was the right fit.
"You think about when you read the comics as a kid: what was the voice that you heard in your head? And it was a lot of fun to sit in a room and have those conversations about, 'Is it gruff enough? Is it playful enough? Does it just sound like Hugh Jackman?'" Silver said. "And then, all of a sudden Richard's name came up and everybody closed their eyes and it was like that moment when you all picture everybody hearing it in their head, and you went, 'Oh, yeah, of course. That would be amazing.' And yeah, he is — he's perfect."
Wolverine: The Long Night hits in Spring of 2018.