Back to the Future star-turned-director Lea Thompson, who headlined 1986’s live-action Marvel Comics adaptation Howard the Duck, pitched her reboot starring the anthropomorphic duck to Marvel Studios — and they “loved it.”
“It was the first Marvel movie, and now there’s a whole Marvel universe. And to put Howard the Duck in this Marvel universe when they have the special effects that can back it up would be amazing,” Thompson said at Fan Expo Canada.
After going public with her passionate campaign to sell the Disney-owned studio on trying their hand at a new Howard the Duck film over the summer, fans hoping to see Thompson’s take on the character tweeted at Marvel — and “Marvel took a meeting with me,” Thompson said.
“I worked on the pitch for a really long time and I had the help of [modern Howard the Duck comic book creative team] Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones and they had done a run of Howard the Duck, the last run of Howard the Duck, and they put me in it, Lea Thompson,” Thompson said, saying Zdarsky and Quinones wanted to be “super meta” by inserting the real-life actress and not her big-haired Howard the Duck rock singer character, Beverly Switzler.
“And it was really great, so I asked them for help and Joe drew some drawings and Chip and I worked on the pitch and we did it in Marvel and they really liked it,” she said. “They loved it, actually. But they were like, ‘We have no plans for these things, and we’re doing the streaming thing, and we’ll call you back.’ So tweet away, guys!”
Thompson added “it was a very good pitch.”
“You guys would love the movie,” she said. “It would do Howard proud.”
Marvel revived the character for cameo appearances in Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, set in the connected Marvel Cinematic Universe, where Howard is a cigar-chomping CG-created fowl voiced by Family Guy star Seth Green.
Howard nearly had a third cameo in Avengers: Infinity War, where he would have been interrupted by Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) while playing an intergalactic game of poker with The Hangover and Community star Ken Jeong.
Director Anthony Russo said the “really good” scene, dropped from one draft of the script, was “much-beloved” but “it just didn’t end up fitting at all.”
Howard the Duck could emerge as a future series on Disney streaming service Disney Play, which is already eyeing big-budget series for both trickster demigod Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and troubled Avenger Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).