Howard the Duck is hardly the best-loved movie based on a Marvel Comics character, but it was the first, and star Tim Robbins still thinks there’s something lovable about it. The film was the first live-action theatrical feature based on a Marvel character released in North America (it was preceded by the 1944 Captain America Republic serials, the 1978 Japanese Spider-Man short film from Toei, a handful of television movies in the late 1970s). Robbins stuck up for the film in an interview with Yahoo! “To be honest, I think there’s a lot of charming things about that film,” Robbins says. “George Lucas had just done Star Wars, it was a lot of money, it was on location and I think it was the first film that the Marvel Universe did. So on paper it felt really great!”
Released in 1986, Howard the Duck stars Robbins, Lea Thompson, and Jeffrey Jones. Willard Huyck directed the film and Gloria Katz produced. Huyck and Katz wrote the screenplay intending for it to be an animated film, but it became a live-action feature instead. George Lucas served as executive producer.
In 2015, Thompson stated that she felt no shame about the critically-panned box office bomb, though she expects Marvel may have a different perspective. “I think they would stay as far away from me as possible,” Thompson said when asked if she’d return in a reboot or sequel. “They would probably want to reinvent the franchise. I think they wish that movie would go away so that they could do it again without all the hoopla about Howard the Duck. But so many people love that movie, I’m not embarrassed about it.”
Howard the Duck made his return to the big screen with a cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. Voiced by Seth Green, Howard returned for a second cameo in 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. He even showed up for the Battle of Earth in this’ year’s big finale to the Infinity Saga, Avengers: Endgame.
Howard’s next leading role will be in an animated series from Kevin Smith headed to Hulu. The series is one of four animated shows that fill crossover for The Offenders limited series.
How do you feel about the original Howard the Duck movie? Would you like to see Howard get a new Marvel Studios movie? Let us know how you feel in the comments section.