Marvel Cancels Two Overall Deals With Showrunners

Marvel has terminated its overall deals with showrunners Steve Lightfoot and Paul Zbyszewski. The news comes from The Hollywood Reporter. The report suggests this is the first sign of the coronavirus pandemic having an effect on Marvel's film and television wing. Marvel declined to comment on the news. Lightfoot was the showrunner for both seasons of Marvel's The Punisher on Netflix. The show got canceled a year ago as Netflix and Marvel went through their break up period. Zbszewski is the showrunner on the Hellstrom series headed to Hulu. The show wrapped principal photography before the coronavirus began causing industry-wide shutdowns. Zbszewski will remain in through the first season's post-production process.

Lightfoot's time at Marvel was brief. Zbszewski's time at the company goes back further. He's been there since it launched its first live-action series Agents of SHIELD, which wraps its seven-season run beginning in May. Jeph Loeb helped develop Agents of SHIELD. Loeb headed Marvel Television before it became part of the purview of Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige. Zbszewski's Hellstrom is one of the last vestiges of Loeb's time in charge that remains. The Ghost Rider series announced alongside Hellstrom never happened.

"Something that really interested us and interested them, and we always knew that we were going to do something with Ghost Rider, we were just waiting for the right place to put it," Loeb said at the time they were announced. "Then we started having the same conversation, which was there is in the comic book world the Spirits of Vengeance, and they are this sort of unusual group of characters, which involve Ghost Rider, which involves Helstrom, which involve Helstrom's sister, Anna. We suddenly saw that there were three or four shows that we could put together that we now refer to as Adventure into Fear."

Marvel Studios has felt the effects of the coronavirus as well. The Disney+ spinoffs of Marvel Studios films, which are the new focus of the television wing, have paused production. The first of them, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, was close to wrapping with plans to debut later this year. Others waiting in the queue include WandaVision and Loki.

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These shows may suffer a domino effect of release delays like what's happened with the upcoming Marvel Studios film releases. Black Widow should have opened on May 4th but moved to November 6th due to the coronavirus. That's The Eternals release date, but that film moved to February 12, 2021. That pushed Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings back until May 7, 2021. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness moved to November 5, 2021. Thor: Love and Thunder move to February 18, 2022.