Eternals, Jack Kirby

Development news: Marvel taps writers for Eternals movie; Howie Mandel teases Bobby's World revival

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May 15, 2018

If you're into cosmic-scale Marvel Studios blockbusters or weird '90s cartoons, or both, today's development news has something exciting in store for you.

First up is the big screen news, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter. Remember a few weeks ago, as Avengers: Infinity War was on its way to box office glory, when Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige teased that Jack Kirby's Eternals was something the studio is "actively beginning to have creative discussions about" as a potential franchise? Well, apparently it's more than discussion. According to THR's report, the studio has tapped Matthew and Ryan Firpo to write an Eternals script, moving that project into active development.

Created by Jack Kirby upon his return to Marvel Comics in 1976, the Eternals are a race of superpowered beings created as the result of experiments performed on early humans by the Celestials (the impossibly old and powerful godlike beings only briefly glimpsed in the MCU thus far). The experiments granted the Eternals incredibly long life and extraordinary abilities, but also isolated them from much of ordinary humanity, even as they protected humankind from the grotesque Deviants, who were also a result of Celestial experimentation. Over time, they built hidden cities on Earth, and some Eternals even moved off planet to colonize worlds like Uranus and Saturn's moon Titan.

Though they're an important part of Kirby's legacy, carrying on many of the ideas he brought to DC Comics with his Fourth World Saga, the Eternals have remained in relative obscurity for much of their history. Their last ongoing series was cancelled in 2009, and many moviegoers have likely never heard of them. This is Marvel Studios we're talking about, though. If they can get the world to buy into Rocket Raccoon, a new group of ancient superbeings shouldn't be a hard sell with the right approach, and the Eternals could even serve as a strong substitute for the Inhumans, which Marvel intended to introduce in a film before shuffling them off to a short-lived TV series.

The Firpos, for their part, are best known for Ruin, a screenplay about a former Nazi captain who goes on a journey of redemption to hunt down the SS squad members he once served with. The script made it to the top of the 2017 "Black List" of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood, and has even attracted the interest of stars like Gal Gadot. Ruin put some serious heat on the Firpos, so much so that now Marvel has added them to an ever-growing list of up-and-coming screenwriters brought in to work on potential future franchises. 

Right now this is just a screenplay order. That doesn't mean we'll see the movie anytime soon, or that the Firpos will be the only writers to work on the movie. There's a long road between here and seeing Eternals on the big screen, but we'll keep you updated as we learn more.


Bobby's World

The small screen news today is a little less definitive, but it's exciting if you're from a particular generation of cartoon viewers. For a few years now, Howie Mandel has been teasing a potential revival of his animated children's series Bobby's World. Mandel confirmed to Entertainment Weekly on Monday that he not only still has hopes for the future of the series, but that he's actually got something in the works.

“I haven’t told anyone this, but I’m working on it. I’m working on it right now,” Mandel told EW at the NBC Universal Upfronts Presentation on Monday. “I have a meeting on Wednesday. I’m keeping my finger’s crossed. That’s what I want to do. Let’s hope — write something about it and maybe it’ll happen.”

Bobby's World debuted in 1990 and ran for eight season on Fox Kids. Created by Mandel, who also voiced the title character (based on a character he developed for his stand-up act), the series follows a young boy named Bobby Generic, whose overactive imagination leads him into all manner of adventures. Though he has parents, Bobby imagines his own origin story as the ruler of a land called "Bobbyland," where he often goes in his mind. He also has the habit of taking everything literally, so common expressions adults use can be transformed into elaborate fantasies for the viewer. 

Like many cartoons of its era, Bobby's World has since found a new life and potentially a new audience through streaming services, including Netflix and its current streaming home of Amazon Prime. Mandel has not elaborated on his upcoming "meeting" or how close he is to getting the show back off the ground, but the Bobby's World concept could still hold together with the right creative team and still work when put in front of the right audience. We'll let you know if Mandel makes any more headway there.