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Hulu cancels Helstrom, ending the original live-action TV era of Marvel

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Dec 14, 2020, 2:14 PM EST (Updated)

Helstrom, the supernatural drama series based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, is no more. Variety reports that Hulu has cancelled the streaming series after just one season, putting an end to a key era of Marvel-based television under executive producer Jeph Loeb that stretches back to the launch of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in 2013.

The move comes a little less than two months after the series arrived on Hulu to a mixed reception, at a time when more than a few fans noticed the lack of a Marvel logo anywhere on the show's marketing materials. The series followed title characters Daimon and Ana Helstrom (spelled Hellstrom in the comics) as they attempted to hunt down "the worst of humanity," and was a notably horror-leaning entry in the Marvel television canon. Sadly, we won't get to see what the show might have done with more time on the air, just as we won't get to see the planned Ghost Rider series that was announced around the same time and scrapped before it even got off the ground.

In many ways, though, this news isn't surprising, because Helstrom was the last holdover from the era of Marvel shows developing by Loeb's team at Marvel Television before that division was folded into Marvel Studios under the leadership of Marvel Cinematic Universe mastermind Kevin Feige. Loeb's tenure at Marvel TV led to a live-action small-screen boom for the company in the MCU, beginning with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the wake of the Avengers movie and continuing through an entire streaming shared universe of characters over at Neflix, where shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist drew their own devoted fanbase eager to follow the adventures of the "street-level" Marvel heroes.

Other notable entries in the Loeb era include critical successes like Legion at FX, three celebrated seasons of Hulu's Runaways, Freeform's Cloak & Dagger, and the somewhat forgotten attempt at an Inhumans show. Then there's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which fought through ratings doubts and an audience that was at times confused about its place in the MCU to become something all its own, a seven-season sci-fi epic that turned out to be the only new live-action MCU storytelling we got in 2020 as it wrapped up its run over the summer.

But it was perhaps only a matter of time before Marvel's corporate overlords at Disney saw more value in merging Marvel live-action divisions under one leader, and Feige ultimately won that battle. Late last year Loeb departed from his role at Marvel Television as the division was folded into Feige's Marvel Studios and his role as Chief Creative Officer. That decision was a precursor to Marvel's upcoming major push of Disney+ original series, which includes the upcoming WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Moon Knight, and more. Those shows will all carry direct ties to the MCU, carrying Feige's universe to a new level of influence as the somewhat more freewheeling Marvel Television era draws to a close.

But of course, Hulu is not completely out of Marvel shows yet. There's still the upcoming M.O.D.O.K animated series starring Patton Oswalt, and given Disney's control of the streamer it's also possible that future, less MCU-tethered properties could wind up there. For now, though, Helstrom marks the end of a major chapter in Marvel live-action history.