In 1986, George Lucas's Howard the Duck (opens in new tab) movie bombed at theaters, but it has become a cult favorite in the intervening decades as the first Marvel Comics-based movie. Now, exactly 35 years later, one of the movie's stars, Lea Thompson, is once again discussing her desire to reboot the movie as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - with herself in the director's chair.(opens in new tab)
On July 8, following a cameo from Howard the Duck in the trailer for Disney Plus' streaming What If…? animated series, Thompson tweeted her desire to direct a Howard reboot for the MCU (opens in new tab), stating "I see Howard the Duck is trending #3. That's awesome. I love my duck #WhatIf I get to direct Marvel reboot."
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab), Thompson revisits a pitch that she created alongside Marvel Comics writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Joe Quinones, who co-created a fan-favorite Howard the Duck (opens in new tab) comic book title from 2015-2016, to help formulate her concept.
"Joe Quinones did some of the art for the pitch because he and Chip Zdarsky did the last run of Howard the Duck comic books," Thompson explains to THR. "Chip and I worked together and came up with a really great pitch."
For those not in the know, Howard the Duck is an anthropomorphic duck with a sardonic, everyman attitude who made his way into the Marvel Universe back in the '70s (we even named him the best Marvel character to debut in 1973 in our Marvel Yearbook), and who has become something of an unlikely mascot and POV character over the years thanks to his satirical adventures.
"Marvel liked the pitch, but they have different plans for the different characters," Thompson continues. "I still think I could do a really good job because I feel like I am the one who really understands the fans, both of the movie and the cartoon."(opens in new tab)
At one time, Marvel's other plans for Howard the Duck involved a Hulu animated series which would have included Thompson reprising her role as Beverly Switzer from the film. Back in 2018, when she first broached the topic of rebooting Howard the Duck on film, she stated at Fan Expo Canada that the pitch she, Zdarsky, and Quinones developed was "super meta," explaining that at one point she would have played herself in the movie.
"I worked on the pitch for a really long time and I had the help of 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," she explained (via (opens in new tab) ComicBook), referencing Zdarsky and Quinones' Howard the Duck #9 (opens in new tab), which included Thompson herself as a character.
"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," Thompson stated at the time. "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!"
Sadly, Zdarsky has tweeted (opens in new tab) that he and Quinones can't show any of their pitch document or art for the film - but perhaps it'll see the light of day someday.
Now that the "streaming thing" - presumably the Howard the Duck Hulu animated show - is likely canceled, what are the chances that Thompson could get her wish to be part of a new Howard the Duck film? Stranger things have happened - especially when Howard is involved.
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