A year ago this month, word got out that Netflix was eyeing Matt Wagner’s Grendel as its next big Dark Horse Comics adaptation. In fact, the streaming service already ordered an eight-episode first season with Andrew Dabb in place as showrunner and executive producer. Abubakr Ali was also chosen to headline the show as Hunter Rose, the original Grendel from Wagner’s comic book series. Unfortunately, Netflix seems to have had a change of heart. Deadline reports that Netflix is no longer moving forward with the series.
Wagner began publishing Grendel in 1982. The series introduced Hunter as a successful author who also led a double-life as the titular masked character. As Grendel, Hunter worked as an assassin who later assumed command of New York City’s organized crime. His mantle was eventually passed down to other characters, including Christine Spar and Brian Li Sung. Wagner most recently returned to the Grendel universe with Devil’s Odyssey, which released its eighth and final issue last year.
Netflix inked a first-look deal with Dark Horse Entertainment in 2019 following the success of The Umbrella Academy. With this, it seemed like Grendel would be safe from cancellation at any stage. But given their recent subscriber losses, Netflix might be taking a more careful approach. Dabb was also the showrunner of Netflix’s Resident Evil series. The negative critical response and subsequent cancellation of that show may have played a role in Grendel’s fate as well.
It also sounds like Netflix is taking lessons from Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO Max. Because apparently, Grendel had already finished shooting by the time Netflix handed down its verdict, making this a “rare decision” on their part. Regardless, the show isn’t dead yet. The producers now have the option to shop the series to other networks and streaming platforms.
Grendel’s supporting cast included Jaime Ray Newman, Julian Black Antelope, Madeline Zima, Kevin Corrigan, Emma Ho, Erik Palladino, Brittany Allen, and Andy Mientus. Ali’s casting also would have made him the first Arab Muslim male actor to headline a series based on a comic book. For now, it remains to be seen if another studio will give him that chance.
Are you said to hear that Netflix canned its live-action Grendel series? Are you hopeful that the producers will find it a new home? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Grendel Omnibus Volume 1: Hunter Rose
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