New Warriors was the Marvel comedy series originally set to bring several starring heroes of the titular team, and a comics-renaissance-era Unbeatable Squirrel Girl to Freeform. After ABC moved the show from Freeform, it quietly disappeared into limbo and was eventually cancelled. Now, many years later, we finally have a beautiful glimpse of what could've been and allegations about why it didn't happen.
Kevin Biegel, the former showrunner, tweeted and then quickly deleted a series of behind-the scenes footage and photos from filming the New Warriors pilot. The content was mainly about Milana Vanytrubs Doreen Green (better known as Squirrel girl), as well as her puppeteered version of Tippy-Toe, including a great video of it in action. Biegel tweeted pictures of Squirrel Girl in her costume (a riff on the costume she wore in Ryan North's and Erica Henderson's critically-acclaimed series Unbeatable Squirrel Girl). Biegel also included artwork from which Squirrel Girl & Tippy toe ran ahead of a swarm squirrels. Vayntrub also modelled the Tippy-Toe puppet and a large prosthetic tail for squirrels (in different lighting environments and colors), as well as a furry-eared hairband that matched the one worn in the comics. It was adorable.
We shared the images, but Biegel also spoke out (in a series of now-deleted tweets) about the reasons the show was cancelled. He claimed that a homophobic executive had taken aim at the series because it was very proudly gay.
Biegel wrote that there was a singular power that could kill that show. It was too gay. A rich, straight, Brentwood turd. He was vile in his company and got fired. We, on the contrary, live.
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New Warriors would have been released at a time when Marvels queer representation was still very much in evidence. Even though TV series like Agents of SHIELD and Marvel Netflix were highly praised for including LGBTQ characters, the company's film output at that time was severely criticized for not having any queer characters. The studio has made some improvements over the years, but it still relies on the promises of queerness. What little that has been seen in the interim has mostly been fleeting. It is quite serious that Biegel claimed that the show was specifically a place for queer characters, and that it was later axed. We have reached out to Marvel and will update you if we hear back.
Biegel clarified that the executive mentioned was not Marvel TVs Jeph Löb. He left Marvel in late 2019 when Marvel TV closed down. Instead, he focused on streaming services projects through Marvel Studios. The last years of Loeb's tenure with Marvel TV were marked by notable failures such as the appearance of Inhumans on ABC and repeated accusations of racism on the Iron Fist set. Biegel claimed to be the New Warriors' downfall. Now they are out of the picture. This is our chance to see it beyond these fleeting tweets.
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