As Howard the Duck trended on Twitter thanks to his brief appearance in the trailer for Marvels animated What If...? series, Lea Thompson, star of the original big screen outing for the web-footed hero, wanted to jump on the social media train to remind everyone of her offer to direct a reboot of the 1986 movie as part of the MCU. The actress posted on the social media site, to give Marvel a what if proposition of her own, and it is fair to say there are some people who would be very happy if Kevin Feige did take her up on the offer.
Thompson posted, "I see #HowardTheDuck is trending #3. That's awesome. #i love my duck #WhatIf I get to direct @Marvel reboot." leading to many showing some love for Marvel's original big screen release, which also turned out to be their biggest flop. From the post and the reaction though, it appears that there are many would be fully on board with Thompson bringing Howard properly into the MCU, and although we never say never, there is always still a cloud hanging over the character despite his recent resurgence in MCU cameos. This is not the first time Thompson has mentioned the possibility of bringing Howard back to the screen, as in 2018 she pitched a remake idea to Marvel, which she said at the time had been well received.
For those who have somehow managed to have missed the greatest marvel movie that never was - for most people at least - let us take a quick trip back to the 80s, when a little known duck became the first live action character from Marvel to get a big screen outing.
Having been created by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik back in 1973, Howard was quickly developed into a character that was often used for the purpose of social satire or parody, but over the course of his history he had crossed paths with many other superheroes including Iron Man and, possibly more intriguingly, She-Hulk. In 1986, after many TV movies based on Marvel comics, it was Howard who was chosen as the first character to have a full theatrical release by LucasFilm. The movie was originally conceptualized as an animated feature, but soon developed into a live-action movie that would use an actor in an animatronic suit to portray the title character, while the villainous Dark Overlord seen in the movie's climax was done with stop-motion animation.
The movie starred Lea Thompson, in between her Back To The Future stints, a new to the industry Tim Robbins, Jeffrey Jones and Ed Gale in the title role, with music by John Barry. On paper, it seemed like the movie just couldn't fail, but for many it didn't just fail but became such a misfire that the movie was re-titled as "Howard: A New Breed Of Hero" in some countries to save on the turkey jokes. Rotten Tomatoes currently has the film standing at a 14% approval rating, and a 4/10 score, making it the lowest rated movie in LucasFilm's history. When the movie was released, many of the stars felt they had to quickly do other films to get out of the shadow of Howard, with Lea Thompson taking a part in Some Kind of Wonderful, which she had previously turned down.
In the years that followed, Howard would become the perfect embodiment of a cult classic. While I personally put it in my top ten films list, the movie has been listed as one of the costliest flops of all time. The movie has since received special edition releases, and continues to be loved by a select group of individuals as it approaches its 35th anniversary this year.
He was brought back into the Marvel fold in Guardians of the Galaxy, when he appeared in the post credit scene as one of The Collector's oddities. Howard has since appeared in the final battle of Avengers: Endgame and in Guardians 2. His latest appearance now seems imminent with What If...? and while Marvel has previously dismissed ideas of a Howard solo movie, the advent of Disney+ could well see that change. What is more interesting is that Howard has appeared in a number of comics alongside She-Hulk. Could he make an appearance in the She-Hulk series? If so, remember where you heard it first.
Whatever happens, it seems that Howard is definitely here to stay, and while his MCU iteration is closer to his comic appearance and a world away from the 1986 movie version, I know I am not alone in hoping that someday we do see him get the chance to waddle on his own two feet, and if that comes with Lea Thompson's involvement, then all the better. This news comes to us from Comicbook.