Cancelled Before It Began: Marvel’s Most Wanted (2016)

By | February 21, 2019

Our ongoing look back at sci fi / fantasy TV shows that were cancelled way too soon or pilots that never made it to series.

With the recent announcement that ABC is not going forward with its female led superhero series, it’s worth taking a look back at another Marvel show the network passed on a few years back.  Marvel’s Most Wanted would have been a spin-off from Agents of SHIELD and would have followed the characters Bobbi Morse (aka Mockingbird) and Lance Hunter who had recurred on that series.  Following is the logline that gives for the pilot:

Two ex-spies and ex-spouses who are on the run with no friends, no S.H.I.E.L.D. and a long list of enemies looking to claim a bounty on their heads. Able to trust no one but each other, Bobbi and Hunter form an uneasy alliance with Dominic Fortune, a rogue adventurer with a wealth of resources and even more adversaries, who agrees to protect them so long as they help him with his own agenda. These two heroes will help anyone in need, all while trying to uncover the conspiracy that put their own lives in jeopardy.

Morse and Hunter had bowed out of Agents of SHIELD in show’s third season in preparation for the potential spin-off series.  Development had actually begun the year prior with a short, proof-of-concept reel and the original thinking was that the show might might make it to the mid-season 2015-16 schedule.

ABC passed at that point but kept the project in development and the buzz was that it had a good chance of getting the greenlight for the 2016-17 season.  In fact, at one point it looked like ABC could have four Marvel shows on its schedule with the comedy Damage Control in the works (based on the comic book of the same name about a team who cleans up after superheroes) and rumors that AoS and Agent Carter would both get renewed.  That did not seem like a likely scenario, though, because of the tepid ratings that the latter two shows had been pulling.  But Marvel’s Most Wanted looked like a good bet because of the popularity of its central characters (Deadline Hollywood claimed the series pickup to be a “no brainer”) and it seemed like a less costly option than Agents of SHIELD to keep a Marvel Universe tie-in on television.  But instead, ABC decided to cancel Agent Carter and pass on the two pilots (Damage Control apparently did not even make it to the finals round for the pilots) and keep AoS going. ABC exec Channing Dungey had the following to say about passing on the pilot

Most Wanted, ultimately at the end of the day, did not feel as strong as some of the other pilots that we shot. We talked about it with Marvel and we all came to an agreement that we want to figure out what the next show is that we do together, is something that we all feel is as creatively strong as it can be.

MMW definitely looked like a promising addition to the MCU shows that ABC had going, and seemed to have sparked a lot of interest, but sadly never made the leap to series. There were talks about retooling it, but nothing substantial ever came from that.  Agents of SHIELD is still airing on the network and Lance Hunter has made a few return appearances on the show (with Adrianne Palicki also having expressed in interest in returning). With the Disney+ streaming service scheduled to launch later this year, it’s not impossible that MMW could get another shot at a series on that platform. But short of a raucous fan campaign, this one seems almost certainly relegated to television footnote status. (You can read more about the development of Marvel’s Most Wanted at its Wikipedia entry.)

Aired: Never Aired

Developed By: Jeffrey Bell, Paul Zbyszewski

Starring: Adrianne Palicki, Nick Blood, Delroy Lindo

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