But before you get too excited, hold on. If you’re a fan of the New Warriors (and chances are if you’re reading this!), you know that the New Warriors have gone through several iterations since their initial concept. So let’s go over them, shall we?
We have the first iteration of the New Warriors written initially by Fabian Nicieza (and later, Evan Skolnick). Throughout the entire run, The New Warriors featured some hard hitting issues – and I don’t mean hard hitting and hero versus villains; but actual issues. The New Warriors had an entire story arc about the environment, and Eco-terrorists; had an issue dealing with the grey areas of war between two countries; it dealt with child abuse (with one of their own members being the victim); it dealt with divorce, and a laundry list of other such topics. Of course, there were issues where they fought villains, such as the White Queen, Hellions, Terrax, Tai (you have to read it to understand! And it’s so great!), their own unique villains (Folding Circle, Psionex, Star Thief, Mad Thinker, Sphinx, to name a few!) And while the series featured the wise cracking Speedball on the team to lighten the mood, the book was unusually serious and less bumble gum super hero.
When volume one ended in 1996, it would be three years later until the New Warriors resurfaced in 1999, with a team that was a mixture of the previous run, while adding a few new characters. Turbo had been a part of the team off and on, in the previous run; and Nova & Namorita were steady members (though both are seen with new costumes in this volume), as well as Speedball (who has a slightly modified version of his original costume). The new members added to this run are the mutant Bolt (who is dealing with the Legacy Virus) and a brand new character by the name of Aegis. Jay Faerber was the writer for this run; and he clearly was inspired by the original run, as his stories tried to reflect a more serious tone (for example, Bolt who was suffering from the Legacy Virus, was potentially dying from it), and Aegis was a street level hero, who found the magical chest plate (so he was iconic to the kids “int he hood” as it were). Sadly, Jay was not able to complete all the stories he had planned and the series came to an end after 10 issues (11, if you could the Wizard exclusive that was a #0).
The third volume was written by Zeb Wells in 2005. This one was met with mixed reviews when it came out. It featured Night Thrasher (out of his armor and in a new suit), Speedball (in a suit that’s been similar to all his previous ones), Namorita (now with her skin blue again – looking a lot like the character from the Atlantis cartoon, because her hair had suddenly become white and she had weird symbols all over her skin), Nova (back in a version of his original costume) and introduced Microbe as a brand new character (and eventually Debrii, as another brand new character). Both the writing and the art, lend to the comedic story telling found in this six issue limited series; and that’s where the mixed reviews came in. For those that read it, for what it was; it was an enjoyable, if not odd at times, comedic limited series, featuring young super heroes, who wanted to become a part of the craze of reality TV. For folks looking for a continuation of what they had expected from previous New Warriors books found these characters written out of their norm. To add salt to the wound, this series became a very sour point for many New Warriors fans, because it was used later to initiate the Civil War series; when these members of the New Warriors were filming an episode, and clashed with several villains; one of them being Nitro, who ignited himself, killing over 600 people (many of them school children, at a near by school) – this list included several members of the New Warriors including Night Thrasher, Microbe, and Namorita, with Speedball surviving (but later becoming known as Penance).
Kevin Grevioux would pick up the New Warriors writing duties with a new series in 2007. Kevin took several mutants who had lost their mutant abilities after the events of “M-Day” (in which Scarlet Witch uttered the words “No More Mutants” changing the world for mutants across the globe; most of them having lost their powers). This team of depowered mutants were brought together by Dwayne Taylor’s half-brother, Donyell (formerly known as Bandit) who took on the guise of the new Night Thrasher, back in Dwayne’s original Night Thrasher armor. Dwayne was one of the members of the New Warriors to die in Nitro’s blast that killed so many in the events of Civil War. Seeking to find out the truth about Dwayne’s death, he had formed this new team, using technology to give them powers. The stories were a call back to how the original New Warriors had been; with a far more dark and sometimes sinister tone. In the short, 20 issue run, several members of the team were shown to have died (though some have since been seen alive again; because no one stays dead in the comic book universe; just ask Jean Grey). The series ended in 2009.
Christopher Yost would be the latest to take up the mantle, as the writer of the New Warriors. From the start of this series, you could see Yost wanted to bring back what made the New Warriors so loved. The roster only contained two original members: Justice and Speedball. Because at the time, Rich Rider was still “dead” – Sam Alexander, the new Nova was used in the title. He also brought in Scarlet Spider (which was a title he was previously writing and had just come to an end) along with Hummingbird. He created a new character (much like Namorita) by the name of Watersnake who had proclaimed that they had sensed that Namorita was still alive somehow. He also introduced Haechi, one of the humans turned Inhuman (because of the current event happening throughout the Marvel Universe) and gave us a newly introduced Sun Girl (who had just been introduced in Superior Spider-Man Team Up #1). It starts up with some fun between Justice & Speedball fighting the Salem Seven (digging deep with the obscure!), but would go on to become a far more serious story about the High Evolutionary claiming the Celestials are coming and that Earth is doomed. Sadly, Christopher Yost was forced to wrap up the book with the 12th issue (where in the final panel we see Watersnake, as well as Namorita!)
So what’s the deal with the New Warriors on TV?
Freeform (formerly known as ABC Family Channel) has ordered up a live-action adaption of “Marvel’s New Warriors.” The show will center around six young people struggling with their powers. Now, this sounds like something that’s right up the alley with The New Warriors we all know and love, right? Because the original New Warriors was indeed six members: Speedball, Firestar, Namorita, Justice/Marvel Boy, Nova and Night Thrasher.
However, the six members of this TV version of the New Warriors has not been announced as concrete characters; except for one character. Squirrel Girl.
Now you might be saying, “Well, hold on a minute. Squirrel Girl has never been in the New Warriors.” But that’s all right – the New Warriors frequently had new members join their roster throughout the history of their series. Some members even joined “off panel” (such as Ultra-Girl and Slapstick). So there’s no need to panic just yet, right?
Now it’s interesting that Jeph Loeb acknowledges that the New Warriors have always been a fan favorite, by saying, “Marvel’s New Warriors have always been fan favorites, and now particularly with the addition of Squirrel Girl, they are Marvel Television favorites as well.” (However, other than the original volume of The New Warriors, Marvel never seems to give these “fan favorite” titles a chance to finish).
Based on the interview (pieces of it are below), it seems the show’s primary focus is going to be Squirrel Girl & Friends – because everything about the interviews has been about Squirrel Girl as the only revealed “member” of the New Warriors slated for TV. It also feels like they won’t be tackling the more serious issues we saw in the majority of the New Warriors runs (and perhaps going for more comedy type feel, found in Zeb Wells’ limited series run).
So far, Kevin Biegel (who was a writer for Scrubs, Enlisted and Cougar Town) is near to penning a script to serve as the show runner; with the show intended to be a comedy show. The 10 episode series is intended to be 30 minute episodes scheduled for release in 2018, with casting to begin soon.
The general premises is that these six heroes, who are just learning to do things, want to make a difference in the world; but they’re all young heroes, who, throughout the show will be encountering a lot of first time things (first time jobs, first time love, etc.) and Squirrel Girl fits into it because she is described as the tough, optimistic natural leader, who has an uncanny ability to make people believe in themselves.
“Freeform’s mission is to deliver incredible content to young adults and Marvel Television seamlessly aligns with that mission — we couldn’t be more proud to collaborate with them on Marvel’s New Warriors,” said Karey Burke, exec vp programming and development at Freeform.
Below, Burke talks with The Hollywood Reporter about what to expect from New Warriors as well as how it fits in at Freeform.
What makes this the right show for Freeform?
The more we got to know Marvel and the more comfortable they got with us as the home for their young adult IP, these conversations became easier. They started to see our strength with young adults and together we could create a pipeline for content that was specific to our audience that felt younger than what they’re doing at the other channels. I wanted to be in business with Marvel when I first got here but I didn’t want to chase them just to chase them. It was important to both of us to find the right characters that felt like they would speak directly to Freeform’s audience. The Avengers wouldn’t work here but the about-to-be-Avengers works here.
How will New Warriors fit in with the Freeform brand?
This represents an evolution. It’s not that we’re shifting away from something, but toward something that is important. It’s louder. Cable comedies, the hallmark ones, have been single-camera. They’ve been more conceptually distinctive. Knowing that was one of our strategies, this was an easy reach for us. We have another single-cam that we’re starting production on, Alone Together, from Andy Samberg and his company. These shows feel like they belong together. We are a network for young adults but we’re proud we’re No. 1 with young women and we want to find characters who speak to them. There’s a reason we chased Squirrel Girl: she embodies all of that.
Is the plan for Cloak and Dagger still winter 2018? Will these shows launch at the same time? Could they air on the same night? Maybe Alone Together and New Warriors leading Cloak and Dagger?
Yes, still winter 2018 for Cloak and Dagger. But that’s not a bad idea. We’re modeling schedules now as we head into the upfront [on April 19]. That is one alternative. Or we may stick with a comedy night and a drama night as originals that we’re doing now. Or we could not pair them together and have a Marvel comedy on the comedy night and Cloak and Dagger as part of the drama night.
Marvel likes to say that “everything is connected.” Will Cloak and Warriors be connected the way, say, Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter were?
It’s a great question. If you know these two properties, they’re not particularly connected. There are many degrees of separation with where they fall in the Marvel universe. But anything is possible with Marvel. Their tones are so wildly different. Cloak is this angst-filled achingly beautiful heartfelt romantic drama. And Squirrel Girl is a balls-out comedy.
What was Kevin Biegel’s take on the property?
We were big fans of Enlisted and were excited when Marvel put him together. Marvel and ABC Studios had made that marriage before it came to Freeform. He has a great love for all the characters that are populating the show around Squirrel Girl. He has a deep respect for Squirrel Girl. Her greatest weapon is her optimism — and this is a character who could easily be made fun of — but she’s written so lovingly that we were thrilled when he was packaged with it. When he came in and pitched it, he understood her importance in the world and as hopefully an iconic heroine for audiences.
What can you say about the other characters who comprise the New Warriors?
You’ll have to wait and see. We know who they are but I’m not at liberty to say.