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The Real Reason Hulu Just Canceled Helstrom

Helstrom is canceled, and no one would blame you if you hadn't even realized that its one (and now only) ten-episode season had been unceremoniously dropped on Hulu back in October. Marketing for the Marvel series bordered on non-existent, and given the overall state of Marvel TV (with the company focusing massive amounts of attention on Disney+), it's likely many people assumed the series had already been canceled prior to its release.

Helstrom is about Daimon (Tom Austen) and Ana Helstrom (Sydney Lemmon), the children of a serial killer who work together to take on the worst of the worst. The series was announced at the same time as another Marvel show about classic character, Ghost Rider. That series, which would have seen the return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. character Robbie Reyes, didn't even get off the ground. 

Of course, Ghost Rider wasn't the only Marvel show to be canceled before Helstrom's debut. The Runaways, The Gifted, Cloak and Dagger, and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have all gotten the axe, as did every Marvel series at Netflix. And the real reason for Helstrom's cancellation is pretty much the same as all those other shows — just ask Jeph Loeb and Kevin Feige.

Kevin Feige is the future of Marvel TV and Helstrom isn't

While it certainly does not help that Helstrom's Rotten Tomatoes rating presently sits at a very rotten 27%, this Marvel series was likely effectively dead on arrival even if it was a critical darling.

Prior to late 2019, the creative voice behind a lot of Marvel television was Jeph Loeb. If you sit down and look at the 2010s era of Marvel, virtually every single show has Loeb's producing fingerprints on it. Unsurprisingly, after setting the tone for modern superhero shows with his work on Smallville and Heroes, Loeb has worked on virtually every live-action and animated Marvel show, right up until the upcoming Patton Oswalt-starring cartoon M.O.D.O.K.

But things changed in late 2019 when creative control switched to MCU movie head honcho Kevin Feige. The understanding more or less immediately was that Feige wanted to rebuild Marvel television in a way that connected it more tightly with the MCU — that's why all those Netflix shows (even the ones people loved) all got canned at roughly the same time.

Helstrom is part of the final vestiges of Loeb's vision for live-action Marvel TV. The best case scenario for Daimon and Ana Helstrom would've been that they were such a huge hit that they turned up in an MCU movie in the future, which just might happen with Charlie Cox as Daredevil in Spider-Man 3. But after its underwhelming reception, Helstrom simply never had a chance in Feige's Marvel world.