The writing may already be on the wall for Hulu’s Helstrom series, the last live-action TV show produced by Marvel TV before Kevin Feige took full control. THR reports that overall deals have been terminated with The Punisher showrunner Steve Lightfoot and Helstrom‘s Paul Zbyszewski, due to belt-tightening caused by the global pandemic.
Lightfoot’s case isn’t really surprising. He served as showrunner for two seasons on Netflix’s The Punisher before that show was canceled in 2019. He doesn’t have much of a relationship with Marvel beyond that.
Zbyszewki is interesting, though, because his relationship with Marvel stretches back further as an exec-producer on Agents of SHIELD. However, he is also the guy behind the upcoming Marvel series, Helstrom, which managed to complete production before the coronavirus shut everything down. As the final show from former Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb (all of the others such as Ghost Rider and Howard the Duck were canned) it’s always looked like a target was on Helstrom and that it may only last a single season. This move to end Zbyszewski’s deal seems like a move in that direction.
As for how Marvel can unilaterally terminate contracts like this, it all comes down to the “force majeure” clause, which grants “studios increased latitude to make decisions that are motivated by an unforeseeable incident like the novel coronavirus.”