John Ridley: My Scrapped Marvel TV Series Was About the Eternals — and ‘So F–king Weird’

After almost nine years, we now have clarity about — and closure for — the mysterious Marvel TV series that Academy Award winner John Ridley started developing for ABC back in 2015.

Back when the project was first leaked, it was said that Ridley was “reinventing an existing Marvel superhero character or property” for ABC, but zero details ever followed.

Until now.

As a guest on the Jan. 2 Comic Book Club podcast, Ridley was asked about said Marvel series. After pondering for a second if he ever signed an non-disclosure agreement — then surmising, “What are they going to do, fire me for the work I’m not doing?” — Ridley confirmed that the project is “not in the works anymore,” but “was a television version of the Eternals.

“But good,” he added.

Ridley proceeded to describe his take on the celestials eventually brought to life in the tepidly received 2021 feature film as “so f–king weird,” and repeatedly contextualized that “but good” comparison.

“There was my version, a good version, which is good to me…. which doesn’t mean anything,” he told the Comic Book Club podcast hosts. Eventually, “There was the version that [Marvel] ended up doing which… I don’t think that version was particularly good — I’ll be honest — and for all kinds of reasons.”

Ridley shared that his series pilot opened with a kid in his teens holding a power drill, then turning it on, putting it to his ear… and pushing in. “And then I think you see another kid who has to sleep in the bath tub…,” he continued, before acknowledging what we’re all thinking right now: “It’s just a really weird story about these people.

“It was good to me, dot-dot-dot, which also means very little,” Ridley reiterated. “The stuff I like is the first stuff that gets cancelled.”

In retrospect, Ridley — who in recent years has exec-produced the Guerrilla and Five Days at Memorial miniseries, and has an untiled Alicia Keys project in pre-pro at Showtime — acknowledged, “I probably wasn’t the right person for it and I probably couldn’t make it what it needed to be.

“It’s a really hard property” to adapt, he explained. “The best thing that happened for everybody was that it didn’t happen with me, because it would have been entertaining to me. What’s entertaining to me is often not populist, which is great for a lot of the work I do, but this needed to be more popular.”

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