One of the best things to come with Disney’s acquisition of Marvel Comics has been the way in which television has become a haven for superhero narratives, with a diverse range of stories being told. And finally, that will include one of the greatest obscure characters in the Marvel universe — Doreen Green, AKA Squirrel Girl.
Here’s the catch: Squirrel Girl isn’t getting her own show. Instead, she’s set to be just one of the characters featured in “Marvel’s New Warriors,” a new Freeform comedy that was ordered direct to series Wednesday morning.
Until recently, Marvel’s focus has been on creating narratives for a more adult audience, but there are a few projects in the works via Freeform and Hulu focused on young adults — the upcoming “Cloak and Dagger” and “Runaways,” specifically.
Not every show can be a winner, either financially or creatively. “Agent Carter” was beautifully executed, but lacked the ratings power to go for a third season, and not all of the Marvel series to debut on Netflix are created equal. Squirrel Girl, however, makes for a unique presence on screen, to say the least.
As far as characters go, Squirrel Girl might seem a bit ridiculous on the surface, but that’s only if your ability to appreciate nut puns has been diminished by a cynical world. The character is described by Freeform in an official release as “a totally empowering fan girl — tough, optimistic and a natural leader. Doreen is confident and has the powers of a squirrel … She’s acrobatic, can fight and talk to other squirrels. Her most important trait is that she has faith in people and teaches them to believe in themselves.” But that barely scratches the surface of her cheery badassery.
Comics fans have been raving for a chance to see Squirrel Girl in action on screen for years, and to find out why, you might check out the ongoing Marvel series “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” written by Ryan North. It’s a delightful, joyous read filled with wit and humor. As drawn by artist Erica Henderson, Squirrel Girl bounds about the frame of the comics, accompanied by her loyal squirrel friends and unfailing good humor. Think the anti-Jessica Jones. No insult meant to the moody P.I., but it’s refreshing to see a heroine who’s both powerful and, dare we say it, happy.
In the animated realm, Squirrel Girl made minor appearances on Disney XD’s “Ultimate Spider-Man” — in her initial introduction, she took out the Juggernaut with an assist from her squirrel army. (She also referred to the Juggernaut as “the Juggernut.”) In short, she’s an exciting character unlike any other on TV, which is why it’s disappointing that Marvel may be only featuring her in “New Warriors,” but not as a single protagonist. Instead, the series will focus on a team of six young superheroes (including Doreen) experiencing what the official release describes as “that time in your life when you first enter adulthood and feel like you can do everything and nothing at once – except in this world, bad guys can be as terrifying as bad dates.”
We’ll have to see how the show balances the to-be-determined other characters. But even if she has to share the spotlight, we’re excited to see how a young actress like Margaret Qualley, Maisie Williams, Mae Whitman, Tara Lynne Barr, Amandla Stenberg, Herizen Guardiola, Shanice Williams, Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, or Nichole Bloom might rock that tail on screen.