Friday, June 21, 2024

Marvel: Howard the Duck Returns, for a Second, As “Guardians” Readies for Record


No, Howard the Duck is not back. Not really. Marvel’s answer to Disney’s Donald Duck makes a cameo appearance in the end credits sequence of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The press was not shown this cut, but word seeped out quickly. New York Magazine’s Vulture put up a clip, and was quickly admonished to take it down. Marvel fans went into a frenzy. What could this mean?

It means…nothing. It’s just a clever riposte at the end of a very clever movie. There will be no Howard the Duck movie in the future. The only existing Howard the Duck movie was one of the great — colossal– failures of the 1980s. At the time, it cost an enormous $37 million (really probably $50 million). In the US it took in only $16 million.

And the whole thing was a George Lucas production, the only real complete failure on Lucas’s intra-stellar resume. “Howard” was directed by Lucas’s protege Willard Huyck. The screenplay was by Huyck and Gloria Katz, who’d worked on almost everything in the Lucas-Spielberg pantheon. But this was not meant to be. At the time, “Howard” was a very sore joke in Hollywood.

But bravo to the “Guardians” team. Howard sipping Champagne is a snappy end note. “Guardians” is going to go through the roof this weekend. Howard’s appearance is a reminder of what Marvel was, long ago, in another universe.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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