After actresses like Anna Kendrick and Stranger Things star Shannon Purser took to social media to express their interest in playing Squirrel Girl in a Marvel movie, the obscure character exploded in popularity, and it was only a matter of time before a Squirrel Girl movie or TV show took shape. Earlier today, Freeform announced it was issuing a straight-to-series order for a new Marvel TV series entitled New Warriors, with Squirrel Girl the only character confirmed as part of this team thus far. Shortly after the series was announced, a new contender arose for the role. Arrested Development and Parenthood star Mae Whitman. Earlier this morning, just hours after the New Warriors series was announced, Mae Whitman took to Twitter, with the following statement.
"wahhh I wanna be squirrel girl wahhhhh #whine #want #squirrel."
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news about this New Warriors TV series this morning, which is the second Marvel TV show for the network behind Cloak and Dagger, which was given a series order last April. The site also spoke with Karey Burke, Freeform's executive vice president of programming and development, who revealed that Anna Kendrick and Shannon Purser have been mentioned as possible candidates to play Squirrel Girl, but it's too early to tell who will land the role. Now that Mae Whitman has thrown her hat in the ring, it could become a more competitive field for this coveted role. Karey Burke also revealed that they had actually pursued a stand-alone Squirrel Girl show before they locked in Cloak and Dagger last year. Here's what she had to say below, while addressing the competitive bidding situation the network was engaged in with other cable and streaming outlets for this project.
"It was super competitive as everything is right now. We were already in business with Marvel on Cloak and Dagger, which was our first foray with them. We had chased Squirrel Girl before Cloak and Dagger and Marvel had said they would let us know when they were ready to do something with it. Our head of development wore her Squirrel Girl hat in the pitch, which may have put us over the top. We've been longtime fans."
New Warriors will follow a team of six heroes, but Squirrel Girl, a.k.a. Doreen Green, is the only one who has been announced. Doreen has been described as a totally empowering fan girl, who is also a tough, optimistic and a natural leader. Doreen is confident and has the powers of a squirrel, meaning she's acrobatic, can fight and talk to other squirrels, but her most important trait is that she has faith in people and teaches them to believe in themselves. Karey Burke said that they know who the other five characters are that will round out this team, but they aren't ready to announce those characters quite yet. Today's announcement also revealed that Kevin Biegel (Enlisted, The Real O'Neals) will write the pilot script for what will become Marvel Studios' first live-action comedy series. When asked about Kevin Biegel's take on Squirrel Girl, Karey Burke had this to say.
"We were big fans of Enlisted and were excited when Marvel put him together. Marvel and ABC Studios had made that marriage before it came to Freeform. He has a great love for all the characters that are populating the show around Squirrel Girl. He has a deep respect for Squirrel Girl. Her greatest weapon is her optimism, and this is a character who could easily be made fun of, but she's written so lovingly that we were thrilled when he was packaged with it. When he came in and pitched it, he understood her importance in the world and as hopefully an iconic heroine for audiences."
Cloak and Dagger was originally slated to debut this year, but now Freeform is eyeing a winter 2018 debut. The cable network is also eyeing an unspecified time frame in 2018 for New Warriors, with Freeform ordering 10 30-minute episodes. The series is co-produced by Marvel Television and ABC Signature Studios. Marvel's Jeph Loeb (The Punisher, The Defenders), and Jim Chory (The Punisher, The Defenders) serve as executive producers on the series. Take a look at Mae Whitman's tweet below, expressing her interest in playing Squirrel Girl.