modok agents of shield

M.O.D.O.K., the Marvel Comics character whose name is an acronym for the Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing, has never appeared in any officially-produced live-action projects. But the bizarre-looking character actually came close: he almost showed up as a villain on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but Marvel ended up revoking the show’s permission to use him before they could work him into the series. Read the showrunners’ comments below about this MODOK Agents of SHIELD connection that never came to pass.

Agents of SHIELD wrapped up its unlikely run this week, bringing the show to an end after seven seasons. There’s a great exit interview over at The AV Club with showrunners Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon and executive producer Jeffrey Bell, and while I’d recommend hardcore fans head that way and read the full article, there’s one segment of the conversation that I want to highlight here just for the “WTF” factor: MODOK was nearly a villain on a primetime American network series.

“We had a lot of ideas where we were—and I’ll say this, I don’t care—we were given the green light originally to use certain characters from Marvel, and started to break story based on those characters—[Coughs.] MODOK—and then they retracted it,” Bell explained. “So there were a bunch of things that were going to get a little batshit crazy that were above our pay grade, in terms of the toys we were allowed to play with.”

Just in case you aren’t a huge comics fan and don’t understand the magnitude of what we’re talking about here, M.O.D.O.K. looks like this:

Imagine your grandparents flipping through the channels on a Wednesday night and randomly seeing a live-action version of that on their TV screen. Man, I wish we lived in that world.

And it sounds like we came very close – until Marvel pulled the rug out from under the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. showrunners and rescinded its permission to use the character. The big question is: what made them change their minds? Is it just because of the M.O.D.O.K. animated series that’s still in development over at Hulu, with Patton Oswalt voicing the title character? Or is it because the company has plans for the character elsewhere in a live-action capacity?

In the comics, M.O.D.O.K. has clashed with the likes of Captain America and Ms. Marvel, and while it’d be tough to imagine Marvel Studios dropping this character into its upcoming Ms. Marvel series, it’s equally difficult to picture a scenario in which Marvel execs were ever OK with the idea of a giant floating head appearing on a mainstream network TV series. Who knows what’s going on behind the scenes over there and if we’ll ever see this guy in live-action, but that M.O.D.O.K. Hulu series is expected to debut sometime this year.

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