The Unmade TV Pilot Hidden in 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'

In 2015, Marvel was close to making its first sitcom.

Sony Pictures

In 1988, as the brooding Modern Age of comics began to kick off, Marvel Comics did something a little different. In the pages of Marvel Age Annual #4, artist Ernie Colón and the late Dwayne McDuffie (who later created the Emmy-nominated animated series Static Shock) created an organization known as Damage Control. A ragtag construction firm headquartered in New York’s Flatiron Building, Damage Control cleans up the destruction left behind by superheroes and supervillains. Envisioned by McDuffie as a sitcom-equse comic within the Marvel Universe, Damage Control was pitched to ABC as a comedy in 2015 with The Daily Show producer Ben Karlin shepherding its development. And then, things … got quiet. That is, until Spider-Man: Homecoming.

In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) heads a salvage firm to clean up the mess left behind by the Avengers from the Battle of New York. But because of the sensitive alien technology that’s just laying around the place, the U.S. government and Tony Stark create the Department of Damage Control, a clean up-and-contain operation that used to exist within the top secret organization S.H.I.E.L.D. And so Toomes and his firm were fired, giving Toomes the motivation to suit up as the Vulture.

Throughout the film, Vulture steals wares from Damage Control, which leads to a fight with Spider-Man. In fact, it’s Damage Control’s warehouse where poor Spidey ends up trapped for a hilarious 37 minutes.

Marvel's 'Damage Control' #1

Marvel Entertainment

Spider-Man: Homecoming isn’t the first time Damage Control has appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, the firm has been around since the very beginning in 2008’s Iron Man, when the organization mentioned in throwaway lines of dialogue. Years later, in 2016, Damage Control made a more formal appearance in a Season 3 episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

But Damage Control was supposed to have their own show by now. Since the announcement back in 2015, there have been no updates on the show’s production status. Presumably, it’s in limbo, maybe even outright rejected, a fate that befell Marvel’s Most Wanted, a rejected spin-off of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The newest Spider-Man movie doesn’t appear to be bothering to act as a backdoor pilot for Damage Control, but the organization is fleshed-out enough to maybe make another appearance later on.

As of late, Marvel seems to be putting more of energy into its new Freeform shows Cloak & Dagger and New Warriors, the latter of which will also be a superhero sitcom. Perhaps one day, Damage Control will finally come back to clean things up. These superheroes are always making a mess.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is in theaters now.

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