Hulu's upcoming Marvel series Helstrom is officially confirmed to not be included in the MCU. Helstrom was developed when things were very, very different for Marvel television shows. Along with the now-scrapped Ghost Rider series, Helstrom was created at Marvel Television. However, a corporate restructuring saw Marvel Television get absorbed into Marvel Studios proper, with MCU boss Kevin Feige taking over the television shows. Now, all previous Marvel TV shows have come to an end, leaving Helstrom entirely on its own. Nevertheless, Hulu is still moving forward with the series, which will premiere this week.
Helstrom follows siblings Daimon (Tom Austen) and Ana (Sydney Lemmon), children of a dangerous serial killer, who together fight against the very worst of humanity and the demons (sometimes in the literal sense) who lurk within. While based on the Hellstrom family from Marvel Comics, the show has made some changes to its characters. Still, make no mistake: Helstrom is definitely a horror series, and one that's timed perfectly with Halloween. In addition to Austen and Lemmon, Helstrom stars Elizabeth Marvel, Robert Wisdom, June Carryl, Ariana Guerra, and Alain Uy.
As with any Marvel project, particularly on the television side, fans have frequently wondered if Helstrom takes place within the MCU. That question was finally answered by producer Paul Zbyszewski during a recent interview with FanboyFactor: Helstrom is not set in the MCU. "We are not tied to the MCU. We are our own separate thing," Zbyszewski said. He also called it "freeing." However, fans can still expect some Marvel Easter eggs; just not ones for the larger MCU. Zbyszewski explained, "There are Easter eggs in the show for sure, but they're more towards that Helstrom universe, and that Ghost Rider universe."
This likely won't come as a major surprise to fans. After all, the Marvel logo was conspicuously absent from Helstrom's trailers, and the MCU is gearing up to release its own television shows on Disney+. As an unapologetically horror-centric story, Helstrom doesn't quite fit within the brighter, more optimistic MCU, so it makes perfect sense that Marvel would opt to let Helstrom be its own standalone thing.
This could either work in Helstrom's favor or against it. On one hand, the Marvel TV shows have been able to reach new creative highs when they aren't bound to the MCU, as shown with Agents of SHIELD. This ensures Helstrom won't be required to shoehorn in references to the Avengers or conform to major events from the movies. However, on the other hand, the lack of a Marvel tag might prevent certain viewers from giving Helstrom a shot. It can still pull in horror fans, but by not featuring many Marvel ties, fans could be more inclined to give it a pass. Helstrom makes its Hulu debut tomorrow, and its success (or lack thereof) will be shown through whether it gets a second season.