The Creator of Veep and the Director of Skyfall Are Making a Superhero Comedy for HBO

“Superhero” and “comedy” are two words that aren’t always the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups of SFF storytelling. The combination can be great! But it’s rarely a sure thing.

But when you have “superhero” and “comedy” and “cowritten by Armando Iannucci,” well, that combination is quite promising. According to Variety, HBO has ordered a pilot episode of The Franchise, a series about superhero movies with a concept from director Sam Mendes (Skyfall, 1917) and a story co-written by Iannucci.

Iannucci is probably best known in the U.S. as the creator of Veep, but he also created HBO’s Avenue 5 (pictured above) and the biting British political satires The Thick of It and its movie spinoff In the Loop, which provided one of my favorite moments in film: Peter Capaldi saying “Fuckety-bye.”

The story for the pilot of The Franchise was written by Iannucci, Jon Brown (Succession), and Keith Akushie (Siblings); producers Brown and Akushie wrote the script, and Brown will be the series’ showrunner. Iannucci is also an executive producer, and Mendes will executive produce and direct the pilot. Variety describes the show thusly: “It follows a hopeful crew trapped inside the dysfunctional, nonsensical, joyous hellscape of franchise superhero movie-making. If and when they finally make the day, the question they must face — is this Hollywood’s new dawn or cinema’s last stand? Is this a dream factory or a chemical plant?”

No casting or release date has been announced.


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