A New HBO Comedy Series Will Skewer Superhero Movies

Hollywood satire The Franchise comes from Veep creator Armando Iannucci and Skyfall director Sam Mendes.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
A camera operator films Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange.
The making of superhero films such as Doctor Strange will be at the heart of a new HBO comedy.
Image: Marvel Studios

It’s not uncommon to see a superhero so powerful that a bullet can’t get through their skin. Soon though, the whole genre is going to need skin that thick because Armando Iannucci is coming for them.

The man behind such genre send-ups as Veep and Avenue 5 (season two when?), as well as similarly satirical feature films The Death of Stalin and In the Loop, has just scored a pilot order for a new HBO show called The Franchise. Directed by Sam Mendes (Skyfall, Road to Perdition), it’s a half-hour comedy set in the world of superhero franchise filmmaking. Jon Brown (Avenue 5, Succession) is the showrunner.

According to Deadline, The Franchise “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?”


So many film fans and filmmakers love to talk about how the rise of superhero films in the past 15 years has marked the end of cinema as we once knew it. One would imagine that idea has to be at the core of Iannucci’s show: what it might feel like to be making movies that the general public loves, but that you yourself might not. Or how it might impact someone who feels like they’re bearing some responsibility for changing the face of film history one franchise sequel at a time.

Of course, that The Franchise only has a pilot order means it may never see the light of day. HBO executives will have to watch the pilot and decide if they want to invest in more episodes. But the idea of Mendes directing Iannucci’s biting humor in the world of superhero films is too rich to ignore.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.