Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley mingled at ABC’s block of the Television Critics Association Press Tour, primarily to talk about American Crime, which is up for 10 Primetime Emmys including Outstanding Limited Series and a writing nod for Ridley. But when you’re working on a highly classified show based on character(s) from the Marvel universe, you must be vigilantly prepared for Marvel-related grilling at all times. And Ridley was certainly prepared, deflecting requests for even the most rudimentary information with the reflexes of a cat who is thought of as being especially agile by his peers in the feline community.
“The only thing I can say about it is that I’m really in love with that project,” said Ridley. “I continue to give Marvel and ABC credit because within their system they’re still trying to bring in other voices. I’m in the development stage where I get down on my knees and pray that it goes forward.”
Ridley would not elaborate any further, nor would he confirm if a finished pilot script has been turned in. But he was willing to say that the scuttlebutt around his nascent project is as wrong as wrong can be.
“My only connection to social media is my lovely wife, who is dialed in, and I can tell you that 99.99999 percent of everything that was put on social media was so phenomenally off-the-mark,” Ridley said. “Not to be arcane, but the rumors are truly off-the-mark. But it’s in a fun way. I’m just glad to be part of the conversation.”
Said conversation stemmed from speculation on Reddit, with internet prognosticators identifying Kamala Khan, the most recent incarnation of Ms. Marvel and the first Muslim-American Marvel headliner, as the show’s lead character. Then again, said rumor also suggested a Ms. Marvel series was born of ABC’s desire to continue working with Ridley in light of its plan to cancel American Crime at the end of its first season. (Ridley is in fact prepping a second season of Crime, one which will star Andre 3000 and, uh, might be kind of controversial.)
So the Ms. Marvel rumor isn’t true, unless Ridley really doesn’t understand how percentages work. If Ridley’s math is to be believed, that also eliminates a reimagined Incredible Hulk and a Cloak & Dagger series, two Marvel properties also frequently mentioned in rumor-mongering about Ridley’s project. But at least those have been crossed off the list, so there are only a few hundred other possibilities to go through before the central character is identified. Viva process of elimination!