Marvel is kicking butt and eating nuts with the launch of a scripted “Squirrel Girl” podcast that serves as a continuation of the comic book series from Ryan North, Variety has learned exclusively.
The six-episode SiriusXM podcast series titled “Marvel’s Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Radio Show,” which stars Milana Vayntrub of AT&T-ad fame as Doreen Green/Squirrel Girl and is written by North, debuted across multiple platforms on Monday. The podcast is produced by Radio Point, the podcast arm of “I Think You Should Leave” and “Life & Beth” production company Irony Point.
Here’s the official description for the “Squirrel Girl” podcast: “Squirrel Girl has taken down Thanos and Doctor Doom — but now she faces something far more terrifying… living authentically. The new series follows Empire State University college student, Doreen Green, who has recently been outed as a super hero — The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl! Hoping to unify her personas in the public eye, Squirrel Girl has created a new student radio show on ESU’s own college station. With the help of her best girl-friend, Nancy Whitehead as producer, and her best squirrel-friend, Tippy-Toe in the booth; Doreen is ready to help more people than ever with her greatest super hero advice. And when the going get rough, she can always lean on her heroic friends: Iron Man, Spider-Man, Chipmunk Hunk, Koi Boi and Brain Drain.
However, with a call-in show comes caller anonymity and not all the folks on the line want help – some want to crime – and crime hard! When a suspicious caller wreaks havoc on New York City, Squirrel Girl and her friends will have to put their heroics to the test and prove that once and for all Doreen Green is the uneatable Squirrel Girl.”
“Marvel’s Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Radio Show” is directed by Giovanna Sardelli, and has original music by Justin Huertas and Steven Tran. Along with Vayntrub as Squirrel Girl, a part she previously voiced for the animated “Marvel Rising” series, the podcast features performances by Crystal Lucas Perry (Nancy Whitehead), Leo Sheng (Koi Boi), Davied Morales (Chipmunk Hunk), Erica Schroeder (Tippy T. Squirrel), Tina Benko (Rachel Oskar) and Peter Hermann (Brain Drain).
North’s comic series “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” had a four-year run and garnered a devoted fan-following. Per Marvel, “like the comics, the podcast series has Squirrel Girl’s same uber-positive, fun-loving tone that fans have come to know and love.”
“From the very first pitch for ‘Squirrel Girl,’ the first issue, I wanted the comics to be accessible so that if you don’t have 50 years of Marvel knowledge, you can still enjoy it, hit the ground running, and not feel like you’re left out,” North told Variety. “And that ended up being a real big part of the book. We’d have these cards that explained the villain’s powers, so every reader can be like, ‘I don’t know who this villain is, but here’s this panel saying his origin, his powers, his weaknesses.’ And it was such an efficient way of getting the storytelling across. So for this podcast, I wanted the same thing, where if you had been reading the book for five years, this picks up right where it left off. But if you have not, you’re not going to show up and feel like you’ve missed something or you’re lost or you’re just clueless as to what’s happening — with the other added wrinkle that I know a lot of people’s experience with Marvel has been through the movies. So the three tiers are like, continue the comic, make it accessible to new readers, and also people who have only ever seen the movies, let’s try to make it click with them as much as possible, too. The main idea was, let’s not contradict them if we don’t have to. So Tony Stark is alive, we changed that because I love Tony Stark and I’m not killing him off in the podcast. But everything else is made to make it easy and familiar and accessible.”
For fans who want more of North’s Doreen Green beyond the podcast, the author wrote an all-new “Squirrel Girl” vertical comic tie-in which launches today on Marvel Unlimited, Marvel’s digital comic subscription service. The “Squirrel Girl” one-shot, which is a prequel to the podcast, is now available on the app in the Infinity Comics format.
“Doreen has an optimism that’s not based in naiveté,” Vayntrub told Variety. “Her optimism is grounded in fairness and trust and justice. I think she — like me and in a way, she’s more of who I want to be like — really believes there is good in all people and that justice is not punishment, but justice is restorative and it’s about people taking accountability and it’s becoming better versions of themselves. People do harm because they are lacking in resources or in love in some way. And she is hilarious because of her honesty and her bluntness and her ability to see the best in people. It’s more of who I want to be like, and I feel like, after a few hours of playing her, I like channel her and then can bring that into my life.”
The first episode of “Marvel’s Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Radio Show” is available now on all podcast platforms. Fans can get early access to next week’s episode starting today via the SXM App or by subscribing to Marvel Podcasts Unlimited on Apple Podcasts, which also has exclusive bonus content. Future episodes will be available exclusively via the SXM App and Marvel Podcasts Unlimited for one week before being available widely on Pandora, Stitcher and all major podcast platforms in the U.S.
See a trailer for the podcast and key art for the comic and the podcast below.