Production on Marvel Studios’ first project of the new year, Agatha: Coven of Chaos, kicks off next week in Atlanta and after months of unofficial announcements, the studio worked with THR to unveil the talent working on the streaming series. Tucked away in that announcement may have been one of the studio’s most important new castings in relative newcomer Miles Gutierrez-Riley. As the slow march toward a Young Avengers project continues, Gutierrez-Riley may be filling the role of one of the last remaining original members of the team.
In October of 2022, a pair of casting calls for Agatha: Coven of Chaos seemed to indicate that Marvel Studios was set to introduce two founding members of the Young Avengers: Billy Kaplan and Teddy Altman. While the casting of Joe Locke as the “witty”, “astute fanboy” momentarily made absolute nobody Nicholas Scratch everyone’s favorite character, it’s much more widely accepted now that he’s playing Billy Kaplan, aka Wiccan. The case for Locke as Wiccan is significantly strengthened by the presence of a pair of casting calls for Jewish parents, a description matching Billy’s parents from the comics and accepting Locke as Wiccan goes a long way toward making the case for Gutierrez-Riley as Hulkling, assuming he’s been cast in the other role revealed in October.
That role called for a gay actor 18-20, described as “a kind soul” with a “great sense of humor” who is totally in love with his boyfriend and has an athletic build. While Gutierrez-Riley doesn’t hit the age range (he graduated from Fordham University in 2020), the age ranges have always served as guidelines and Marvel Studios has routinely reached outside of them when they find the right fit. To that end, Gutierrez-Riley, who was a Denzel Washington Scholarship Recipient at Fordham before landing role in Amazon’s The Wilds and director Sanaa Lathan’s On the Come Up, certainly could fit the bill.
Whether or not that role is Teddy Altman/Hulkling, of course, is a different matter entirely as is the nature of that character in the MCU. In the comics, Hulkling is a Kree/Skrull hybrid with a powerful heritage on both sides. As the grandson of Skrull Emperor Dorrek VII, Teddy (Dorrek VIII) is heir to the Skrull empire; as the son of Kree hero Mar-Vell, Teddy carries on a legacy valued greatly by the people of Hala. Marvel Studios has made a series of choices, however, that all but eliminate any of that background. Dorreks don’t exist yet in the MCU and Mar-Vell had no super powers nor was she a revered hero of Hala, so short of creating an entirely new backstory for Teddy, it seems that being Wiccan’s boyfriend (and likely being able to shape-shift) is the role for the time being. Of course, with Secret Invasion and The Marvels coming in 2023, there’s still time to add a little more depth to the Kree-Skrull War and give Teddy something more to do.
Agatha: Coven of Chaos is currently slated to stream on Disney Plus in late 2023 or early 2024.