You may be the smartest, fastest, toughest, or strongest person out there, but there’s no escaping the fact that joining a team is often a beneficial and necessary aspect of life. That doesn’t mean being part of a team is easy, though. You must put aside individual differences and learn to trust and support your teammates. Doing that is especially difficult when your teammates are volatile engines of destruction and arrogant geniuses.
That’s just what several of Marvel Comics’ best and brightest heroes did in Season One of the Marvel animated series, “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.” Over the course of 26 episodes, the Avengers became a close knit fighting force capable of taking on armies of gods and giants. In the final episode of Season One, something occurred that may shatter the bonds between the team members just as they’ve gelled together. The event in question was Captain America’s replacement by a shape shifting Skrull doppelganger. What does this mean for the dynamic of the Avengers in Season Two? And what sorts of obstacles, adversaries, and allies will they come face to face in the new season? For the answer to these questions and more, CBR News spoke with the show’s head writer and story editor (not to mention comics veteran), Chris Yost.
CBR News: Chris, how does it feel to have Season One of “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” finished and to be prepping Season Two for release?
Chris Yost: Season Two is actually done. We’re just waiting to schedule it at this point. With the “Avengers” feature film coming up, I think they want to make sure the road to the film is just perfect. So when we come back it’s going to be huge.
And I couldn’t be more proud of Season One of this series. I love it. It’s like my third child. I loved being able to work with guys like Ciro Nieli, Josh Fine and Frank Paur. Plus, all the writers I worked with were fantastic like Kevin Burke, Chris Wyatt, Mike Ryan, Paul Giacoppo and Brandon Auman who is now the head writer for Season Two of “Iron Man Armored Adventures” (Currently airing on Nicktoons). We wanted to put the comic book on your TV screen, and I think we captured the spirit of the comic and put it out there to tell big adventure stories that had all the excitement, action, characters and villains we loved. I feel really lucky to have been able to work on it.
You ended the season with a pretty big cliffhanger. What does that mean for the premiere episode of Season Two?
Right, in the finale we wrapped up the Asgardian War and the Loki story. Then we had a little surprise at the end there when Captain America is attacked and replaced by a Skrull agent. I believe the last line of dialogue in Season One is, “The Infiltration has begun.” Fans of the comics know that the word infiltration leads to much bigger things.
When Season Two starts with a little episode called “The Private War of Doctor Doom,” which we screened at Comic-Con, the Captain America on the team is not the person his teammates think he is. So in Season Two, which our producer Josh Fine calls ‘Our cosmic season,’ you’re going to see a lot of things like Skrulls and Kree and the Guardians of the Galaxy. We really want to deliver the big fun cosmic aspect of the Marvel Universe.
Sounds like there are plans for a big overarching story. How does the new season break down in terms of serial and standalone stories?
I think the balance is pretty much what Season One was. Season One sort of had two mega arcs in there. Season Two is going to have Skrull elements, Kree elements, and a bunch of other things will be in play as well. There’s going to be time for some fun standalone stories, too.
With the Skrull invasion playing such a big role this season, is one of the important thematic questions of Season Two, “Who do you trust?”
As a matter of fact, there’s an episode called “Who Do You Trust?”
Since they play such big roles in Season Two, how similar and how different are the Kree and Skrulls to their comic book counterparts?
I think we were pretty faithful to the comic versions. The Kree are basically the Spartans of outer space. They are a very militaristic society lead by a big blob head named the Supreme Intelligence. You’ll see the whole gamut of the Kree, including people like Ronan the Accuser. We’ve already introduced Captain Marvel into the show, and you’ll see a lot more Ms. Marvel too. She comes back into the spotlight and joins the team.
You’re going to see a lot of Skrulls too. I’ve told Brian Bendis that I owe him about 500 beers for writing large chunks of our season [Laughs]. Everybody in the comic book world knows what’s coming. I’m not spoiling anything really by saying you’re going to basically get “Secret Invasion” this season. Obviously, there will be some changes. We don’t have as much time to set it up, but we’re going to do our best to make sure we do things right, and by right, I mean as close as we can get it to the comic book version.
You mentioned Ms. Marvel. Will the Avengers get any more new members in Season Two?
We put out a little teaser and a certain synthezoid appears in it. Who’s to say whether he’s a villain or a hero though? And as much as we focused on the Avengers in Season One, in Season Two we’re really trying to expand the Marvel Universe. So you’re going to meet a ton of new heroes and villains. We’re really going to open up the Marvel U.
Speaking of opening up the Marvel Universe, you mentioned the first episode of Season Two is called “The Private War of Doctor Doom.” Will Doom’s archenemies, the Fantastic Four, appear in the episode?
Yeah, absolutely. The Fantastic Four are guest stars in the first episode. It’s a big team-up brouhaha and it’s a ton of fun. That episode is one of my favorites, and it includes a Thing poker game.
You worked on the most recent FF animated series, “Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes.” How does it feel to revisit those characters with “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes?”
I was the Story Editor on that series. We did 26 episodes of a Fantastic Four comedy action series. It was a blast to work on. There’s no full-on continuity connection between this series and that, but I’m such a huge fan of the FF that I always have fun writing them.
The previous Fantastic Four series had a different tone, and we were just coming off the movies, so there were some things that weren’t necessarily the comic book version. To me this is the comic book version.
How was it writing Doctor Doom in this context of this show?
To me, Doctor Doom is the premier villain of the Marvel Universe. He’s the one to beat, and I try to treat him in the most classic way. Like if you’re in a room with Doctor Doom you just know you’re dead [Laughs]. You know you can’t win. And to me, Doom is nigh unbeatable. He’s one of my favorite villains. Hopefully I did him justice.
We knoq about Doom and the FF, and earlier you mentioned the Guardians of the Galaxy. Will they be the only other non Avengers-related heroes and villains in Season Two? Since you’re sort of adapting “Secret Invasion” this season, is there a chance we’ll see Nick Fury and his Secret Warriors?
You’ll see a version of them.
Seems we’ve covered quite a bit regarding new plot threads, but what about some of the developments from last season of “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.” Will we see more of Kang and the Masters of Evil? And if I remember correctly, the Red Skull was mentioned last season, but we never really saw him in the present day.
That is true. In Season Two you’ll see all of those characters and more.
Whose perspective will we be viewing these characters from? Which members of your main cast will you be focusing on this season?
Cap, Thor, Hulk and Iron Man are kind of the focus. Everything runs up against the “big four.” I have great love for characters like Wasp, Hawkeye and Black Panther, and the great thing about Avengers is that we can deal with all of them. It’s truly a team show.
Of course, it’s always going to be a little more focused on the big name guys, but I really want to get the little guys into the mix as well because they’re part of the fun. We all know Cap and Iron Man, but we don’t always see how Iron Man deals with Black Panther or how Cap deals with Wasp. Those team-ups are interesting, and that’s what I love about this show.
We imagine another fun thing about this show is that, like in the comic books, you have a chance to tell long-form stories.
It’s weird, because I think the comic books have been doing this for, what — about 50 years? [Laughs]. So I would write and watch this show forever. I would watch it every day. I’m the same way with “Lost” and all the TV shows I like.
Fan reaction to “Avengers” has been so great and gratifying so far. People have really seemed to embrace the show and I’m so appreciative of everybody who’s been watching, and hopefully all the kids that have been watching. So I really just want to say thank you to everybody because it’s been one of the best gigs of my life.