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C2E2: Marvel Animation

by  in Movie News, TV News Comment
C2E2: Marvel Animation
Joe Quesada, Arune Singh and Josh Fine at C2E2 2010

Joe Quesada is a man with many titles, one of which is his all-important role as the Creative Head for Marvel Animation. Alongside Marvel Animation’s Director of Development Josh Fine and Marvel PR and marketing man Arune Singh, Quesada assembled a series of mighty clips and announcements pertaining to the company’s upcoming animated slate for a presentation at C232 in Chicago on Saturday.

The panelists revealed that production is well underway on a second season of “The Superhero Squad Show.” While they couldn’t present any new footage from the season, Marvel compensated by showing a cute parody where M.O.D.O.K. moderated a panel at the Big Really Amazingly Immense Head Convention, with a special guest appearance from Uatu the Watcher.

Several new characters are slated to join “Superhero Squad” in the coming year, including Bucky, Captain Marvel, Hercules, Zeus, and “a lot more that hardcore Marvel fans will enjoy. We’re going to introduce a lot of young viewers to these great new characters,” Quesada said.

A new season of “Iron Man: Armored Adventures” is in the works with 26 episodes currently in production. “It’s epic,” said Quesada. “There is more armor per square-minute than you can imagine.”

Quesada mentioned the recently announced “Ultimate Spider-Man” animated series set to launch on Disney XD in the fall of 2011. Given the early stage of production, details are currently few. “It’s a pretty surprising show – a little bit different than most Spider-Man shows over the course of our history,” said Quesada. “It’ll put Peter Parker in some pretty weird and unusual circumstances.”

Attention turned to “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” the animated series set to debut this fall. The team’s roster includes Captain America, Thor, Ant-Man, Wasp, Hulk and Black Panther, with Iron Man serving as the leader. A teaser trailer revealed the action-packed nature of the show alongside the tagline: “When the future of the world is at stake, it will take more than one super hero – it will take a team of Earth’s mightiest.”

Image from M.O.D.O.K. short presented at C2E2

“This is bigger than anything we’ve ever done,” said Fine. “This is the classic Avengers show you’ve been waiting for all your life.”

In addition to the team’s core roster, characters like Hawkeye and Black Widow will appear throughout the series. Villains include the devious Loki, Kang the Conquerer - described as a “big villain” in the series - Ultron and the Red Skull. “What’s really exciting is that you’ll be seeing stories that were developed within the last ten years of Marvel, so you’ll see some familiar stories you’ve never seen animated before,” said Quesada. “The first two seasons are absolutely dynamite.”

Once the panel was turned over to fans for questions, Quesada was asked about the possibility of animated Marvel projects through Pixar. “It would be spectacular to see, but I think it’s way too soon. We’re in the infancy stage,” he said, referring to Pixar parent Disney’s acquisition of Marvel in 2009.

A fan asked when the BET-produced “Black Panther” series would premiere in the United States. “You will eventually see it,” said Quesada. “Those are the inner workings and dealings that I can’t publicly talk about, but you will see it and you will be happy about it. It’s really wonderful.” Singh hinted that Marvel would “have news on that soon.”

Another audience member wondered how the recently announced “Ultimate Spider-Man” would affect the future of “Spectacular Spider-Man.” Fine said that a press release should be coming soon regarding the fate of “Spectacular Spider-Man,” but said that Sony, not Marvel or Disney, would make the decisions on the show’s future. “We at Marvel love ‘Spectacular Spider-Man,'” said Quesada. “We think it was a great show.”

Image from M.O.D.O.K. short presented at C2E2

As if the apparent fate of “Spectacular Spider-Man” wasn’t disappointing enough, Fine confirmed that “Wolverine & The X-Men” would not return for a second season due to difficulties securing financing. “It’s very difficult creatively,” he confessed. “We hope to be able to bring you the X-Men in other avenues and bring something along [the lines of] that storytelling back to you.”

Asked why Spider-Man hasn’t been included on “Superhero Squad” just yet, Quesada said the character didn’t exactly fit with the second season’s focus on the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe. “There will be some fun, funky, inter-dimensional crazy things in season two,” he said. “Once we decided to go cosmic, Spider-Man felt a little less natural than that.”

Some fans expressed concern about Marvel’s animated projects skewing towards a younger audience, but the panelists referred to the recently launched “Iron Man: Extremis” under the Marvel Knights Animation banner as an example of edgier animation. They also pointed to Wolverine’s status on “Superhero Squad” as an example of having darker characters on lighter shows. “You don’t get much more violent than Wolverine - it’s all about how you present it,” said Quesada. “We’re going to be doing tons of animation. One doesn’t preclude the other.”

A fan wondered about future “Next Avengers” installments and while Quesada said that no animated projects are currently in the works, he confirmed, “[Brian Michael Bendis] is using them in an Avengers story.”

Image from M.O.D.O.K. short presented at C2E2

Sticking with Bendis, another audience member asked if the writer’s run on “Ultimate Spider-Man” would be influential on the cartoon series of the same name. “Bendis plays Spider-Man – a very whiney Spider-Man,” Quesada joked. He said that there would be a mixture of new material and elements mined from the comic books. Production on the show is “pretty decently along,” though the casting process has not been finalized yet.

An admirer of “Civil War” and “Secret Invasion” asked if either story could ever see an animated adaptation, since a live-action adaptation was most likely off the table. “We’ve certainly discussed it,” Quesada said. “That’s all I can say about it right now, but it doesn’t escape us that those stories could be huge for us in any form – I wouldn’t even discount live action.”

Quesada answered similarly when asked about an “Old Man Logan” adaptation, teasing that the story line could return to comic books at some point in the future. “We’re not done with ‘Old Man Logan’ just yet,” he said.

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