Confirming persistent rumors, The New York Times reports Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" will debut next year as an animated series airing on Disney XD.
Unsurprisingly, the series will feature characters from the blockbuster film, which has grossed $324 million domestically since its Aug. 1 premiere: Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Star-Lord, Gamora and Drax. Disney wouldn't say whether the movie's stars will be involved.
Footage of a "Guardians" cartoon was shown in July at Comic-Con International, sparking numerous reports that an animated series was heading to Disney XD. However, Marvel Animation was quick to dismiss this claims, with Vice President of Current Animation Stephen Wacker telling CBR News, ">We definitively did not announce a 'GOTG' animated series. We just showed some test footage that one of our animators (Leo Riley) was working on."
However, now? It is announced, with Wacker telling The Times the producers will attempt to replicate the hit film's offbeat humor while continuing its plot. To that end, Thanos will have a prominent role in the series.
He said the hope is that "Guardians" reflects "Phase 2" of Marvel Animation, which already produces "Ultimate Spider-Man," "Avengers Assemble" and "Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H." for Disney XD.
"We've learned what works on TV and what doesn't," Wacker told the newspaper, explaining that one lesson is "not to underestimate the audience. "You can't be afraid to go deeper, to explore stories and characters with some depth. This audience may be young, but it can spot a stinker a mile away."
Official Press Release
Production has begun on "Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy," an upcoming animated-television series for Disney XD, featuring the hugely popular characters introduced in the record-breaking Marvel Studios film of the same name. The announcement was made today by Jeph Loeb, Marvel's Head of Television, at New York Comic-Con. Produced by Marvel Television, the series stars Peter Quill as Star-Lord, the brash adventurer who, to save the universe from its greatest threats, joins forces with a quartet of disparate misfits - fan-favorite Rocket Raccoon, a tree-like humanoid named Groot, the enigmatic, expert fighter Gamora and the rough-edged warrior Drax the Destroyer. The series will premiere in 2015 on the Marvel Universe programming block on Disney XD.
"The movie and franchise quickly became a worldwide phenomenon. We're looking forward to working with the great team at Marvel Television to deliver an engaging animated series that fans can enjoy each week," said Marc Buhaj, Senior Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Disney XD.
"This is a very exciting time for the Marvel Animation Studio as we get to explore the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe by developing the first-ever 'Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy' animated series," said Jeph Loeb, Head of Marvel Television. "After starring in the biggest movie of 2014, everyone wants more of Star-Lord and his crew - now they'll get it."
Produced by Marvel Animation, the series' award-winning creative team includes executive producers Alan Fine ("Marvel's The Avengers," "Iron Man," "Thor"), Dan Buckley ("Marvel's Avengers Assemble," "Marvel's Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H."), Joe Quesada ("Marvel's Avengers Assemble") and Jeph Loeb ("Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."); co-executive producers Stan Lee ("Spider-Man"), Eric Radomski ("Spawn," "Marvel's Avengers Assemble"), Cort Lane ("Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man") and Stephen Wacker ("Marvel's Avengers Assemble"); supervising producers Marty Isenberg ("Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters") and Harrison Wilcox ("Marvel's Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H."); consulting producer Steven Melching ("Marvel's Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H."); and supervising director Leo Riley ("TRON: Uprising").
With the success of its recent theatrical release, Guardians of the Galaxy has joined the Avengers and Spider-Man as one of Marvel's most prominent franchises. Premiering in August 2014, Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" debuted to rave reviews and a $94 million opening weekend - the largest August opening in North American history. The film has become the most successful domestic release of 2014, topping the box office for four weeks since its release.
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