NYCC: Marvel Animation Promises More Ms. Marvel, Black Panther, Venom

Last Sunday, Marvel Animation brought its Spider-ManGuardians of the Galaxy and Avengers Assemble series to New York Comic Con. SVP of Animation and Family Entertainment Cort Lane, story editor Mairghread Scott and voice actors Vanessa Marshall (Gamora) and Kathreen Khavari (Ms. Marvel) stopped by the convention to tease the future of their animated shows, including the introduction of Venom, Avengers: Black Panther Quest and more Ms. Marvel.

Lane kicked off the panel with the first half of Spider-Man episode 15, "where we bring Venom into an episode." The episode will officially air October 21, but those in attendance got a sneak peek, which revealed the alien symbiote had found a new host and was on the loose in New York City. In the same episode, Peter begins to tutor Flash Thompson, who is one of several characters to become Venom in the comics.

After Spider-Man, Lane revealed that the series will cross over with Guardians of the Galaxy Season 3, which recently explored in the "Symbiote War" storyline in Season 2. "Those storylines come together with this storyline... in one big symbiote story," he explained.

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"We decided that... we have the symbiote, so we consider them ours... we decided to do a crossover," Scott added. The opening of Guardians of the Galaxy Season 3 will be a two-part crossover with Spider-Man.

He also announced that former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada will have his very own role in Spider-Man. "The coffee house that is used frequently... is called Cup of Joe's," he said. "Joe Quesada will appear as himself as a proprietor of Cup of Joe's."

Lane then moved on to Guardians of the Galaxy. "Season 3 finds the Guardians finding fame and fortune, but this is after" a storyline tied to the Guardians theme park attraction in Disneyland. According to Scott, all but one member of the Guardians will screw it up. "It is our living large story arc," she explained. Additionally, "we really wanted to highlight the breaking out" of the Collector's collection. The Collector will create torture chambers for each individual Guardian.

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Lane rolled a clip from Guardians of the Galaxy Season 3, which finds Star-Lord and Gamora trying to convince one of the Collector's guards to let them into a forbidden area. The guard, modeled after and voiced by Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, doesn't believe them despite Star-Lord's efforts.

"It's been a real pleasure," Marshall said of her time on Guardians of the Galaxy. "Everyone gets along so well... We love Marvel, but we love each other also. We're usually breakdancing in between takes... For some reason, we take the most breaks, we eat the most food, and we finish the earliest."

"We introduced the 'Black Vortex' arc," she continued. "In order to save ourselves, we go through the Black Vortex... it's our goal to sort of reunite at the end of the arc. I think where Gamora wakes up is sort of her worst nightmare."

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"We wanted to not just experiment with different types of stories, but different lengths of stories and explore different characters," Scott added. "We just didn't want to leave anything on the table."

Each character will get their own signature style in the "Black Vortex" storyline. Gamora's segment will look like a Disney animated movie. Tara Strong, Travis Willingham and Laura Bailey will guest in the episode as three singing animals, who sing "The Whistling Song" as they make her clean up a cutesy little cottage.

"They turn into these murderous villains," Marshall revealed. "Yeah, they're not so nice, and I end up having to deal with that and of course reunite with the rest of my gang this season... They're not nearly as cute when they're mad."

As to Avengers Assemble, Lane said, "The shorts that open this season are really from Ms. Marvel's point of view."

"Ms. Marvel is a very passionate person, and in this season she has to team up with the other heroes to save other Avengers and I think it's a lot of pressure for her and she's kind of freaking out," Khavari revealed. "She's geeking out along the way. She works with some of her favorite heroes."

"Ms. Marvel will be appearing in more projects as we move along that we can't announce today," Lane added.

"When I first got to play Ms. Marvel... it was literally and it still is a huge, huge honor," Khavari shared. "I had known about Ms. Marvel... and to have a woman Muslim character out there in media that doesn't fit a horrible stereotype of what it means to be Muslim that's a hero... it's one of the most important characters out there today."

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According to Khavari, "Ms. Marvel really is starting to balance out" the bad portrayal of Muslims. "I do think the media has a very, very strong power to shape our opinions, shape society, and to have a powerful role model out there who's Muslim... we need more Ms. Marvel-type characters out there."

"We're going to be spreading Ms. Marvel around like she's peanut butter," Lane reemphasized.

He then moved onto Avengers: Black Panther Quest, which will focus on Black Panther and his sister Shuri and how they interact with the Avengers.

Marvel Animation will make eight more Funko shorts featuring characters from throughout the Marvel Universe, including Spider-Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Captain America, Venom, Loki and Doctor Strange.

After airing a trailer for a new LEGO short starring the Guardians, Marshall said, "Gamora's voice was a little higher... they were really featuring the father-daughter" relationship. "It was more playful, but we had a blast doing it."

Black Panther will also get his own lego special: Black Panther: Trouble in Wakanda.

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"We have just launched Marvel HQ, a massive destination on YouTube and the YouTube kids app," Lane announced. The app will feature full episodes of Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, Avengers and more and can be accessed online at YouTube.com/MarvelHQ. "We have launched already with 50 video files and there are hundred more to come," he revealed. "We'll be featuring our first two seasons of Avengers."

Asked if fans will see more diverse characters in the animated shows, Lane said, "Marvel works hard to make sure our stories our based in the real world" and, as such, includes different ethnicities and more. "We'll be featuring them in our shows, and also we have some upcoming shows that highlight more of those characters... and that's all I can say."

Additionally, there are "no plans yet but a lot of thoughts" about Silk being in Spider-Man. However, Miles, Anya and Gwen are on the path to becoming superheroes.

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