The next generation of Marvel superheroes is headed to a TV near you. Marvel Rising will bring teen heroes like Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Quake, Ghost-Spider and Patriot together for the first time in a mutli-platform initiative that includes a comic series and an animated Disney XD series. In anticipation of the show's impending release, Marvel Rising stars Dove Cameron, Chloe Bennet, Milana Vayntrub, Kathreen Khavari and Kamil McFadden joined SVP of Animation and Family Entertainment Cort Lane, VP of Animation Current Series and Development Marsha Griffin, writer Mairghread Scott and VP of Content and Character Development Sana Amanat at Comic-Con International in San Diego to offer fans a special sneak peek of the series.
Moderator Lorraine Cink kicked off the panel with the panel for Marvel Rising: Initiation, then introduced the cast and crew of the series.
"Basically, Gwen Stacy -- or Ghost-Spider -- she has this very complex relationship with her father, because he's the chief of police," Cameron said of her character. "He has sort of a big judgement of Ghost-Spider... He thinks she's more of a menace than a hero... Yeah, it's tense... She's very bright, she's incredibly sarcastic... She's very sweet. She wants that relationship with her father... She has a bit of an uphill battle, but I think she'll win your hearts."
"She is younger, so she's like a teen Quake. She's a lot more like Skye! " Bennet said. "She has a little bit more spunk. She doesn't take things quite as seriously. She's excited to be a part of S.H.I.E..L.D."
As to Quake's relationship with Ghost-Spider, Bennet added, "It's completely -- well, it's not totally... It's not Ruby and Daisy. I think at the end there, with Ruby and Daisy, they had a moment before Yo-Yo ruined it! It's actually a weird coincidence we get to work together again."
"Obviously she has a giant fluffy tail and, if you don't see it, it's stuffed in her pants," Vayntrub explained of Squirrel-Girl. "The thing I think that makes her special is that she's unabashedly goofy while being smart and strong. She's very capable... Even just playing her, I get to channel all of the goofiest parts of myself and I think, as people watch the series, people will be able to do that."
"We always see Kamala in the Avengers series with heroes who ahve been heroes for a while," Khavari revealed. "In this, it's her and a bunch of heroes who are coming into their powers."
Speaking to Squirrel-Girl and Ms. Marvel's friendship, she added, "It's one of the most fun dynamics I've had to play. We get to see a lot of where Kamala comes from -- her family, her background."
"I feel like me and Rayshaun have the determination. Rayshaun is -- not all heroes are super," McFadden said of Patriot. "He doesn't have a superpower... He has to work 10 times harder to prove to everyone and himself why he deserves a part of S.H.I.E.L.D... Him working under Captain America puts on an added pressure of integrity... I connect with him with his determination."
Asked where the idea for Marvel Rising came from, Lane said, "There's been this exponential growth of fandom between women and girls... There was clearly this need, so we had lots of conversations with girls and they were dying for something like this... We went out to writers and Mairghread nailed it in her pitched..." He added that he hopes to tell more stories like this.
"First of all, I feel like we just tricked everyone. I tricked everyone, and now brown people are taking over," Amanat joked. "It's really, really awesome! This is incredible. Ms. Marvel started about five years ago... It's now spawned into this incredible film... nothing I could ever really imagine... it just goes to show, that if you really believe in an idea... it will be successful. Surprise! Girls like powerful characters that look just like them. All of the characters we have in this show, like Ms. Marvel, have so many fans... We really wanted to do this story because we believe in these characters and we believe in the fans."
"We were looking at building the series... bigger is better. More powers! More world-ending stuff!" Green recalled. "In the case of this project, sometimes characters get lost... We wanted to focus on the characters, so we wanted to focus on a group of diverse, unique and charismatic characters... We wanted to take real superhero stakes, but we also wanted to make them genuine... They get to see themselves on the screen. Doesn't happen a lot, not in an authentic way like we're trying to do in the series."
"When I was growing up, we got to see a lot of action-adventure series and films that starred lots of men. I had no problem putting myself in those characters shoes," Vayntrub shared. "Now it's really exciting, because we've made this exciting series and soon-to-be film with a nearly all-female cast... I'm really excited for young boys to see themselves in this characters..." She hopes the series will help inspire empathy in others.
"I wanted to be honest with and honor the source material," Scott said. "I didn't want these characters to be The Jock and The Brain. I wanted them to be more complex than that... I used to watch X-Men, and I wanted to be Jean Grey... It was really important for me, when I was writing Marvel Rising, that this was a girl show in the sense it was like 'you sit down now' [for the boys]... I am basically Patriot. Whenever I wrote Patriot, it was like, 'What would I say at this moment?' He's very rules-oriented."
Cink then rolled the first two Marvel Rising shorts. "We have some amazing additions. We have... America Chavez, Tyler Posey as smoldering Latin bad boy Infero... We have BooBoo Stewart as a very mysterious character called Exile... Ming-Na Wen as Hala, a Kree Accuser.... Now that you know there's an Accurser, you have a sense of the scale of the series."
The show will debut Monday, August 13 at 7:30 pm on Disney XD and then the shorts will appear on Marvel HQ. The characters will return in Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors, which premieres this fall.
As to the difference between voice acting and live-action, Cameron recalled, "For me, it was kind of difficult. I think there are people who are born to be voice actors, like these ladies here... I think that, at first, I had an uphill battle because -- if you know me -- I'm very facially active. As an actor, you rely on your face and your body language and your eyes... With voice, you only have your voice... They'd be like, 'It has to be 10 times bigger to read in animation.' Start way bigger than you think it should be! I like to close my eyes so that I can forget that I'm in a recording studio... It's very different. It was definitely a learning curve."
"She's super similar to Skye, and I don't have to fight as much in person, which is nice. Voice acting is a completely different thing. What is similar... is I'm always pretty much acting with nothing," Bennet added, comparing the experience to acting with a green screen.
One fan asked if it was difficult for Bennet to separate Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Daisy from the one that appears on Marvel Rising. "There's actually certain things... there's stuff there's being brought from both sides," she teased, hinting that there's more to come.
"Being a hero or being an active member of this world is something we can all be doing on a daily basis," Vayntrub shared. "I think it starts with being a open to doing good every day." She encouraged fans to donate their time and voice to causes they believe in, so that they can be heroes too.
Both Marvel Rising: Initiation and Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors will be released on Disney XD. The show stars Dove Cameron as Ghost-Spider, Chloe Bennet as Quake, Tyler Posey as Inferno, Kathreen Kavari as Ms. Marvel, Milana Vayntrub as Squirrel Girl, Cierra Ramirez as America Chavez, Kamil McFadden as Patriot, Kim Raver as Captain Marvel, and Bradley Baker as Tippy Toe and Lockjaw.