From the moment Disney purchased Marvel, people were drawing a line between their Disney XD channel — an attempt to lure more of the lucrative audience of young boys — and the Marvel characters. Marvel animation has been running non-stop on the cable channel ever since, but in April, the Marvel Universe programming block will roll out with the new Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon as the tentpole. Produced by Man of Action — Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau and Steven Seagle—the creators behind Ben 10 and Generator Rex, with input from Jeph Loeb, Joe Quesada, and Brian Michael Bendis, the show does not lack for comic book bonafides.
Plus, it’s got JK Simmons reprising his lifetime role as J. Jonah Jameson. Soundboard that.
Marvel Universe debuts on Sunday, April 1. Other programming in the block will include the return of “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” and new short-form animation series and live-action interstitials.
THIS is what Disney paid $4 billion for.
Disney XD will launch Marvel Universe, a dedicated Marvel programming block, with the new series “Ultimate Spider-Man” as its centerpiece, on SUNDAY, APRIL 1, it was announced today by Gary Marsh, President and Chief Creative Officer, Disney Channels Worldwide at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, California. Marvel Universe on Disney XD will be the ultimate place for fans to find exclusive Marvel content, including new animated short-form series, live-action interstitials and the series return of “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.” The block will be home to Marvel’s biggest superstars, such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America and many more to introduce dynamic stories of action, adventure and heroism to a whole new generation.
Marsh said, “Iconic Marvel heroes and villains and stories with core values of accomplishment, discovery and growth make Marvel Universe a perfect complement to Disney XD and a destination for parents and kids to experience together.”
“Marvel Universe block is an incredible animated ride filled with fantastic action and adventure,” said Jeph Loeb, Head of Marvel Television. “The spectacular team of writers and animators capture stories with all the dynamic fun you can imagine. Disney XD is the perfect place for families and Marvel fans of all ages to come together every Sunday.”
Acting as the keystone of the Marvel Universe block, “Ultimate Spider-Man” features a teenage Peter Parker juggling the typical growing pains of high-school with the not-so-typical growing pains of being a Super Hero. As the newest member of Nick Fury’s S.H.I.E.L.D. organization, Peter finds himself on a team with four other teenage Super Heroes.
Produced by Marvel Animation, the series’ award-winning creative team includes Joe Quesada (Marvel’s CCO), Paul Dini (“Batman: The Animated Series,” “Lost”), the creative powerhouse Man of Action Studios (creators of “Ben 10” and “Generator Rex”), comprised of lauded creators Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau and Steven T. Seagle; and Brian Michael Bendis (visionary behind Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man comic series).
The voice cast includes Drake Bell (“Superhero,” “Drake & Josh”) as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Chi McBride (“Boston Public,” “Pushing Daisies”) as Nick Fury, JK Simmons (“Spider-Man”) as J. Jonah Jameson, Stan Lee (“Spider-Man”) as Stan the Janitor, Clark Gregg (“Iron Man”, “Thor,” “The Avengers”) as Agent Coulson and Steven Weber (“Wings”) as Norman Osborn.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.