Phone time! Earlier today our lovely old antique phone started ringing from somewhere in Stately Beat Mansion’s attic, so I braved the cabinets and cobwebs to pick up the receiver and see what was going on. It turned out Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, VP of Animation Cort Lane and Executive Producer, Man Of Action Studio’s Joe Kelly, also a writer on the show, were on the line, to discuss the new Marvel cartoon series Avengers Assemble which’ll be airing on Disney XD!
Starting July 7, the show features the cast of the movie – Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Iron Man and Hawkeye – alongside Falcon, joining the team as a surrogate for the audience. The creatives focused in very keenly on these seven, with a lot of discussion about team dynamics and characterisation. The series picks up from Earth’s Mightiest Heroes but with a clean slate, starting with new stories. The interteam relationships will remain, however, continuing on in style from the characterisation seen in Joss Whedon’s Avengers Assemble movie.
While the team will be going all off on adventures to fight criminals and all that, Joe Kelly specifically singled out the downtime moments, spent in Avengers Tower, in which Thor will try out his sense of humour, or Hawkeye will make fun of the others. Hulk also seems to be a favourite, especially as he attempts to hang around with the others in a non-battle setting. It won’t be easy for the team either – as in the film, the different personalities and ideas between the group will see clashes from time to time, as the team try to patch things together despite coming from very different mindsets.
I’m not going to tell you what my question was, because I messed it up in delivery and made a big tumbleweed sweep through Stately Beat Mansion’s attic.
Opposing the team will be a ‘Cabal’, just as in the Secret Invasion storyline, who work together on common goals. Red Skull is the main antagonist here, with Kelly excitedly saying that the character does something “right off the bat” which will get people talking. He’ll be joined by others, including MODOK and Dracula, and the various plans and plots of these leaders will swerve in and out through the course of the season.
The creatives were careful not to give away much of the ongoing storyline – although Joe Quesada did drop a devastating spoiler which I’ll mention right at the end – but did talk about the idea of keeping synergy between Avengers Assemble and Marvel’s various other projects. Although not confirming anything, the team did say that it would be wise for them to use story beats which’ll be playing out elsewhere – for hypothetical example, going cosmic when Guardians of the Galaxy comes out, or playing around with Asgard during Thor 2. No mention of Phil Coulson, although hopefully he’ll be stood in the background of every scene, playing tetris and wearing sunglasses.
John Siuntres from Word Balloon was in the call (with his velvet voice and everything. I bet he was holding a fine scotch as he spoke) and asked about the divide between bringing in new fans and servicing old fans with continuity. I wrote Joe Quesada’s response out, because I think it was worth noting:
I think those two words are radically different but can feel similar, so we’re doing this for the entry-point fan. This is for the future of Marvel and these characters. Keeping them iconic, and making them even more iconic than they are.
With longer-running storylines and a strong central cast, it sounded like the team had a really strong central base from which they can move outwards with their stories. When pressed about what these stories might be, however, Quesada only had one word to offer:
As ever Joe Quesada cuts to the very core of things. Avengers Assemble debuts on Sunday May 26th – that’s this Sunday! – and will be followed by the full run of the series on July 7th.