The celebration of Marvel’s 80th anniversary is leaping off the page and into the audio drama format. Marvel New Media today announced a continuation of their partnership with podcast producer Stitcher, which will see the service adapt one of Marvel’s most beloved stories, the 1994 miniseries Marvels by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross, into a ten-episode limited series. The podcast adaptation will be written by Lauren Shippen, and directed by Paul Bae.
The podcast version of Marvels will focus on one event from the original series, the Fantastic Four’s initial encounter with Galactus as originally told in Fantastic Four #48-49, which was represented in the third issue of Busiek and Ross’s series. Actor and rapper Clifford “Method Man” Smith will play reporter Ben Urich on the podcast, while Seth Barrish will portray Phil Sheldon, a photographer and the protagonist of the original series. The choice to focus on Urich is a smart one given his prominent role in the first season of the Daredevil Netflix series, and the casting indicates that was something the producers had in mind (Urich is African-American in the TV series, whereas he is Caucasian in the original comics).
Additional casting includes actress AnnaSophia Robb, who will play Marcia Hardesty, Phil Sheldon’s assistant in the original series. Peter Parker and the Fantastic Four will also make appearances in the series, with Ethan Peck as Reed Richards, Louisa Krause as Sue Storm, Jake Hart as Ben Grimm, Ehad Berisha as Johnny Storm, and Teo Rapp-Olsson as Peter Parker.
The original miniseries by Busiek and Ross followed photographer Sheldon as he witnessed key events in the history of the Marvel Universe, from the first battle between Namor and the Human Torch to the death of Gwen Stacy at the hands of the Green Goblin. Busiek presented the events from the view of an outsider looking in, which, combined with Ross’s photo-realistic painting, gave readers a new perspective on well-known characters and stories.
Marvels will be the third joint production between Marvel New Media and Stitcher. Previous fiction podcast collaborations include Wolverine: The Long Night and its sequel, Wolverine: The Lost Trail. The ten-episode Marvels podcast will debut on Stitcher Premium this fall, and will be exclusive to that platform until 2020.