The Avengers strike out in a whole new set of adventures with “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble,” premiering Sunday, July 7 at 11:00 a.m. ET inside Marvel Universe on Disney XD, and to commemorate the action-packed new series we’re chatting with the creators and stars! Check back with Marvel.com frequently in between now and July 7 for all the latest on “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble”!
By Marc Strom
Sometimes, a threat arises that no single hero can tackle themselves, and when that time comes the Avengers assemble to take down some of the biggest threats in the universe.
|Captain America and Iron Man face the Red Skull in "Marvel's Avengers Assemble"|
But just like the team itself, the creators behind “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” pool their mighty abilities to craft some of the most epic stories TV animation has ever seen. And to help set that tone, Marvel Head of Television Jeph Loeb and “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” Co-Executive Producers Man of Action Studios looked to the record-breaking “Marvel’s The Avengers” for inspiration.
“We had a real challenge that was posed to us, and that was there was this little tiny art house movie that came out this last year, I think you guys saw it, called ‘Marvel’s The Avengers,’” jokes Loeb. “It really set the template [and] showed that you can do a major motion picture that has multiple characters on an epic scale. And on top of it, it also showed us that one of the most important elements is a certain kind of levity that it is the interactions between those characters that makes the movie what it is.”
The next step came in finding the writers that could match that sensibility—and Loeb didn’t have to look too far to find the perfect group.
“With those of us at Marvel Television, it always begins with the story [and] making sure that it’s all there on the page,” explains Loeb. “So for us there was no other choice, we had to go to a group of individuals who have not only created some ‘Ben 10’ and ‘Generator X’ but had also done two seasons of our very successful ‘Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man.’”
Steven T. Seagle, who makes up one-quarter of Man of Action Studios along with Joe Kelly, Joe Casey and Duncan Rouleau, reveals that the writers never felt compelled to one-up “Marvel’s The Avengers.”
|The team comes together in "Marvel's Avengers Assemble"|
“How do you top the movie?” asks Seagle. “You don’t until Joss [Whedon] makes part two, so our goal is to just tell great stories. It’s just keeping the DNA of the Avengers from the comics we love and making them new, week to week giving the Hulk something to smash, Iron Man something to lead--i.e. the Avengers, which is a new role for him--and keeping Falcon wide-eyed, but allowing him to kick just as much butt as the rest of them. It’s a challenge, but it’s a fun challenge, and we owe it all to a great writers room.”
In the series, Falcon marks the newest addition to the team, one that gave the writers a number of opportunities.
“We wanted to have someone that could sort of be our eyes [and] take us in, so we talked to the Man of Action guys and started [discussing the idea] of using the Falcon as our entry point, our gateway character,” relates Loeb.
With the Falcon rounding out the Avengers’ roster with Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, Loeb looks forward to delving deeper into this set of characters and their individual relationships with one another.
“In terms of whether we will see other heroes along the way, we absolutely will, but I think that one of the things that makes our Avengers show unique is that this is our cast,” elaborates Loeb. “We want to be able to focus on this group, much like they did in the movie. We want to be able to let the audience get to know these folks. Absolutely one of the things about the Avengers over the last 50 years is the fun of changing up the gang and bringing in new characters, Going back all the way to Cap’s Kooky Quartet for those of you who know what that means. But at the end of the day we wanted to have a show where we could focus on these individuals and their relationships with each other.”
A number of those relationships started coming to light once the talented voice cast stepped into the sound booth and brought the scripts to life.
|Iron Man steps into the role of leader in "Marvel's Avengers Assemble"|
“The performances really inspire us to write jokes in a certain way, to write dialogue a certain way, to see certain characters in certain groupings,” Seagle notes. “These are all great, great actors. [With] the first episode we actually did a lot of retooling once we actually heard voices and tried matching to that. After that it’s actually inspirational, in that we love the dynamic between Black Widow and Hawkeye, for example. So one of the first things we said was that we need to get those two on a mission by themselves because we hear more of that, we want to hear what that sounds like with them in the field. “
“We found after the pilot that putting Adrian [Pasdar’s] Iron Man, who is not without his own ego, with anybody one-on-one was a lot of fun. [We enjoyed] matching him with Captain America, because Roger [Craig Smith] plays it so stoically. It just continues all the way line whether it is Adrian and Bumper [Robinson, the voice of Falcon], or Hawkeye and the Hulk, or Thor and the Hulk, all those things all come together in a way that we’re able to say, ‘What’s the most interesting pairing that we can get out of this?’
“We did an episode with Dracula, where, without giving too much of a spoiler, Black Widow turns out to be the badass, and that was based on watching how Laura was handling the character,” continues Loeb. “We asked, ‘What if Black Widow had to take on the entire group? What would that give us at the end of the day? How can we challenge these actors in ways that are unexpected?’ I don’t think [the cast], when [they] get a script, has any idea where we are going, and that’s hopefully what we’re doing.”
Catch the series premiere of “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” Sunday, July 7 at 11:00 a.m. ET inside Marve Universe on Disney XD, and stay tuned to Marvel.com for the latest on the all-new animated series!