This past Sunday, the villains stole the show in “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” as the spotlight swung over to the Red Skull’s diabolical Cabal in “Bring on the Bad Guys”!
The Avengers came up against a villainous team more unified than they’d ever fought before, as the Skull and his crew executed a daring plan to rescue Hyperion from the S.H.I.E.L.D. Tri-Carrier. Through countless twists and turns, the Skull actually achieved his goal, adding Hyperion to the Cabal’s ranks and potentially doubling the team’s power by doing so.
We spoke with Supervising Producer Cort Lane about the show’s latest developments, as well as what they mean for the future. Now sit back and read what Lane had to say as “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” turns it up to 11!
Cort Lane: As always, it’s one of those things that just sort of broke in the room. We love our cast of villains and we think they are so interesting and their interaction are so cool, but we knew that we’re really devoted to developing the heroes’ character stories, so we had to wait this far into the season before we could tell a story from the villain point of view because [at] the beginning of the show that’s not a great choice. But here, we’re far enough along that we can do it, and it was so fun to do. Hats off to [writer] Eugene Son, who worked with Man of Action on this, because all that villain dialogue is what makes it really sing and Eugene does such a good job with character voices. He really nailed it on this one.
Marvel.com: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things that also interested me is that this episode really ramps up the whole “Cabal” arc in a way that I think some fans might not have expected, given how leading up to this the episodes had been more standalone. Was that always the plan, to build this up and make it much more of an over-arching story?
Cort Lane: Yeah. Put simply, the heroes become a better team over the course of the season, but unfortunately the villains do as well, and they add to their numbers as they go along. Because what we didn’t want [was] to introduce a team of villains early on [who were] just fine and all got along with each other. We want our villains to get better and become smarter and more effective as a team. And of course [the Avengers are] going to defeat the villains in the end, [but] we want the question [to be, with] the villains ramping up at an even faster rate than the heroes, how can the heroes possibly win? This episode is key because finally our villains work together well, which is something they hadn’t done up until now, and they add someone huge to their ranks at the end.
Marvel.com: My next question was about the addition of Hyperion to the group. The Red Skull goes through with a rather involved plan just to get Hyperion, so what is it about this guy that the Skull thinks is worth it to go to the lengths that he goes to get him on the team?
Marvel.com: This may be looking forward a little bit, but is there any concern on the Skull’s part about his ability to control Hyperion? Because like you said, Hyperion on his own could pretty much wipe the floor with the entire Cabal.
Cort Lane: I don’t want to give away too much because yeah, he’s [had] a lot of trouble controlling a lot of these guys and Hyperion’s so powerful that he couldn’t be reined in, truly. I think that the Cabal and the Red Skull will have to work that out. I will tell you that they do, and it’s at the very end of the season.
Marvel.com: Interesting. In this episode we also get to see the heroes realizing that the Cabal is getting smarter and they’re working together better. How does that change their game plan and how has that changed their view of the Cabal as a threat?
Cort Lane: You can see it in a change in tone from the Avengers even in this episode, when they engage the Cabal. They’re sort of joking around and having fun with it because they’ve encountered them enough that they realize, this is just another one of these battles with these bad guys, we can handle this. At the end of the episode, there’s an “Oh Crap!” moment for the Avengers and that’s their tone for the rest of the season. That dawning realization is something that’s in the back of their heads for the rest of the season.
Marvel.com: Before we start to look ahead, let’s talk about your favorite moment from this episode.
Cort Lane: The scene at the beginning of the episode where the villains are dining, which just strikes me as odd and fun. It’s just something that you never get to see, and probably publishing wouldn’t take the time, but in animation it’s a lot of fun. And then they break out into a ridiculously immature fight, and Red Skull tears them all up within moments. I don’t know, that just struck me as a lot of fun. But the other part of this episode is, frankly, that the character dialogue is a lot of fun. Like Dracula referring to Captain America as “meat,” and even when Hulk is falling on part of the Tri-Carrier and [says] “Hulk crash?” And Attuma says, “No, hulk splash.” I don’t know, that kind of stuff makes me giggle and has an element of fun that I think is a great part of the Marvel Universe.
Marvel.com: My personal favorite part of the episode was Red Skull’s line to M.O.D.O.K., “When I’m in charge, I’ll make sure the planes run on time.”
Cort Lane: Yeah. [laughs] That’s a sign, those are subtle things, but it’s a sign of his arrogance. It’s funny but it’s completely in character. Yes, I will rule the universe and all planes will run on time when I rule the universe.
Marvel.com: Now looking ahead, I know the next new episode is still, from the time this interview will run, a week or two away, I think. What can we expect coming up?
Marvel.com: Great. Since we’ve been to the Savage Land before in “Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.,” I have to ask, will we be seeing any familiar characters? And by that I mean, do we get Devil Dinosaur?
Cort Lane: [laughs] I’m afraid not. Devil Dinosaur is in “Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.” and he’s pretty much sequestered there for the time being.
Marvel.com: I would have loved to have seen Cap and Tony dealing with the Devil.
Cort Lane: No, they’ve got enough to deal with in the Savage Land without Devil starting trouble.