This past Sunday, Pym Particles nearly destroyed our world.
Thanks to the efforts of the Avengers—and Falcon in particular—this outcome was averted. However, before that happened, Falcon had to reveal his identity to his mom, Hulk grew as big as a skyscraper, and Iron Man and Ant-Man were stuck sitting and sulking on an atom in “One Little Thing,” this week’s episode of “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble”!
Supervising Producer Cort Lane joined Marvel.com to talk about those moments, plus Thor’s continued grappling with humor, Falcon’s age, and cookies. We welcome you to the Avengers Mansion for the Q & A, but please be sure to avoid touching those errant Pym Particles.
Marvel: Right off the top, something that stuck out to me and seemed to be a surprise to the team was Falcon’s age. Am I wrong in thinking that this was a surprise to them?
Marvel: Ok, then. So, at seventeen that would make him, at the least, very bright and more likely a prodigy. Does this kind of information change his relationship to the team and dynamic within it?
Cort Lane: No, I think that the team has really grown to trust and like Sam and believe in Sam. I think Sam’s arc for the season is [him] believing in himself and believing that he has a place on the team. This episode touches on this a bit because he really is the one who has to save the day. You’re going to see a big transformation for him in the final episode, related to that.
Marvel: Part of his motivation for saving the day is the arrival of his mother Darlene. I’m curious how Darlene was…built, for lack of a better way to put it. What did you intend her to embody when you guys created her?
Cort Lane: We saw Darlene, initially, as a tool to tell a great character story about Falcon. Most of the Avengers don’t have parents around to be able to tell that kind of story with, so it was a unique opportunity. Really, we feel we reveal more about the characters when we reveal what makes them relatable. [Falcon’s] relationship with his mother felt like something that gives us insight into Falcon trying so hard to prove himself because he is, in many ways, still just a kid. But he’s also trying to protect his mother and he’s a prodigy. You just discover all these interesting things about him. Introducing his mom was a vehicle to do that.
But we did have a lot of fun with the character and I love Cree Summer, the actress that played her. She was just a great addition to the series.
Cort Lane: Well, this Ant-Man is really meant to be an amalgam of the Ant-Mans we’ve seen before in publishing. As you know, we were very careful not to disclose which Ant-Man this truly is. That’s something that will come at a later date, and there are plans for it. But, for right now, we just wanted to introduce Ant-Man.
I think he works great as a wise-acre and a scientific genius, somebody who can hold his own with Tony. This is an episode about geniuses: Sam, Tony, and Ant-Man.
Marvel: It seemed pretty clear that although this is the first the audience is meeting Ant-Man, this is not the first time the Avengers and he have interacted. Do you have any insight into what the relationship has been like before this or what might’ve happened between them?
Cort Lane: I think we make it clear that there is a relationship there. With this series, “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble,” we wanted to be able to refer to things that happened in the past but at the same time, it’s a new day. So, we enjoy having our cake and eating it too. So we establish that there are relationships there and they are complicated relationships. With Tony and Ant-Man there is a subtle rivalry. With Ant-Man and Hawkeye there is a bit of snarky disdain. Being able to play that out a little bit was fun, but we don’t have specific storylines in mind for their past.
Marvel: And speaking of eating cake--or rather, cookies--there was a pretty healthy dose of humor this episode. One of the highlights, for me at least, was Thor’s continued evolution in trying to grow and learn how exactly humor is supposed to work on Earth. I know you are a fan of that as well so I was wondering if you had any favorite bits of humor from him this episode?
Cort Lane: Yeah. His line, “Oooo, you were just taken to the learning hall” is one of my favorites from the whole season. Thor’s attempts at Earth humor [is] great because it shines a light on comedy that we can incorporate into the show. Kids love comedy with their action; they really want both. Also, it serves a greater purpose, which is to remind us that Thor is a fish out of water. He’s getting used to Earth culture. That’s part of his experience throughout the series. He’s here to protect Earth, but he doesn’t quite understand it. He’s making an attempt, though.
Marvel: He’s not the only one who is funny this week. Beyond him, was there anyone else or any other situations that really tickled your funny bone this time around?
I suppose my other favorite funny moment is [when] Thor catches his hammer, which is super tiny [due to Pym Particle exposure], and his response, “Well, this is humiliating.”
Marvel: Interestingly, despite the humor and Sam’s attempts to hide his Avengers’ membership from his mom, this is perhaps the team’s best cooperative effort to date, once the Pym Particles are released. It highlights that this continues to be an evolution for the team even as it feels like a break from the overarching story.
Cort Lane: Even though it doesn’t continue our Cabal storyline, it does continue the core storyline of the Avengers becoming a better team. Iron Man has some leadership challenges here. Sam continues to work on his confidence and his ability to fit in. So those are part of the overall season’s storyline.
They are pretty effective here, and that’s in the face of extremely chaotic circumstances because the Pym Particles allowed us to play with things happening rather suddenly and unexpectedly, so it’s hard for the Avengers to coordinate. But they really just trust each other and react well to the situations. If this had happened at the beginning of the season, there would’ve been a lot more fighting. That could’ve been funnier, but it doesn’t reflect a team that is beginning to come together.
Marvel: Clearly, this episode was filled with a lot to like so I’m curious, looking beyond the humor, what else really worked for you?
Cort Lane: It’s a subtle thing. Hulk kind of causes the Pym Particle crisis but the team’s rather kind to him and he’s rather friendly and funny with the team. He’s a different guy than he was at the beginning of the season. I have a soft spot for Hulk, so seeing his evolution and interactions with the team is neat for me. I think it speaks to the team coming together because he is definitely more of an outsider in the beginning of the season.
Marvel: The bit with Hulk presenting his phone as a comparison with Falcon’s I found to be an oddly humane moment that really connected.
Cort Lane: Yeah, and that’s on purpose.
It’s awfully cute that Darlene Wilson takes a shine to him and he loves her cookies. There were just some very natural character moments. That’s what makes Marvel characters so relatable, is that they exist in the real world and their experiences and emotions are like ours. We try to capture that in these simple character moments.
Cort Lane: Oh my…Well, I have so many favorites that I think are worth watching. But in terms of preparation for what happens in our two-part finale, I would say “Bring on the Bad Guys” is great at understanding the dynamics of how the Cabal works versus the Avengers. That’s a great primer for what happens in the final two episodes of the season.
Marvel: Any that are favorites that aren’t necessarily connected to the Cabal storyline?
Cort Lane: They’re all my babies!
“Hulk’s Day Out” I particularly love, because it is the human character moments that drive it, being able to discover more about the Hulk in the same way that the Avengers do, bit by bit. It also really takes place in the Marvel Universe, we get a little bit of Thing and Spider-Man. For me, it is just a really fun and wonderfully executed episode.
Marvel: Shifting our focus back to those final few episodes, what are we expecting the show comes back?
Cort Lane: That’s the Hawkeye[-centric] episode, “Crime and Circuses.” It’s no secret to anyone who’s read any of my interviews that Hawkeye is my all-time favorite Marvel character since I was 10-years old. We took a great look at Falcon this week. In our next episode we get to learn about Hawkeye, what makes him tick, his past, his criminal past, and how he became a hero. We understand his point of view on the world through this experience. Our villains are the Circus of Crime, of all things, which is a real sort of classic Silver Age Marvel throwback.