NYCC2011: The Marvel Television Panel Report
The animated portion of the panel was launched with the Marvel Knights Animation motion comics. After showing a sizzle reel, Loeb stated that Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men run would be completed in this style, and that a 5-disc DVD set of all the Marvel Knights Animation released so far will be arriving on November 22, including Iron Man: Extremis, Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D., the first volume of Astonishing X-Men, Black Panther, and Thor/Loki: Blood Brothers.
Next on the slate was a look at Ultimate Spider-Man, which promises to bring Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Bagley’s re-visioning of Marvel’s most popular superhero to animated life early in 2012. In addition to brief EPK material, Loeb screened a few minutes of finished animation, revealing that the show will incorporate some more off-the-wall elements like super-deformed asides and Spider-Man occasionally breaking the fourth wall. It seems to be echoing Teen Titans, although with less anime-inspired character designs. The audience seemed to react positively to what was shown, though. Loeb ran down the creative staff, including Paul Dini, Man of Action, and Brian Michael Bendis himself, and the EPK reel revealed cast members Drake Bell as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Chi McBride as S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, Clark Gregg as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Coulson and the acting high school principal for Peter, J.K. Simmons reprising his film role as J. Jonah Jameson, and Steven Weber as the evil Norman Osborne. Other guest stars seen quickly in the clips included Doctor Doom, Electro, what looked like a high-tech Spider Slayer robot, and the White Tiger (possibly joined by Power Man and Iron Fist). Loeb brought up surprise guest Clark Gregg, who spoke about lucking into the role for the first Iron Man movie and gamely handled audience Q&A while the Marvel and Javits Center crew were working through technical difficulties.
Loeb then teased Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., which will also come from the mind of Paul Dini and is slated for release some time in 2013. He also touched on The Super Hero Squad Show, noting that it’s back on the air on Cartoon Network for the rest of the year, at which time he hopes to have an announcement ready about the future of that show.
Loeb wrapped the panel with a screening of the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes season 2 premiere episode, which brings Marvel’s sinister Latverian monarch to the Avengers universe and also features a team-up with the Fantastic Four. The show has clearly lost none of its potency between seasons, quickly bringing the audience back up to speed from events at the end of season 1 and establishing Doctor Doom as a genuine and substantial threat. There are also a number of trademark gigantic set pieces involving the Avengers and the Four pounding the snot out of a hell of a lot of Doombots, and eventually taking on Doom himself. It also seems to be setting up more plot elements for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, Loeb had no news about a third season for the show, saying they were focusing on getting season 2 on the air.
All of Marvel’s live-action properties are “in development,” and are thus highly subject to change. ABC will be the destination for two shows: a.k.a. jessica jones and a new Hulk live-action series. The first is based on Brian Michael Bendis’ comic book series Alias (forcing a title change for obvious reasons), and Loeb promised that the series will include supporting cast members Carol Danvers and Luke Cage. The new Hulk series will focus on the Bruce Banner/Betty Ross relationship and will try to leverage technology developed for the Marvel Studios movies to bring the Hulk to life on a TV budget (although Loeb joked about just “painting Lou Ferrigno green again”). Two more series are destined for ABC Family: Cloak and Dagger and Mockingbird. The former puts the two runaway teen superheroes in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans and will incorporate science, the supernatural, and the environment to provide grist for the story mill. The latter was described as Alias meets Felicity with a college-age Barbara Morse balancing her life as a college student and a super-spy for S.H.I.E.L.D.