One thing that's very clear about how Disney handles their big franchises is that they are looking for multiple platforms to increase brand recognition, exposing a wide number of people to their properties. Obviously, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the forthcoming Star Wars sequel trilogy are the priorities, but the studio has looked to the small screen for new opportunities as well.
Marvel is launching a new live-action series in the form of Agent Carter, which was teased at the Marvel TV panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2014. Now, they're adding to their animation branch with the announcement that a Guardians of the Galaxy animated series is going to be making its debut on Disney XD (the same network that will air Star Wars Rebels).
Marvel Animation confirmed the project during their panel at Comic-Con this past weekend (hat tip to Deadline for the report). Rumors of a Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon series have been around for several months now; between this news and the confirmation from Marvel Studios that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will arrive in 2017, it's safe to say that Marvel is confident that the first Guardians movie will prove to be a box office success.
The Guardians of the Galaxy film adaptation, of course, hits theaters this Friday and the IP is poised to become the next big series for the studio. After the trailers teased genre thrills, zany humor, and Star Wars-esque space opera, the anticipation and hype seems to be justified. Early reviews have stated that James Gunn's outing in the Marvel Universe is quite special; on the whole, it's fair to say that the Marvel company believes strongly in the project now.
With Guardians set to become a key priority for Marvel moving forward, it makes sense that they would look towards other avenues to raise awareness (the comic book is rather obscure, after all). An animated series will no doubt appeal to younger fans (i.e. children) who don't necessarily fall into the film's PG-13 demographic. Attracting a vital segment of the marketplace will not only lead to increased ticket sales, but also a higher level of interest in the merchandise (especially toys) that will showcase Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and space action.
While there's no air date for the Guardians animated show, it will become part of Marvel Animation's ever-expanding roster of programming in the near future. That lineup currently includes Avengers Assemble and Hulk and Agents of S.M.A.S.H. which are both entering their second seasons on Disney XD this fall. Illustrating the synergy between platforms, that second season of S.M.A.S.H. will tie into characters from the Guardians movie, giving older Marvel fans reason to tune in with their little ones.
Guardians of the Galaxy is in theaters August 1. We'll keep you posted on the development of the animated series.
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