Comic book icon and Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada has steadily been adding more and more to his plate, as the Marvel brand continues to expand into all areas of media entertainment. Once responsible for overseeing the comic book universe, Quesada now has a hand in Marvel TV and films, on both the live-action and animated sides of the fence.
Along with the rebooted Marvel NOW! comic universe and upcoming Marvel Phase 2 films like Thor: The Dark World, there is the small-screen debut of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; a shared animated TV universe with shows like Avengers Assemble, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and Ultimate Spider-Man; not to mention, an upcoming foray into Disney/Marvel animated feature-filmmaking with the obscure property Big Hero 6. And Quesada is responsible for keeping it all flowing smoothly, the Marvel way. In a recent interview with CBR, Joe Quesada touched upon the many things currently on his plate, teasing details about a possible Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. villain, the status of Big Hero 6, future animated series crossovers and more.
On the subject of where the Big Hero 6 animated movie - about a young boy, his robot, and a ragtag team of crime fighters trying to stop a villainous plot against the futuristic city "San Fransokyo" - currently stands in production:
"Big Hero 6" is really looking great. Don Hall, Kristina Reed and the entire crew are such amazingly talented people and have such a love for all things Marvel that it's been an absolute blast working with them. They've really taken the BH6 property, which at the end of the day doesn't have a lot of publishing history behind it, and built an entire world and mythology around it.
...The amount of research Don and his crew have done is exhaustive and beyond thorough, and I don't just mean with respect to reading the comics. From the design of the characters and their tech to the look of the world, no stone has been left unturned and a lot of frequent flyer miles have been tallied up to get where they are at this juncture. These guys have traveled the globe to make BH6 the very best it can be. It's a tribute to how John Lasseter runs the animation division. He encourages this kind of thorough research, and you'll undoubtedly see the results in the story and on the screen and I'm sure in the making of DVD. [Laughs]... And really, that's what you want. You just want people to accept this incredibly fantastical world as the reality they're living in for the next 90 minutes.
While we wait to see how Disney and Marvel's first joint animated feature turns out, it seems that some other obscure Marvel characters could be keeping the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. busy - such as Franklin Hall, better known(?) as the villain Graviton, who will soon make an appearance (at least in non-superpowered form):
There were several reasons for using Hall. If you're a long time Marvel fan, of course you'll recognize the name, and we knew that would pique interest. It's always fun to throw in an established character when you can to get fans excited. Heck, it gets us excited! But he's also a very compelling character on his own. So if you're not a comic fan, he's a character you'll be introduced to who we think will appeal to folks who don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of the MU, especially this incarnation that our "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." writing team has come up with. Of course our loyal fans know that some interesting things happen to Dr. Franklin Hall in the pages of our comics, and while I'm not saying that those things happen here, the fact that perhaps someday they might is kind of cool.
Sure, seeing Graviton wreck NYC like he did in the two-part pilot of the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon might be a blockbuster order for a network TV $how, but as Quesada points out, these type of seeds are what allow them many potential future developments with a show which is constantly in flux, trying to straddle a place that expands the Marvel Universe without convoluting it:
....It is like a living, breathing weekly document we're making with "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," and we want to make sure that we're an additive to the Cinematic Universe tapestry and not a complication. What strikes me as interesting about the world of live action television is how much it reminds me of comics publishing.... Weekly episodic television is very much like that. The big difference of course is that you do get some time off to recharge a bit.
Just as hectic, however, is the area of animated TV. With Avengers Assemble, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and Ultimate Spider-Man all currently airing, and featuring crossovers on both the storyline, character, and even voice actor fronts, there seems to be just as many continuity and logistical issues on the animation side as there are on the movie side - not that you'll find Quesada daunted by any of this:
...There are certainly a lot of things that we're talking about internally that will get Marvel fans excited, but it's much too early to even hint at them. We've been very fortunate at Marvel Animation. Even though we have three shows on the air now, the studio is still very much in its infancy, yet we've had a tremendous amount of success and that's a real tribute to Jeph, Eric Radomski [Senior Vice President and Creative Director of Animation], the incredibly talented people who work for us and our wonderful partners at Disney XD. We're having a lot of fun with it, and I enjoy working with the writers and animation crew. That's actually what you pulled me away from for this call: a pretty heated "Avengers" story meeting.
With so many things happening on so many fronts, it's (potentially) a good time to be a Marvel fan. What do you think about the various projects the company is putting out in theaters and on TV? Which are your favorite? Which properties are in need of improvement? Any particular crossovers or events you want to see? Let us know in the comments.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays @8pm on ABC.
Big Hero 6 will be in theaters on November 7, 2014.
Avengers Assemble, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and Ultimate Spider-Man air on Disney XD. Check your local listings.
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