Marvel Rising Interview: New York Comic Con 2018

Marvel Rising is a multi-media franchise developed by Marvel and Disney to introduce lesser known comic book characters to a wider audience.  The franchise launched with Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors, an animated superhero film that introduces a ragtag team of teen heroes who must work together to stop an unexpected threat. Kathreen Khavari plays Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, a superhero fan who suddenly gets super powers.  Tyler Posey plays Dante Pertuz, aka Inferno, a teen with fire-based powers.  Milana Vayntrub plays Doreen Green, aka Squirrel Girl, an optimistic hero with the proportionate abilities of a squirrel and the ability to call them to her aid.  Kamil McFadden plays Rayshaun Lucas, aka Patriot, an inheritor of Captain America’s legacy.

Screen Rant: I just watched the...series, it was great. I enjoyed it so much. The ensemble that they put together was amazing. My personal favorite, I'm not being biased or anything, is Squirrel Girl.

Milana Vayntrub: Sounds biased... I forgive you.

SR: I feel like she's the heart of the team, Her lightheartedness and loveness of her friends is a lot like how I am.

Milana Vayntrub: There is a lot of loveness...definitely. Yeah.

SR: Especially between you two characters. First off, Ms Marvel is one of my favorite characters, especially now with representation, you've brought this character to life. You've voiced her for many series now. How does it feel to be the one to carry this and bring Ms. Marvel from the comic books to the screen?

Kathreen Khavari: It's amazing. I feel really protective over her and she's also mine. She's all mine! No, I have a sense of ownership.

SR: You guys can't see but behind the camera we have Ms. Marvel.

Kathreen Khavari: Yeah there's a guy over there dressed as Ms. Marvel and it's incredible. No it's incredible. I feel really really fortunate that I get to be her voice. I think she's an amazing character and she's needed now more than ever and to be able to voice her is a huge blessing.

SR: It's really great... She's pretty much the focal point of the whole story bringing everyone together. She's trying to show that the world's not just black and white, there are shades of grey. This one's for everybody. What about this project that immediately made you guys want to jump in and be a part of it?

Tyler Posey: Ah Marvel. Marvel's badass. I have always kinda wanted to be a part of Marvel or something Marvel. Always looked up to what they do and I love their filmmaking. It's really fun and exciting and entertaining. And then I read the script and saw that there was a lot of really cool messages in the script. One thing that I love about our position is that we are automatically role models for people, for kids. And what I think is cool about this is that it has really good messages and I love mixing work with being a good role model.

Milana Vayntrub: I love Squirrel Girl specifically. Marvel take it or leave it. But Squirrel Girl is a character that's really dear to my heart... Like you feel with Ms. Marvel, I feel like I talk like her, my perspective on the world is also mostly optimistic. And she is just a resourceful little warrior who gets things done and I respect that.

Kamil McFadden: I feel like Tyler's Marvel. But also how female led this is. We haven't seen something like this before. So to be a part of a project like this I think is super groundbreaking. Especially for kids the age range that we are targeting, from like 10-17. Those are like the moldable years, so those are the years that really matter and really form the person that you want to be when you get older or who you become when you get older. So seeing messages of inclusivity, relatability, empowerment, things like will kind of empower the next generation to be the force of change that we need.

Squirrel Girl America Chavez and Patriot Marvel Rising Secret Warriors

SR: For your character Patriot, his shield is amazing, it's totally versatile and everything. But he has this dynamic with Captain America where he is trying to get out his shadow and prove to the world that he's not just his sidekick. Describe to me the dynamic that he has with him and why it's so important for him to get out of his shadow?

Kamil McFadden: Well, I haven't seen the dynamic just yet. But what I think the dynamic is... When you are under your role model you may sometimes overcompensate for being in his shadow and just trying to prove to yourself and to everybody else why you should be here. So, I think in a way it's helped him, but he's working his way towards making that name for himself. You know? And I think being a part of the team is what's going to help him. And if you saw the end of film you see that Captain America feels similarly to that, allowing him to get his space, so that he can be who he is meant to be.

SR: I think another really cool thing about this series is that we've seen a a lot of Thor and Iron Man and Captain America, but we are getting to dive into some of these characters that are popular in the comics, but the general public isn't used to seeing. Were you guys familiar with the source material before starting this project?

Kathreen Khavari: Yeah I had heard a lot about Ms. Marvel and she was a newer character to the comic books. A good friend told me about her and was just like this is incredible. Then I read the comic books and I got really really familiar with the character through that. And then got the animation.

Kamil McFadden: I did my research on Google. [Laughs] I haven't dove into the comics just yet. But I've heard quite a bit. Like when they did the press release for who is part of the cast, quite a few people came up to me like 'Yo, you are playing Patriot. I love this character. Finally we get to see his background, his story.' So there's people who are super familiar with him. So that just forced me to kind of get a better understanding of the character that I was portraying and to do him justice.

Milana Vayntrub: Thank you for your honesty.

Tyler Posey: I had never heard of any of these characters before I signed on to it. And I still haven't read any of the comic books, so we are going to do it together.

Milana Vayntrub: I knew about Squirrel Girl for a little bit before, maybe a year or two before, because I felt really connected to her. And there aren't a ton of female, comedic superheroes. In fact, I think there are very few... And also trying to find in my world how I can make the world a better place. And looking for fictional characters that represent that. Squirrel Girl always kind of fulfilled that for me.

SR: I think Squirrel Girl's catchphrases and nut puns are probably my favorite in the series.

Tyler Posey: Love the nut puns!

Milana Vayntrub: Yeah who doesn't?

SR: Are we going to get to have another Marvel Rising series and if so, will we get to go back and see how Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl met and how their friendship developed?

Kathreen Khavari: We hope so! There is going to more of us on Disney, but right now I don't know if we have an origin story...

SR: That's the thing that intrigued me so much, is that the different sides that Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl have.They looked at the world differently, but they are best friends...

Kathreen Khavari: But isn't that also like in life? Like I have friends who don't agree with all of my views, but they challenge you and force you to look at the world in a different way.

SR: Tyler you have done voice acting before. How is it different going from being on screen and voice acting?

Tyler Posey: What was cool about this project is that we had kind of group sessions. You know. Sometimes everything is left up to the imagination, even responding to another character. But for this we were able to hear the character's performance and then kind of play off of that. Which is really fun. But the difference for me is that I have to kind of portray all of my physicality and my emotion into my voice and it's proven to be kind of hard if I'm not like overly exaggerated with my movements. And I kind of feel like I'm in theater sometimes. I've never done theater before. But when I'm behind the microphone in the booth, I feel very like animated and have to emphasis and exaggerate my movements...sometimes if I'm focusing to hard on the line, I'm not like moving around, it doesn't sound as authentic as when I'm being physical with it. So I'm a lot more physical in the room than I would have thought I would be.

Ms. Marvel & Squirrel Girl in Marvel Rising Secret Warriors

SR: There's a bunch of really important themes in this series. What are some things that you want kids and young adults to take away from this after watching the series?

Kathreen Khavari: I think one of the most important themes is that it's best not to judge someone based on whatever preconceived notions that you have of them. And really try to get to know someone one on one. You know, get on a personal level. And I think that's a lesson that we can all take away. That we should all try to actually do more of. Which we don't. I mean I'm guilty of that myself. I really hope people get that from this.

Milana Vayntrub: I also think that there's an essential teamwork element to this. You know this is a group of people, like we said, who maybe you wouldn't necessarily see in the same series or even in the same room. But they've been put together for this mutual cause that they take on because all of their skills separately come together for this greater good.

Kamil McFadden: I would probably say that I would like for young teens and adults to see themselves in the characters. The relatability of it all. We have different religions, we have different body types, different sexual orientations. Seeing all those things, you know, that's everyday life. People, you know, struggle with that. So for them to see these types of characters who are superheroes, you know, just adds to their confidence level and for them to be like 'Okay, I see that they're like me and they are making it way through a certain situation. I could do the same...

Milana Vayntrub: Kamil you are killing it.

Kamil McFadden: Thank you.

SR: One last question, it's about New Warriors. Are we going to see that come to the screen anytime soon...?

Milana Vayntrub: If I told you I would have to kill you! You know I can't. You know it.

SR: Well thank you guys so much for being here. I enjoyed talking to you, I enjoyed the film. I hope to see more from the series, because I think you just opened the box with these characters and I feel like there is so many different stories to tell.

ALL: Thank you.

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