Disney XD’s feature-length animated film Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors features a more diverse cast of characters than has been assembled in any Marvel animated project, and Cort Lane, Marvel’s senior vice president, animation and family entertainment shares some insight on what that means for Marvel and its future projects. The animated project is the follow-up to Marvel Rising: Initiation, which helped introduce the likes of Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Patriot, and more, and after the film’s premiere, the sky’s the limit with the new Secret Warriors.
The film focuses its attention on Kamala Khan as she aspires to achieve a level of heroism akin to her namesake, Captain Marvel. In doing so, Secret Warriors opens Marvel’s animated projects up to a much more diverse audience, which Lane says comes from Marvel’s determination to focus on relatable characters living in a recognizable world. That may seem like a tall order when dealing with a variety of super-powered teens fending off an alien invasion, but what’re you going to do?
In a recent interview with Screen Rant, Lane discussed Marvel’s approach to more diverse storytelling and how shifting the focus to a younger female audience didn’t really mean changing Marvel’s approach to storytelling in any significant way. Lane said:
“Marvel doesn't look at it as if we're checking boxes of representing different types of people. Marvel has always looked at and done a wonderful job of it, especially in the last decade of representing the world that we all live in. Marvel's very focused on relatable characters looking and acting and having the past and experiences that we all do. That means representing a diverse cast of characters. So that's number one. the second is that as we develop this specific property, knowing that although we want it to be appealing for all ages and we want boys to enjoy the story and the action. We knew that we were especially appealing to girls. So we have lots of conversations with girls, and in developing this with the girl audience in mind. We presented a diverse set of characters, a very large set of characters to see who they emotionally connected with a lot and fortunately they connected with a diverse set of characters. And that was not just different ethnicities but also different religions and different backgrounds and also different body types came up that was especially important. So it was all very organic in terms of how Marvel views storytelling and the world that we live in, and girls just underscored that as we went through the development process."
Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors premieres Sunday on Disney XD.