In a hall filled with 30-something fanboys and their pre-teen children, a sneak peak at the first two episodes of Marvel's upcoming animated series, "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" was extremely well received at Fan Expo in Toronto. No moment exemplified the collective sentiment more than when a five-year old boy let loose an enthusiastic "Aw, yeah!" the first time Bruce Banner hulked out. The Hulk also drew a majority of laughs as did, Tony Stark A.K.A. Iron Man.
Supervising Producer Joshua Fine was joined on stage by Marvel Entertainment's Senior Vice President of Marketing Mike Pasciullo and Manager of Sales Communications Arune Singh, as well as Caroline Tyre, Director of Programming for TELETOON Canada Inc. TELETOON holds the Canadian rights to "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" while Disney XD will air the animated series in the United States. The US will see the series this fall while the Canadian debut takes place on Friday, October 22 at 8 p.m.
Following the 45-minute video presentation, which revealed the initial lineup for this version of the Avengers as Iron Man, Hulk, Ant Man, Wasp and Thor, Fine shared news that, while the two episodes the attendees had just watched were in fact the first two episodes that will be shown on television, there are actually 20 "micro episodes" that will be streamed daily at Marvel.com and Teletoon.com in September, October and November.
"They will each be five-and-a-half minutes long and will focus on the individual members of the team before the team actually comes together," explained Fine. "One of the things that was always cool for me reading 'The Avengers,' and one of the things that I always thought was unique and interesting about the team, was that this is an assembly of guys that have their own stories, their own adventures that they've all been on. They've all had past experiences as superheroes. What makes them a cool team is that they need to come together to face threats that no single superhero could possibly take on.
"What we wanted to do was set up not only the backstory behind the events leading up to the breakout," Fine continued," but also give you a glimpse into each hero's world and set up some of the characters that you'll see later on in the series join the team. And some supervillains, as well."
During the subsequent Q&A, the following details were also revealed:
- 52 episodes are in production .
- Not every cameo was addressed, but Fine told the audience, "At some point, everyone you want to see will make an appearance."
- While the initial episodes draw heavily on Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's original comic book run on "The Avengers" in the 1960s, including the introduction of Captain America to the team and Brian Michael Bendis' opening arcs of "New Avengers," Marvel movies and the Ultimate Universe will weigh in on influencing later episodes.
- Jarvis is portrayed in the A.I. form, similar to the version seen in the "Iron Man" movies.
- Some of the major supervillains the Avengers will face in later episodes include Kang the Conqueror and Baron Zemo.
- There will be an Asgard-themed storyline.
- The roster will be fluid and there will definitely be some membership "shifts" over the course of the series, especially heading into the second season .
- Fine revealed the mantra for the series as being every threat the Avengers face has to be "so insanely enormous that it doesn't look like guys like the Hulk or Thor are going to come out of them OK."