Cos­mic Con­fi­dence

Animation Magazine - - Tv -

Long be­fore it paid off as a big-screen box of­fice hit, Marvel trusted its ma­te­rial to turn

into an an­i­mated se­ries de­but­ing Sept. 26 on Dis­ney XD. By Tom McLean.

When Marvel set in mo­tion Guardians of the Galaxy as a ma­jor en­ter­tain­ment fran­chise, it seemed to like a long shot given its ob­scu­rity even to comic-book read­ers. But even be­fore any footage was shot for the hit 2014 fea­ture film, the stu­dio had enough con­fi­dence in the fran­chise to green­light a fol­low-up an­i­mated se­ries.

“Marvel had a strong feel­ing about the film and knew there was some­thing spe­cial with th­ese char­ac­ters and a lot more sto­ries to tell,” says Cort Lane, co-ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer on the se­ries. Lane says he read and loved the movie script — even lis­ten­ing to the now-fa­mous clas­sic rock tracks as he fol­lowed along — and im­me­di­ately saw the po­ten­tial for an­i­ma­tion.

“We started talk­ing about what a se­ries would look like, what type of sto­ries did we want to tell about th­ese char­ac­ters and what more could we learn about them,” he says.

The re­sults de­but Sept. 26 on Dis­ney XD, as Guardians of the Galaxy brings to an­i­mated life the ad­ven­tures of Peter Quill (a.k.a. Star-Lord), Rocket Rac­coon, Gamora, Drax and Groot. The se­ries fea­tures the voice tal­ents of Will Friedle as Quill, Trevor De­vall as Rocket, Vanessa Mar­shall as Gamora, David Sobolov as Drax, Kevin Michael Richard­son as Groot and James Arnold Tay­lor as Yondu and the tele­pathic dog Cosmo.

The Marvel An­i­ma­tion se­ries is ex­ec­u­tive pro- duced by Alan Fine, Dan Buck­ley, Joe Que­sada and Jeph Loeb, with co-ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers Stan Lee, Eric Radom­ski, Lane and Stephen Wacker. On board as su­per­vis­ing pro­duc­ers are Marty Isen­berg and Har­ri­son Wil­cox. The con­sult­ing pro­ducer is Steven Melch­ing and the su­per­vis­ing di­rec­tor is Leo Ri­ley.

Fit­ting the Guardians into the ever-ex­pand­ing Marvel Uni­verse and its con­ti­nu­ity is a ques­tion Lane says is less im­por­tant than telling good sto­ries.

“From a con­ti­nu­ity point, we don’t want to get lost in the weeds, which is very easy to do with Marvel prop­er­ties,” he says. “We’re not go­ing to con­tra­dict th­ese ver­sions of the Guardians char­ac­ters. We’ll try to be pretty con­sis­tent, but we’re less con­cerned about com­plex con­ti­nu­ity and crossovers as we are in just get­ting the char­ac­ters right so that a viewer from one show to the next goes, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s the Rocket that I love.’”

The show has some se­ri­al­ized el­e­ments but is not in­tended to be a fully se­ri­al­ized ex­pe­ri­ence. One mid-sea­son arc in par­tic­u­lar brings in a num­ber of es­tab­lished Marvel char­ac­ters. Among the char­ac­ters fans can ex­pect to see are Thanos, who is the sea­son’s main vil­lain; and Cosmo, a Rus­sian cos­mo­naut dog with tele­pathic and tele­ki­netic pow­ers who had a brief cameo in the movie and a has large role in the comics.

“We also get to meet a lot of new vil­lains — some we’ve never fea­tured in any an­i­mated se­ries, some are reimag­ined for this se­ries, and then there are some new char­ac­ters that were cre­ated for the se­ries,” says Lane. “It’s the best of all worlds.”

An Early Start Work be­gan on the show a year be­fore the movie was re­leased and it was in de­vel­op­ment con­cur­rent with that of the movie. On the an­i­ma­tion side, Ri­ley says he re­ferred to the hand­ful of ap­pear­ances the Guardians had made on other re­cent Marvel an­i­mated se­ries as well as the comic books. But oth­er­wise, “At the time, I was kind of wing­ing it,” he says.

“I looked at the property and said if I had a chance to work on it, this is kind of the vis­ual ap­proach I was in­ter­ested in. And around that time I got an in­vi­ta­tion to go see an early cut on the movie and from that we could definitely get a sense of how the char­ac­ters were go­ing to play out.”

Ri­ley says early an­i­ma­tion tests fo­cused on ac­tion and a vis­ual style, with re­quests for re­vi­sions com­ing back from Marvel based on how the movie was de­vel­op­ing and other plans for the char­ac­ters in ar­eas like comics pub­lish­ing.

By the time the show had char­ac­ter de­signs that re­flected the fea­ture ver­sions, Ri­ley and his team was able to do some trans­la­tion to

course a lot of the pro­duc­tion teams that we’re us­ing are al­ready fa­mil­iar with the style that’s been es­tab­lished,” he says.

Jake and the Never-Land Pi­rates, Sea­son 4

New episodes air­ing Fri­days

New episodes air­ing Fri­days

New episodes air­ing Satur­days

New episodes air­ing Satur­days

New episodes air­ing Satur­days

TripTank Pre­mieres Sept. 25 View­ers of the sec­ond sea­son of this fre­netic, fast-paced show will see com­edy shorts shown in an an­thol­ogy style and bring­ing to­gether both stand-alone and re­peat­ing nar­ra­tives. Styles in­clude ev­ery­thing from 2D to stop mo­tion. The show also fea­tures no­table col­lab­o­ra­tors such as Bob Odenkirk ( Break­ing Bad), Bill Oak­ley ( The Simp­sons) and Laura Kightlinger ( Satur­day Night Live). South Park Pre­mieres Sept. 16 The land­mark se­ries en­ters its 10-episode 19th sea­son still fol­low­ing the ad­ven­tures of Stan, Cart­man, Kyle and Kenny. Fans will have ac­cess to new episodes the day af­ter they pre­miere with their Hulu sub­scrip­tion. [

New episodes air­ing Fri­days

New episodes air­ing Fri­days

New episodes air­ing Fri­days Airs Oct. 2 When three fos­silized eggs hatch, Ry­der and the pups have to catch the baby di­nosaurs. Airs Oct. 16 Sen­sei Yumi is teach­ing the pups the an­cient art of Pup-Fu. New episodes re­turn in Oc­to­ber SwaySway and Buhdeuce delve deeper into the ex­pan­sive world of Pondgea.

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