In 2009, a lot of people were upset about Disney purchasing Marvel. They were afraid that their favorite characters were going to become watered down versions of themselves. Five years later, all of those naysayers are the same ones that helped make a movie about a talking raccoon and his best friend the walking tree the highest grossing film of the year.
So, with Big Hero 6 out in theaters (and doing well) and the Avengers Half-Marathon last weekend, I thought it would be interesting to look back and see what Disney has done with Marvel, specifically outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), in the past five years.
One of the first things they did was create a new Avengers cartoon for The Disney Channel. Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes lasted two seasons before being scrapped for a different Avengers cartoon: Avengers Assemble! Disney wanted to create its own animated version of the MCU with all of the Marvel cartoons interconnected like their movie counterparts. Unfortunately for EMH, it had already built its own animated Marvel universe (which was awesome) so they had to cancel it in order to start over.
Now they have Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble! and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. with a Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon on the way. To me, this is the closest that Disney has come to making those fans’ fears a reality. With the exception of EMH, these shows are all pretty dull and sacrifice compelling storytelling for a “lesson of the week.”
A notable exception to this is the Phineas and Ferb crossover episode that they did with The Avengers which was hilarious. This is also the second time that Disney has done a crossover with Marvel.
Prep & Landing: Mansion Impossible was the first Disney/Marvel crossover. A back up story in three of Marvel’s main titles, this story featured Wayne and Lanny, the main characters from the vastly underrated Prep & Landing Christmas specials, as they attempt the get the Avengers Mansion ready for a visit from “the Big Guy.” It wasn’t heavy on action or complex plot, but the you can imagine the fun of watching the two elves wander through the mansion.
I wrote a post on my blog about the MCU tie-in comics which essentially said, “They’re good, but they could be so much better,” so when I went to the store today to pick up a copy of the Captain America: Winter Soldier Prelude I wasn’t expecting much.
I knew that it would include a graphic novelization of the first Captain America movie and the official prelude to the new one, but it also included classic comic stories that introduced characters like Hawkeye, the Falcon, the Winter Solider, and Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury.
My biggest complaint about this collection is that, of the seven collected issues only three of them are related to the MCU. Despite being a prelude to the new movie this weekend, more than half of this graphic novel has nothing to do with it.
In a move that isn’t quite unexpected, LucasFilm will be moving its Star Wars comic and graphic novel publishing from Dark Horse to Marvel, starting in 2015. Marvel originally published Star Wars comics for nine years, starting in March 1977 with Star Wars #1, which went on to sell more than 1 million copies.
Dark Horse took over the license in 1991, publishing fan favorite titles like Dark Empire and Star Wars: Legacy. They also released The Star Wars #1 last year, which was an adaptation of George Lucas’ original rough-draft screenplay for the film.
LucasFilm, Marvel and Dark Horse announced the transfer in their own press releases.
“Dark Horse Comics published exceptional Star Wars comics for over 20 years, and we will always be grateful for their enormous contributions to the mythos, and the terrific partnership that we had,” said Carol Roeder, director of Lucasfilm franchise publishing, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “In 2015, the cosmic adventures of Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewbacca will make the lightspeed jump back to Marvel, to begin a new age of adventures within the Star Wars universe.”
“We here at Marvel could not be more excited to continue the publication of Star Wars comic books and graphic novels,” said Marvel Worldwide Publisher and President, Dan Buckley. “The perennial brand of Star Wars is one of the most iconic in entertainment history and we are honored to have the opportunity to bring our creative talent pool to continue, and expand Star Wars into galaxies far, far away.”
Dark Horse, however, had a more melancholy look at the change:
If you haven’t seen Thor: The Dark World
, yet, you might want to bookmark this for future reading. I’m about to discuss something that happens toward the end of the movie, so you’ll want to see the film first.
If you’ve seen Thor:TDW, there are two credit scenes. The first one is a mid-credits scene that serves as a lead-in to Marvel’s upcoming feature film, Guardians of the Galaxy (due in theaters August 1, 2014).
Sif and Volstagg meet with The Collector to give him the Aether. Surrounding the exchange are glass boxes with various aliens and other collectibles. One of these glass boxes contains a huge cocoon.
It looks suspiciously like Marvel dropped a small Easter Egg in the form of Adam Warlock, who is a key character in the Thanos storyline.