WonderCon: Marvel Animations Storytellers Panel Recap

Marvel hosted one of their few panels of WonderCon on Friday to go over Marvel Animations storytelling. Originally the panel was only going to be with Cort Lane and Stephen Wacker but Wacker surprised the crowd by bringing out Margaret Scott, Marty Isenberg, Danny Wolf and Eugene Son to join the panel.

The panel then begins with a quick clip of the new Spider-Man cartoon. We see Peter in his hoodie makeshift Spider-Man costume seen briefly in Captain America: Civil War and in the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer. The clip is quickly stopped by Stephen Wacker quickly cut the clip but they tease audience with possibly showing full clip later.

Everyone goes over there history of how they began writing at Marvel Animations. Everyone on the panel had history prior to working together at Marvel Animations, all with different paths.

Wacker brings up a Guardians of the Galaxy summit that was held for the new season. Wacker shows audience footage he filmed of the meeting. Footage starts with the team going over top level plans for the new season. They then go over the possibilities of meeting characters met on other shows’ episodes like Spider-Man, Thor and other Avengers. Wacker jokingly turns down all the ideas for new season and tells everyone to make sure all the stories are “good.”

In talking about season one, there was a point in production the team thought about ending season one with Guardians of the Galaxy facing off against the Avengers in a cliffhanger ending. This idea was scrapped so that the team can have the Guardians and Avengers crossover during the course of season two. The Guardians ending up on Earth was always part of the conclusion of season one.

Season two will start with Thanos asteroid and a mysterious sarcophagus is hidden on the asteroid. It’s mentioned that Rocket will try to sell the sarcophagus and hide the sale from his Guardians teammates. What’s inside the sarcophagus will go extend through the 26 episodes of the season two.

They tease someone coming out of the cocoon. Scott talks about how the Guardians end up having to take care of the baby and see how the most irresponsible heroes in the galaxy take care of a powerful baby.

Clip of season two is shown next. In the clip Rocket hands over the baby to Gamora and Drax mentions what baby’s do. Gamora ends up leaving the baby with Star Lord, Drax and Groot. Scene shifts to Nova Prime talking to Star Lord about the baby, while Drax and Groot hide the baby. They talking about the cocoon connection to the Nova helmet. The Guardians suddenly get attacked by other ships. The baby ends up warping the Guardians ship through space. Wacker teases the baby’s identity being Warlock but does not confirm it.

The panel then shifts gears to talk about Avengers: Secret War. Image shows Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, Ant-Man, Wasp, Black Panther and Vision as the New Avengers for the season.

Panel talks about how nice it is to write the New Avengers as they are different from the core seven Avengers they’ve written up to this point. They speak on how they are going to focus on the individual New Avengers and how they mix together in different pairings for their stories during Secret War.

They then move to a clip for the new season. In the clip Captain America is shown having a night out with a young Peggy Carter in the present. As they walk Captain America is attacked by Kang. Peggy grabs Cap’s shield and bashes Kang over the head with it. She speaks on how upset she is that Kang ruined her date with Cap, since it’s their first reunion. Two different versions of Iron Man fly in to help fight Kang. Peggy gets the last blow on Kang at the conclusion of the fight.

Hailey Atwell will return to voice as Peggy. They reveal that Peggy is brought from the past to the present along with Howard Stark, who is the person wearing the one of the Iron Man armors.

The panel moves on to talk about story ideas for episodes of different shows that were cut from production. Including:

  • Wacker talks about a scrapped Black Widow and Doctor Doom marriage story that was scrapped for Ultimate Spider-Man season one.
  • Isenberg talks about how they wanted to use Ego the Living Planet for season one but they couldn’t. Other characters tied to licenses they don’t have are desired to be part of Guardians but they couldn’t. Ego the Living Planet is usable but when the Guardians crew learned that it was too late to come up with new story for season one.
  • Scott wanted to do a Star Lord and Gladiator story for Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Wolf was looking to do a Baron Zemo story involving all 13 generations of the character to work as a Zemo team. They ended up only using one Zemo.
  • Son wanted to use Red Ronin story that would’ve been a personal story for Black Widow that the other Avengers would get involved.  

Q&A Highlights

  • Wacker and Lane are asked about rumor of an X-Men cartoon?
    • Panel denies the rumor.
  • Question if Guardians and Avengers follow continuity of the MCU?
    • Wacker, Lane and Isenberg say that while they are inspired by the movies, they say that while they are aware of the movie stories they don’t try to lock themselves down on so they can tell their own stories for their audience.
  • Question of the difference between live action and animated process?
    • Wolff says that there aren’t many difference as they have the same story process but that you have more visual freedom of animation over live action.
    • Scott mentions that some other live action writers struggle how to describe scenes as writers want to paint more of a picture of what happens in scenes for animators.
    • Isenberg mentions that timing is always hardest thing to accomplish as there is no good way to figure out the timing during the writing process.

Scott’s baby is brought up as the last question and he request panel to show Spider-Man cartoon clip, with his dad acting as his proxy.

Clip continues with Spider-Man in his hoodie costume and having his moment ruined by a pigeon. He ends up falling and old lady yells at her for landing near his pigeon coop. His web shooters fail. Spider-Man sees a crime scene and flashes back to what Uncle Ben would tell him to do. Uncle Ben gives young Peter advice and Peter then helps Uncle Ben fix his cuckoo clock. Great Power comes great responsibility is spoken in the form of an “equation” by Uncle Ben.

Spider-Man fixes his web shooters and chases the car chase and his web shooters work but web breaks. He lands on the car and sees that the car will hit some people. Peter thinks quick and drives the van into a skate park where he catches it in time for people to catch it. Peter’s Spider-sense goes off. Vulture attacks him with a sonic scream to end the clip and panel.

(Editor’s Note: New Spider-Man cartoon art and comedy style reminds me a lot of Spectacular Spider-Man.)