Let’s Talk about the Newly Announced Marvel Series
As expected, Marvel leveraged Disney+ Day to unveil a slate of five previously unannounced projects plus additional details on others.
Let’s talk about these new Marvel projects and what we should expect from each one.
Agatha: House of Harkness
Cue the theme song!
During the pandemic, Marvel did what it could to keep its secrets about upcoming projects, especially the crown jewel, WandaVision.
At the time, some reports suggested that Kathryn Hahn would portray a character named Agnes. Still, most speculated her role was as Agatha Harkness.
Marvel seemed to leak details both ways to keep people guessing. But, in reality, both statements proved correct, as we learned toward the end of the series.
By the final moments of WandaVision, we knew who Agatha Harkness was and why she jeopardized an entire city in New Jersey.
Harkness probably wouldn’t have stopped there if not for the interference of Wanda Maximoff, who ultimately recognized the danger.
When we last saw Harkness, she had received her just desserts for weeks (if not longer) of wrongdoing.
However, Marvel wasn’t stupid here. They understood that Hahn’s Agatha Harkness evolved into the must-watch character from the show. She had to return.
Last month, rumors surfaced that she would get her own series. Now, we know its (brilliant) name.
Agatha: House of Harkness will further explore the origins of the would-be Scarlet Witch and her witchy upbringing.
Presumably, we’ll also learn her fate as she escapes from her current predicament.
The Harkness character has been most closely associated with the Fantastic Four over the years, especially Sue and Reed Richards’ children.
So, that’s the likely destination for the character on the current MCU roadmap. Anything is possible, though.
This character falls into that gray area of the MCU. We’d known for a while that the show would happen.
After all, Marvel had previously announced that Menominee Indian actress Alaqua Cox would portray the role.
However, the studios had only indicated that Echo would appear in Hawkeye. Rumors had persisted that she’d star in a standalone series later, though.
The Marvel Disney+ Day sizzle reel has confirmed those rumors. As a character, Echo is the adopted daughter of Kingpin.
A Native American, Echo is also deaf. Cox is also deaf and an amputee as well. So, Marvel has cast as authentically as possible here.
From an ability perspective, Echo’s name suggests her skillset. After watching someone perform an action, she can mimic it perfectly.
Obviously, this ability makes Echo a dangerous fighter. But, as I’ve mentioned, it also makes her quite similar to Taskmaster, who already exists in the MCU.
So, part of the challenge with Echo will be providing the character with unique traits to distinguish her abilities.
A recent episode of Only Murders in the Building demonstrated the novel storytelling possibilities of a deaf protagonist.
For this reason, I’m incredibly excited about the possibilities of an Echo television series.
Presuming that you watched What If…?, you already know the deal here.
In 2005, Marvel hired Robert Kirkman of The Walking Dead to write a zombie story involving characters from the Marvel universe.
These comic books proved instantly popular. Marvel fans have hoped for an MCU take on the premise for more than 15 years now.
Shockingly, these folks got their wish during multiple episodes of What If…?.
Many viewers of the series have described the zombie episodes as their favorites. As such, Marvel’s Zombies embodies fan service done right.
The showrunner on this project, Bryan Andrews, is a staff writer for the Powerpuff Girls during the early 2000s.
The talented individual has since garnered acclaim for his storyboard work as an illustrator.
In fact, Andrews did some work on Avengers: Endgame and Doctor Strange, among other Marvel projects.
He’s also worked on other Hollywood films like The Emoji Movie and the Angry Birds and Hotel Transylvania franchises.
As such, Andrews seems like the perfect choice to lead this project. However, it’s unclear how much he will build on What If…? vs. possibly starting with a clean slate.
Spider-Man: Freshman Year
No, this isn’t Riverdale with Spider-Man. Instead, it’s an animated series that will explore the early days of Peter Park as the Webslinger.
Marvel has suggested that this role will chronicle the inception of the MCU version of Spider-Man.
So, we won’t be starting from scratch here as Peter Parker faces yet another retelling of the way he gets bitten by a spider.
Presumably, we’ll learn about how the character came to live with Aunt May, which means we may get another death scene for his uncle.
At this point, Bruce Wayne’s parents and Uncle Ben have died more onscreen than Tom Cruise did in Edge of Tomorrow.
Anyway, the sticking point here involves licensing rights. Sony can make Marvel movies, and that deal obviously includes animated ones.
However, Marvel apparently maintains the right to animated stories. As such, I think the studio possesses free reign here to do whatever it wants.
We may yet hear about acrimony between Sony and Disney over this project, though.
To my mind, the most interesting part of Spider-Man as a freshman is that he won’t have a relationship with Mary Jane yet…unless the story somehow cheats a little.
On Halloween in 1992, Fox Kids did the least likely of things. It released the pilot to a daring new series, X-Men: The Animated Series.
At the time, nothing else on television rivaled it in terms of storytelling. I realize that sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.
With X-Men, the producers of the series retold some of the seminal moments in mutant comic lore.
However, nobody ever dumbed down the story for kids. Instead, this Saturday morning show brimmed with ambition.
Characters like Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister, and the Juggernaut tried to stop the X-Men from achieving their mission statement of educating the public about Mutants.
Yes, nearly 30 years ago, there was a fictional demonstration of the modern Critical Race Theory debate.
Daring storylines included the Dark Phoenix Saga and Rogue’s accidental vampirism of Carol Danvers’ powers.
X-Men aired as a children’s cartoon, yet its storylines proved more adult than most of what aired on primetime network television at the time.
An entire generation of children grew up with a better understanding of the best applications of serial storytelling.
Alas, ownership and network issues caused problems with the last season of X-Men.
The series ended ignominiously in 1997, one of the first of a series of indefensible Fox television cancellations.
Now, Marvel has chosen to bring back the series as if it never ended, a comic book trick that should work wonderfully.
With X-Men ’97, many of the original cast members will return to their roles.
For fans of nostalgia, all the news I’ve discussed today pales in comparison to the promise of new X-Men: The Animated Series episodes.
Let the record show that Christmas came on November 12th this year.