For your geeky enjoyment, I present to you a grab bag of Marvel-related news. Let’s start at Disneyland.
STARK INDUSTRIES INVADES TOMORROWLAND
Although it has taken me some time to post this, I was there for the AP Preview of the new Iron Man exhibit at Innoventions in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. I waited quite a long time for a wristband to gain access, and a long time in line before the exhibit opened, as well. It was probably close to an hour and a half total for both lines. Was it worth it? In short, no.
Was it still cool? Yes.
The bulk of the exhibit is the display of Iron Man suits recycled from last year’s San Diego Comic-Con. At Comic-Con, it was up on a stage, far, far away from the public. At Innoventions, you get up close and personal. The suits included are Mark I – VII and Mark 42.
On one of the walls, there is a small collection of screen used suit parts behind glass.
The other part of the display includes two stations to virtually try on the new Mark 42 Iron Man suit. Imagine a giant flat screen in front of you with a Xbox Kinect camera. Yep. It’s essentially a video game.
It starts by mapping your body and then encasing your onscreen visual in the suit. It’s a cute effect that young children particularly found amusing. After a bit of dancing around, you try out some of the features of the suit. I found the experience to be slightly amusing and very brief. Would I do it again? No. How long would I wait to do it once? 15 minutes, tops. It’s a video game folks. Nothing more. As implied above, little kids would probably go nuts for this.
If you just have to see this, and the line is still really long, see if you are allowed into the exhibit without having to wait in line for the video game. Seeing the suits up close, if you’re a fan, is indeed, really cool.
Descriptions of the suits are provided by the official Disney press release.
Mark I – Tony Stark built his first Iron Man armor from a “box of scraps” while imprisoned in an enemy camp, and actually used the suit to make his escape. Tony had a little trouble with the flight system, which he didn’t perfect until the Mark II.
Mark II – The Mark II is more streamlined than the Mark I and looks more like the Iron Man we know today. It also introduced a holographic heads-up display and remote assistance from JARVIS, Tony’s personal artificial intelligence operating system.
Mark III – Tony developed the signature Iron Man red and gold color scheme for the Mark III. The suit also includes armor that can withstand fighter jet fire and explosive shells.
Mark IV – Tony introduced the Mark IV to the world in 2010 when he made a dramatic landing onstage at the Stark Expo in Flushing Meadows, New York.
Mark V – The Mark V is a suit Tony reserves only for emergencies and can retract into a suitcase carried by Tony’s bodyguard, Happy Hogan. It is capable of low altitude flight thanks to its light weight.
Mark VI – The Mark VI is incredibly durable and can withstand prolonged and heavy combat situations, such as Iron Man’s little tussle with Thor in the mountains of Germany.
Mark VII – Tony first deployed the Mark VII armor during the Battle of New York, when Loki threw him out a window of his penthouse apartment in Stark Tower. The Mark VII can fold into a large pod equipped with repulsors and foldout wings that enable it to fly. The suit is capable of supersonic speeds and even carried Tony through a wormhole and into deep space.
Mark 42 – After the Battle of New York, Tony decided to create different Iron Man armors for every threat you can imagine – both here on Earth and out in space. The Mark 42 is equipped with proprietary Stark Industries nanotechnology that enables Tony to “call” his suit to him. Each piece of armor then flies to Tony and attaches itself to him one-by-one, assembling the entire suit right onto his body.
As discussed in other MiceChat columns, there are rumors flying about what kind of presence Marvel will have in the parks over the next few years. The one that seems to be sticking is that Innoventions will eventually close to hand its land over to a Stark Industries themed Iron Man attraction. This particular rumor is sticking around for several reasons, one of which is that it just simply makes sense to the fans. To think of Marvel going anywhere else in the resort, anchored by any other flagship character seems silly. A Tommorrowland Iron Man attraction makes the most sense by far, thematically speaking. And of course, this exhibit certainly adds fuel to that fire.
Also fanning the rumor mill flames is the fact that most people who frequent Disneyland know Innoventions has run its course and are ready to get rid of the house of the future that showcases technology from the past. That is a rather large plot of land right next to the berm, with the Autopia speedway and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage right next door. Autopia and the Nemo Subs are also attraction that, although popular with the kids, take up a huge plot of land.
And finally, just to fan the flames a little more, there was a HUGE amount of suits watching the exhibit as the first preview guests streamed into Innoventions. This was not a small Disney movie studios promotion. There were MANY suits that wanted to see what the guest reaction was. And believe you me, they were watching.
DISNEY ANNOUNCES FIRST MARVEL ANIMATED FEATURE
On May 9, 2013, Disney announced that their first animated feature in the Marvel Universe will be “Big Hero 6.” The Disney website reveals the following:
From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Big Hero 6,” an action comedy adventure about brilliant robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. With the help of his closest companion—a robot named Baymax—Hiro joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city. Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action and all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, the CG-animated “Big Hero 6” hits theaters in 3D on November 7, 2014.
“Big Hero 6” will be directed by “Winnie the Pooh” director, Don Hall and is inspired by a Marvel superhero team by the same name. And no, you probably haven’t heard of any of the superheroes on this team.
In comic book continuity, Big Hero 6 was assembled by the Japanese government in order to have a team of state-sanctioned superheroes at their ready. Some of the team members include the above mentioned Hiro (last name Takachiho in the comics) and his robot Baymax, a samurai, a special agent with a nanotechnology Power Purse that allows her to pull out any object, and a human fireball.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Hall comments about the team’s obscurity.
For Hall, the absence of a detail-obsessed fan base for the series was part of its appeal, as it left every character and setting open to interpretation.
“I was looking for something on the obscure side, something that would mesh well with what we do,” Hall said. “The idea of a kid and a robot story with a strong brother element, it’s very Disney.”
The original comic took place in Tokyo. As stated above, the movie will take place in the fictional city of San Fransokyo, a meld of San Francisco and Tokyo.
Another quote from Hall in the Los Angeles Times:
“Marvel properties take place in the real world. We were looking for something to do where we could make our own world — bring in the Japanese influences, have recognizable landmarks mashed up with a Japanese aesthetic.”
There are multiple reasons this property makes sense for Disney. The aforementioned kid and a robot story is ripe for Disney tropes and conventions. America’s youth’s obsession with Japan, and Japanese animation continues to grow. And by picking a relatively obscure superhero team, Disney doesn’t have a rabid, detail oriented, fan base to contend with. They can pretty much reinvent the whole cast of characters, world and plot lines with little to no fanboy/girl backlash.
As much as we’d all like to see more iconic Marvel characters taken on by Disney’s animation studio, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen for a few years, at least.
Disney did release a small bit of animation from “Big Hero 6” to wet your whistle.
“ONCE UPON A TIME” HEADS TO THE COMIC BOOK SHELF
ABC television’s “Once Upon a Time” will be receiving the comic book treatment this fall.
Once Upon a Time: Shadow of a Queen will be a graphic novel published by Marvel with the story plotted by series writer and co-producer Dan Thomsen and co-written by Corrinna Bechko. The artists featured include Nimit Malavia (who did the cover featured above), Vasilis Lolos, Mike Del Mundo and Mike Henderson.
The cover art shows the Evil Queen holding the Huntsman’s head and heart, flanked by Snow White and Red Riding Hood.
The plot of the graphic novel picks up after the events of the season one episode, “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.” The Evil Queen has stolen the Huntsman’s heart, literally, and uses her influence to force him to do her bidding in her continuing quest to destroy Snow White.
ABC has said that the book will fit right in with the television show’s continuity. By all accounts, this will be official canon in the “Once Upon a Time” mythology.
Once Upon a Time: Shadow of a Queen hits bookshelves, mobile devices, and the internet on September 4, 2013.
Do you want more Marvel in the Disney Parks? Does “Big Hero 6” get you excited? Are you going to buy the Once Upon a Time graphic novel? How are you feeling about all of this crossover? Let us know what you think in the comments below. Until next time, EXCELSIOR!