2019 D23 Expo: Walt Disney Studios, Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm programming announced

August 8, 2019

“Aladdin” (Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios)

The following is a press release from D23:

The Walt Disney Studios presents an exclusive look at its unparalleled film slate at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, taking place August 23–25.
At a marquee Hall D23 presentation hosted by The Walt Disney Studios Chief Creative Officer and Co-Chairman Alan Horn on Saturday, August 24, fans will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Studios’ upcoming theatrical releases, including animated films from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios and live-action projects from Disney, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm.

These studios are responsible for some of the world’s biggest movie hits, and past D23 Expos have been the site of some of the first-released details on blockbusters such as Disney’s Aladdin; Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Moana and Zootopia; Pixar Animation Studios’ Toy Story 4; Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War; and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, along with unforgettable moments like the debut of The Lion King’s “Circle of Life” sequence, live musical celebrations of Coco and Mary Poppins Returns, and a sprawling cast of Avengers assembling onstage.

Saturday’s showcase will feature never-before-seen footage, surprise appearances, and more. While the films to be featured in Hall D23 will remain under wraps until showtime, the Studios’ upcoming slate includes Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Mulan, and Jungle Cruise; Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen 2; Pixar originals Onward and Soul; Marvel Studios’ Black Widow and The Eternals; and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and more.

HALL D23 PRESENTATIONS:

Go Behind the Scenes with The Walt Disney Studios
Saturday, August 24, 10 a.m., Hall D23

The Walt Disney Studios presents a behind-the-scenes look at its blockbuster collection of upcoming films. Fans will glimpse what’s on the drawing board for the acclaimed filmmakers at Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios and get a peek at the exciting slate of live-action projects, from Disney to Marvel Studios to Lucasfilm’s Star Wars. As always, attendees will be treated to exclusive footage, special guest appearances, and more! Cell phones, cameras, and all recording devices will be checked for this presentation.

Disney on Broadway: A 25th Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, August 24, 3:30 p.m., Hall D23

Disney on Broadway is thrilled to return to D23 Expo to celebrate its 25th anniversary with an exclusive concert. Hosted by Tony Award®-nominee Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast), the 75-minute concert will feature Heidi Blickenstaff (Freaky Friday, The Little Mermaid), Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, On The Record), Kissy Simmons (The Lion King), Josh Strickland (Tarzan), and Alton Fitzgerald White (The Lion King). A six-piece band, led by Jim Abbott, will accompany performers as they lead the audience through Disney on Broadway’s Tony Award-winning catalogue. The performance will feature songs from Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aida, Tarzan®, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, Newsies, Aladdin, Freaky Friday, and Frozen. (Talent is subject to change.)

Disney Character Voices, Inc: The 30th Anniversary Celebration
Sunday, August 25, 4:15 p.m., Hall D23

For 30 years, Disney Character Voices has kept the voices of Disney characters alive and well for fans through toys, games, apps, theme park attractions, and much more. Take a journey with Rick Dempsey, SVP of Character Voices, and many of those beloved voices—including Tony Anselmo (“Donald”), Jodi Benson (“Ariel”), Bill Farmer (“Goofy” and “Pluto”), Bret Iwan (“Mickey Mouse”), and Linda Larkin (“Jasmine”), with more special guests to be announced—as they step out from behind the microphone to celebrate this joyous anniversary through stories and amazing voices!

CALENDAR OF KEY EVENTS:

Great Moments with Walt Disney
Friday, August 23, 10:30 a.m., Archives Stage

Grammy®-winning producer Randy Thornton, Disney Music Group’s Supervising Producer and Music Historian, will present audio recordings of Walt Disney recalling the development of the first cartoon with synchronized sound, creating Disney’s first hit song, and meeting Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev.

“Vader Immortal” (Image courtesy of Lucasfilm)

Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series – Episode II First Look
Friday, August 23, 2 p.m., Stage 28

Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series lets you become the hero of your own personal adventure as you step into the role of a Force-sensitive smuggler recruited by Darth Vader himself. Director Ben Snow, Senior Experience Designer Jose Perez III, and Lucasfilm Story Group Creative Executive Matt Martin take the stage for an in-depth discussion about the upcoming second episode, including an exclusive sneak peek that will be available only to those at D23 Expo.

A Musical Celebration of Aladdin
Saturday, August 24, 5:30 p.m., D23 Expo Arena

To celebrate the in-home releases of the all-new live-action Aladdin and Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Aladdin Walt Disney Signature Collection, hosts Scott Weinger (“Aladdin”) and Linda Larkin (“Jasmine”) take us on a musical magic-carpet ride through your favorite tunes from Aladdin both on stage and on screen. Special guests include Brad Kane (“Aladdin” singing voice), Deedee Magno Hall (“Jasmine” in Disney’s Aladdin—A Musical Spectacular), Jamal Sims (Choreographer, Aladdin live action), Clinton Greenspan (“Aladdin” on the North American tour), Lillias White (Hercules), and Norm Lewis (Scandal, The Little Mermaid on Broadway). You never know what surprises the Genie may conjure up.

The Little Mermaid: The 30th Anniversary Celebration!
Sunday, August 25, 10 a.m., D23 Expo Arena

Fans of the classic film are invited to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of The Little Mermaid, recognized around the world as one of the greatest animated films of all time. Hosted by the voice of Ariel herself, Jodi Benson, it will be an unforgettable “Under the Sea” celebration. Presented by H2O+.

Hidden Gems of the Walt Disney Animation Research Library: Preserving and Inspiring the Disney Legacy
Sunday, August 25, 12 p.m., Walt Disney Archives Stage

Fans will discover what it’s like to hold Disney history in their hands in this informative panel. The talented team at Walt Disney Animation Research Library (ARL) preserves millions of pieces of original Disney animation art from Steamboat Willie to the films of today. Attendees will learn how the ARL shares these hidden gems, inspiring artists and audiences alike.

The Art of Disney Storytelling
Sunday, August 25, 3 p.m., D23 Expo Arena

John Stamos hosts this panel of master storytellers—including Disney Legends Tony Baxter and Floyd Norman, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Paul Briggs (head of story, Frozen and Big Hero 6), and legendary producer Don Hahn—who will discuss Walt Disney’s impact on their careers and the entertainment industry, highlighting the ways they leverage those lessons to spark creativity today.

World Premiere: Walt Disney Animation Studios Presents Short Circuit
Sunday, August 25, 4 p.m., Stage 28

In this exciting panel, Walt Disney Animation Studios will debut Short Circuit, an experimental short film program that will debut in Spring 2020 on Disney+. Talented artists and filmmakers will share their films for the first time anywhere and give behind-the-scenes insights.

Two Worlds, One Family: The Making of Tarzan
Sunday, August 25, 5:45 p.m., D23 Expo Arena

Twenty years later, the team who brought the animated classic to life “swings” into the D23 Expo to give a behind-the-scenes look at how the Walt Disney Animation Studios film came to be! Guests include directors Chris Buck (Frozen 2) and Kevin Lima (Enchanted); animators Bruce W. Smith, Ken Duncan, and Disney Legend Glen Keane; and producer Bonnie Arnold, as well as a very special performance by Matthew Morrison (Glee) from his forthcoming Walt Disney Records album.

ALL WEEKEND ON THE D23 EXPO SHOW FLOOR

Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios

Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) and Pixar will once again team up for an immersive animation experience at D23 Expo. The studios’ upcoming slate of films, which include WDAS’ much-anticipated Frozen 2 and Pixar’s brand-new original feature film Onward, will be highlighted, including opportunities to meet the teams behind the movies and autograph signings of exclusive art and promotional item giveaways. Pixar Animation Studios will also introduce fans to a real-life version of Guinevere, the van from Onward. Decked out with crescent moon windows and a “Pegacorn” (part Pegasus, part unicorn) painted on her sides, Guinevere will offer guests a taste of the adventure that two teenage elf brothers will embark upon in the movie.

Disney on Broadway

Fans can celebrate Disney on Broadway’s milestone 25th anniversary by visiting the VR (virtual reality) theatre on the D23 Expo floor. The brand-new VR experience puts you center stage in Aladdin, Frozen, and The Lion King’s biggest Broadway production numbers, featuring Broadway’s Caissie Levy (Elsa), Major Attaway (Genie), Telly Leung (Aladdin), and Tshidi Manye (Rafiki).

Lucasfilm Pavilion

For the first time at D23 Expo, Lucasfilm will host a pavilion on the show floor with an impressive display showcasing the evolution of the Star Wars stormtrooper. The exhibit will include several of the screen-used costumes seen throughout the iconic movie series. From the classic stormtrooper to new designs featured in the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, this stunning display is a rare opportunity to examine these production costumes up close and study the many unique styles deployed throughout a galaxy far, far away. Also featured in the Lucasfilm pavilion will be a special section for young Padawans that will include Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures video shorts, along with multiple interactive activities for kids.

Marvel Studios Pavilion

Inside the Marvel Studios Pavilion on the show floor, fans can step inside the action of Avengers: Endgame via a D23 Expo-exclusive video experience, and tour the costume gallery to see costumes worn by characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Throughout the weekend, Marvel Studios will host panel conversations with filmmakers and artists, as well as special talent signings inside the Pavilion. Fans can test their encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with daily trivia games for prizes.

Inside the World of Avatar

“Avatar” props (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

The astonishing world of Avatar is one of the most indelible ever created in film and a celebration of all that is possible in cinema and storytelling. Avatar’s visionary director, James Cameron, has created a spellbinding, immersive world that transports audiences to a never-before-imagined place inhabited by jaw-droppingly original characters. At D23 Expo 2019, the spectacular world of Avatar comes to life once again with rarely seen props, costumes, and models used in the making of Cameron’s groundbreaking film, paired with the iconic movie moments where they are brought to life. Fans will also get a glimpse at the making of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Walt Disney World Resort, making this one-of-a-kind exhibit, located on the second floor of the Anaheim Convention Center, a must-see stop for anyone who appreciates the very best in movie and theme park storytelling.

Disney Music Emporium – Album Signings and Exclusive Products

Disney Music Emporium, the online destination for collectible Disney music products, returns to D23 Expo 2019 with a pop-up store on the show floor. Over the three-day Ultimate Disney Fan Event, the Emporium will feature album signings by artists and award-winning composers. Limited quantities of a wide assortment of music products will be available, including new releases from Marvel and Lucasfilm, vinyl albums, die-cut picture disc vinyl, cassettes, Crosley turntables, cassette players, posters, and more. Additionally, visitors to Disney Music Emporium will be able to pre-order the Matthew Morrison Disney album. Album signings at the Disney Music Emporium shop include Oscar®- and Grammy®winning composer and Disney Legend Randy Newman (Toy Story films, The Princess and the Frog, Cars films); composer Tyler Bates (Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy); actor Anthony Gonzalez (voice of Miguel from Coco); singer-songwriter, actor, and dancer Matthew Morrison (Glee); plus Hollywood Records artist JD McCrary (voice of young Simba in The Lion King). Scheduled artists subject to change.

Single-day tickets for Sunday of D23 Expo 2019 are available for $89 for one-day adult admission and $69 for children ages 3–9. Gold Members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club can purchase tickets for $79 for a one-day adult admission and $59 for children ages 3–9. Single-day Friday and Saturday tickets, as well as three-day passes, are sold out. For more information on tickets and D23 Expo 2019, visit D23Expo.com.

About The Walt Disney Studios
For more than 90 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music, and stage plays to consumers throughout the world.

About D23 Expo 2019
D23 Expo—The Ultimate Disney Fan Event—brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, television, games, theme parks, and celebrities.

For the latest D23 Expo 2019 news, visit D23expo.com. Presentations, talent, and schedule subject to change. To join the D23 Expo conversation, be sure to follow DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and use the hashtag #D23Expo.

About D23
The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his first studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney’s 90-plus-year history. It gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication, Disney twenty-three; a rich website at D23.com with members-only content; member-exclusive discounts; and special events for D23 Members throughout the year.

Fans can join D23 at Gold Membership ($99.99), Gold Family Membership ($129.99), and General Membership (complimentary) levels at D23.com. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Marvel Studios launches We Love You 3000 tour at Comic-Con International with directors Joe and Anthony Russo

July 19, 2019

Joe Russo and Anthony Russo
Joe Russo and Anthony Russo (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

The following is a press release from Marvel Studios:

Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame became Earth’s Mightiest Super Hero franchise this year, and soon fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will soon be able to own their own copy on Digital (July 30) and Blu-ray (August 13). But even though the curtains have closed on this phase of the MCU, the celebration is far from over. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo are hitting the road for the “We Love You 3000” Tour, a series of in-person events in nine cities throughout the United States where fans will get to express their love for the MCU while the storytellers themselves get to express their gratitude!

The “We Love You 3000” Tour will kick off July 20 at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 with the Russo brothers and some surprise guests from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans will be treated to free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (while supplies last) and fans who come in costume will get the chance to participate in a special Marvel Studios Cosplay photo with the Russos and their special guests!

From there, the tour will go to Seattle, San Francisco, Torrance, Chicago, Miami, Minneapolis, and Cleveland before wrapping up at the D23 Expo in Anaheim on August 25. Every event will be hosted by the Russos and other favorites from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Each event will have something different to offer Marvel fans including photo ops, in-store events at Best Buy Stores, and giveaways of 3,000 MCU Funko Pop Vinyl Figures and the limited edition Avengers: Endgame SteelBook – all as a way for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to express their appreciation to Marvel fans.

Marvel fans made Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame the most successful franchise in film history – now it’s time for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to say thank you!

Here are the dates, times and locations of the We Love You 3000 tour:

(All times listed are in the local time zone. Details are to be announced for start and end times at several of the tour stops.)

San Diego, California
WHEN: July 20, 2019: 1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
WHERE: IMDboat – 5th Avenue Landing Marina, Slip 5B (Directly behind the convention center)

Everett, Washington
WHEN: July 30, 2019: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
WHERE: Funko Headquarters

San Francisco, California
WHEN: August 8, 2019
WHERE: Giants Game at Oracle Park

Chicago, Illinois
WHEN: August 12, 2019
WHERE: Best Buy (exact location to be announced)

Torrance, California
WHEN: August 13, 2019
WHERE: Best Buy, 3675 Pacific Coast Highway

Miami, Florida
WHEN: August 13, 2019
WHERE: Best Buy (exact location to be announced)

Minneapolis, Minnesota
WHEN: August 14, 2019
WHERE: Best Buy (exact location to be announced)

Cleveland, Ohio
WHEN: August 20, 2019
WHERE: Best Buy, 7400 Brookpark Road

Anaheim, California
WHEN: August 13, 2019
WHERE: D23 Expo, Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W. Katella Avenue

Disney+ reveals plans for non-fiction programs; spinoff shows for Marvel, ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Monsters Inc.’ also in the works

April 10, 2019

by Carla Hay

Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen in "Captain America: Civil War" (Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios)
Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen in “Captain America: Civil War” (Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios)

Disney+, the streaming service that will launch before the end of 2019, has finally revealed some shows that will be part of the Disney+ lineup. The launch date for Disney+ and the premieres for these shows are still to be announced.*

And although it hasn’t been official announced yet, several media outlets (including Variety) have reported that Disney+ will have several spinoff series about Marvel characters played by the same actors who played the characters in the Marvel movies. Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston), Hawkeye (played by Jeremy Renner), Falcon (played by Anthony Mackie), Winter Soldier (played by Sebastian Stan), Scarlet Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (played by Paul Bettany) will all have their own limited series.

There will also be spinoff shows for “Star Wars” and the animated film “Monsters Inc.” Disney owns Lucasfilm (the company behind the “Star Wars” franchise) and Pixar, the company behind several award-winning animated films such as “Monsters Inc.”

A scene from “The Mandalorian” (Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm)

“The Jungle Book” and “The Lion King” live-action director Jon Favreau is writing and directing the Disney+ “Star Wars” spinoff series, which is called “The Mandalorian.” In October 2018, Lucasfilm and StarsWars.com revealed this synopsis for “The Mandalorian”: “After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the ‘Star Wars’ universe. ‘The Mandalorian’ is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.” Directors for “The Mandalorian” include Dave Filoni, Deborah Chow,  Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard and Taika Waititi.

According to a press release, the Disney+ series “Monsters at Work” reunites the original voice cast of “Monsters Inc.” (John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Jennifer Tilly, John Ratzenberger and Bob Peterson), who will be joined by new cast members.  The press release announces that the new characters are “Tylor Tuskmon (voiced by Ben Feldman), an eager and talented young mechanic on the Monsters, Inc. Facilities Team (MIFT) who dreams of working his way up to the factory Laugh Floor to become a Jokester alongside his idols Mike and Sulley. Starring alongside Feldman is Kelly Marie Tran as Val Little, Tylor’s lifelong friend and confidante; Henry Winkler as Fritz, the scatterbrained boss; Lucas Neff as Duncan, an opportunistic plumber; Alanna Ubach as Cutter, the officious rule follower; and Stephen Stanton as Smitty and Needleman, the bumbling custodial team. Aisha Tyler (“Archer”) voices Tylor’s mom, Millie Tuskmon.” “Monsters at Work” is produced by Disney Television Animation, and the series was developed and is executive produced by Disney animation veteran Bobs Gannaway with Ferrell Barron serving as producer. Kat Good and Rob Gibbs are directors.

A scene from “Monsters Inc.” (Image courtesy of Pixar/Disney)

Disney’s acquisition of several Fox entertainment assets (including Fox Studios, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 21 Television Studios, FX Networks and National Geographic Partners) means that Disney+ is also expected to have Fox-related content. There has also been speculation about what will happen to the Marvel series that were canceled by Netflix (“Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage” “The Punisher” and “The Defenders”), although the explicit content of those Marvel shows (which would get an R rating if they were movies) might prohibit them from being on the family-oriented Disney+ streaming service. Since Disney now owns a majority stake in Hulu, the more adult-oriented Disney content could end up on Hulu.

According to Variety, Disney has signed a two-year deal with production group Supper Club, whose credits include the non-fiction projects “Chef’s Table” series on Netflix and the documentary films “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” and “13th.” Under the deal, Supper Club co-founders Brian McGinn, David Gelb and Jason Sterman will develop and executive produce non-fiction programs for Disney+ and other Disney-owned properties.

Kristen Bell (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Disney+ has announced these non-fiction shows, according to Variety:

  • “Be Our Chef,” hosted by Angela Kinsey, a cooking competition that pits diverse groups of families against each other for culinary showdowns at Walt Disney World. The show is produced by Eric Day and Mark Koops of INE Entertainment.
  • “Earthkeepers” (working title), a wildlife conservation show produced by Supper Club.
  • “Encore!,” hosted by Kristen Bell, a reality show that reunites cast members of high-school musicals. Jason Cohen created the show, whose executive producers are Cohen,  Bell, Alycia Rossiter, Will Gluck, Richard Schwartz, Jim Roush and Chris Wagner.
  • “Cinema Relics: Iconic Art of the Movies” (working title), a documentary series that examines the costumes and props of famous Disney films, including “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Muppet Movie,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and “Tron.” The show is produced by ABC Studios and executive produced by Jason Henry and Dan Lanigan.
  • “Marvel’s 616″ (working title), a pop-culture show produced by Supper Club and Marvel Digital.
  • “(Re)Connect,” a reality show that aims to reunite families who have been divided over a serious issue. The show’s executive producers are Mark Consuelos, Kelly Ripa and Albert Bianchini of Milojo Productions, and Julian P. Hobbs and Elli Hakami of Talos Films.
  • “Rogue Trip,” a non-fiction travel show that explores places off the beaten path from predictable tourist spots. Bob Woodruff and his son Mack Woodruff are show’s hosts, and will executive produce “Rogue Trip” with Jeanmarie Condon for Lincoln Square Productions.
  • “Shop Class” (working title), a reality competition where students of a shop class are tasked with making new inventions. The show’s executive producers are John Stevens and Spike Feresten of Hangar 56 Media and Richard Rawlings of Production Monkey
  • Walt Disney Imagineering documentary series (title to be announced), produced by Iwerks & Co. and directed by Leslie Iwerks.

*April 11, 2019 UPDATE: Disney+ has announced that its launch date is on Tuesday, November 12, 2019. The subscription rate is $6.99 (U.S. dollars) per month.

Stan Lee, Marvel Comics’ most influential icon, dead at 95

November 12, 2018

by Carla Hay

Stan Lee (Photo courtesy of Tinseltown Shutterstock)

Stan Lee, a co-creator of numerous iconic Marvel Comics characters, including Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on November 12, 2018, according to the Associated Press. He was 95.

Lee (whose real name was Stan Lieber) was born in New York City, and began his career in 1939 as an illustrator’s assistant/gopher at Timely Comics (which would later morph into Atlas Comics and then Marvel Comics), eventually rising to editor-in-chief in 1941 and publisher in 1972. Along with several collaborators (including Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Larry Lieber and Don Heck), Lee co-created the characters that became Marvel’s most famous and the basis of most of the mega-successful Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies.  In addition, to Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk, Lee was a co-creator of such Marvel characters as Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Thor, Black Panther, X-Men, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Nick Fury, Daredevil, Hawkeye, Black Widow and War Machine. The Avengers are a group of superheroes that were mostly co-created by Lee, who helped Marvel’s business expand into movies and television, with Lee being a producer or executive producer on the vast majority of film and TV releases with Marvel characters.

Lee had cameos in all of the MCU movies that were made before his death, from 2008’s “Iron-Man” to the still-untitled fourth “Avengers” movie that is set for release in 2019. He also had cameos in Sony Pictures’ movies starring Marvel characters (such as all of the “Spider-Man” movies and 2018’s “Venom”), as well as Fox’s movies starring Marvel characters, such as the “X-Men” series, the “Fantastic Four” movies, the “Deadpool” movies, 2003’s “Daredevil” and several Marvel-related TV series.

In the 1990s, Lee left his position as Marvel Comics publisher, but for the rest of his life, he was still tied to Marvel as chairman emeritus and as a producer/executive producer on various Marvel-related projects. He and Peter Paul co-founded the company Stan Lee Media in 1998, but the company filed for bankruptcy in 2001, after a stock-manipulation scandal that did not involve Lee but involved Paul, who eventually pled guilty to the crime. Lee then went on to co-found POW! Entertainment in 2001. Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009.

The last two years of Lee’s life were filled with grief and turmoil. In 2017, his wife, Joan, died at the age of 95, after 39 years of marriage. He was also caught up lawsuits and counter-lawsuits surrounding control of POW! Entertainment and his estimated $70 million fortune. (Lee’s $1 billion lawsuit against POW! Entertainment was dropped in July 2018, two months after the lawsuit was filed.) And there were stories of abuse and Lee’s alleged mental-health issues, with Lee accused of being both an abuser and a victim. A former caregiver claimed that Lee sexually harassed her, while a separate accusation claimed that he was the target of elder abuse by caregivers.

Before his health problems, Lee was an active and regular fixture at comic conventions around the world. From 2012 to 2018, Lee’s POW! Entertainment partnered with Comikaze Expo to present the Los Angeles comic convention Stan Lee’s Comikaze, which in 2016 was renamed Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con. In October 2018, Comikaze announced the end of its partnership with Lee and POW! Entertainment, and the event has been renamed Beyond Fest Expo LA. Lee’s last major public appearance was at the Los Angeles premiere of “Avengers: Infinity War” on April 23, 2018. Lee is survived by his daughter Joan Celia “J. C.” Lee.

James Gunn scandal: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ director fired over controversial tweets; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ stars react

July 23, 2018

by Colleen McGregor

James Gunn
James Gunn (Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios)

James Gunn, the writer and director of the first two of Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, was abruptly fired by Marvel parent company Walt Disney Studios on July 20, 2018, after tweets that he made from 2008 to 2011 in which he made crude jokes about rape and pedophilia were brought to the public’s attention on social media. After he was fired, Gunn made a public apology, saying in part that “when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out.” Reactions from Hollywood celebrities have been mostly sympathetic to Gunn. Actor/comedian Bobcat Goldthwait and actress Selma Blair have publicly defended Gunn and demanded that Disney hire him back. Meanwhile, several “Guardians of the Galaxy” stars have publicly stated directly or indirectly that they support Gunn, with Dave Bautista being the most vocal by expressing his outrage over Gunn’s firing.

Bautista tweeted: “I will have more to say but for right now all I will say is this. @James Gunn is one of the most loving, caring, good natured people I have ever met. He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have. Im NOT ok with what’s happening to him.”

He later added, in reference to Gunn’s tweets being exposed by politically conservative pundits: “What happened here is so much bigger then G3 @JamesGunn, myself, @Disney etc. This was a #cybernazi attack that succeeded. Unless we start to unite together against this crap, whether people are offended are not! …it’s going to get much worse. And it can happen to anyone.”

Blair has advocated for people to sign a Change.org petition for Gunn to be re-hired by Disney. By July 23, the petition had nearly 170,000 signatures.

Goldthwait went as far as asking Disney to remove his voice from an upcoming Disney attraction. Goldthwait posted on Instagram on July 23: “I love James Gunn. He’s a loyal friend, super talented, passionate and kind. I wanted to say something, here it is: Dear Disney, I would hate for you to come off as hypocritical, so I’m suggesting that you remove my voice from an attraction that’s coming to your park. It’s called WORLD OF COLOR – VILLAINOUS, and I reprise the tole of Pain, a role I played in Hercules.”

Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Pom Klementieff, James Gunn,  Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Elizabeth Debicki, Kurt Russell and Karen Gillan from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” at Comic-Con International in San Diego on July 23, 2016. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

“Guardians of the Galaxy” stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff and Michael Rooker made comments on Twitter that did not ask Gunn to be rehired, but seemed to imply sympathy for him.

Pratt tweeted: “‘Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters. Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.’ JAMES 1:19.”

Saldana tweeted: “It’s been a challenging weekend I’m not gonna lie. I’m pausing myself to take everything in before I speak out of [turn]. I just want everyone to know I love ALL members of my GOTG family. Always will.”

Gillan tweeted: “Love to every single member of my GOTG family.”

Klementieff, who joined the “Guardians of the Galaxy” cast for the second film in the series, tweeted: “We are Groot. We are a family. We stand together.”

Rooker tweeted: “This account will be inactive after today. We’re very tired & upset over the ongoing BULLS–T… neither I nor my rep will use Twitter again. Twitter sucks and I want nothing to do with it.  Thank you to all who gave kind words & support. See you on Instagram.”

“Guardians of the Galaxy” co-stars Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel (who voice animated characters in the films) have not yet commented on the controversy. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has also made no comment yet about Gunn’s dismissal.

Most of Gunn’s controversial tweets talked about pedophilia, rape and other sexual abuse of children. Disney’s firing of Gunn wasn’t the first time he got in trouble over remarks he made on Twitter. In 2012, he issued a public apology for homophobic and sexist tweets he made in 2011, when he speculated on what it would be like to have sex with fictional superheroes.

Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn issued this statement on July 20, 2018: “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.”

Gunn then made this statement: “In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies. For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out. I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it.

“Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then. All I can do now, beyond offering my sincere and heartfelt regret, is to be the best human being I can be: accepting, understanding, committed to equality, and far more thoughtful about my public statements and my obligations to our public discourse. To everyone inside my industry and beyond, I again offer my deepest apologies. Love to all.”

Gunn was a relatively unknown director of independent films such as 2006’s “Slither” and 2010’s “Super” before he was hired to write and direct “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The first “Guardians of the Galaxy” film, released in in 2014, made $775 million at the box office worldwide, according to Marvel. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” released in 2017, made $860 million at the box office worldwide.

Before he was fired, Gunn had been set to write and direct “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” which is expected to be released sometime in 2020. Gunn’s replacement for that film has not yet been announced.

On July 20, Gunn had been scheduled to be on a Comic-Con International panel in San Diego to promote a still-untitled horror film starring Elizabeth Banks that he is producing for Sony Pictures. His Comic-Con appearance was canceled, and Sony has not commented on the controversy or if Gunn is still involved in the movie or not. David Yarovesky will direct the movie, which will be written by Brian Gunn (James Gunn’s brother) and Mark Gunn (James Gunn’s cousin). The H Collective will fully finance the movie and produce it with James Gunn’s company Troll Court Entertainment. During the Comic-Con panel, James Gunn was not mentioned at all.

In a lengthy post on Twitter and Instagram, James Gunn’s younger brother Sean Gunn ( a “Gilmore Girls” actor who had small roles in the first two “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies) commented that being part of the Disney/Marvel world had changed James Gunn: “I saw that he was more open-hearted than the guy who needed to get a rise out of people by making nasty or offensive jokes … So I guess my hope is that fans continue to watch and appreciate the Guardians movies, not despite the fact that the filmmaker used to be kind of a jackass, but because of it. They are, after all, movies about discovering your best self. Working on those movies made my brother a better person, and they made me one too. I’m proud of that. Peace.”

July 30, 2018 UPDATE: As of this writing, nearly 350,000 people have signed the Change.org petition for Disney/Marvel to re-hire James Gunn. “Guardians of the Galaxy” stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn have all signed a group statement that has been posted on social media accounts and various other Internet outlets. The statement has called for James Gunn to be re-instated as the writer/director of “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie franchise. Here is the complete statement:

“We fully support James Gunn. We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss. In that time, we’ve been encouraged by the outpouring of support from fans and members of the media who wish to see James reinstated as director of Volume 3 as well as discouraged by those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him.

“Being in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies has been a great honor in each of our lives. We cannot let this moment pass without expressing our love, support, and gratitude for James. We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share our experience having spent many years together on set making Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2. The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love. In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever. We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now.

“Each of us looks forward to working with our friend James again in the future. His story isn’t over — not by a long shot.

“There is little due process in the court of public opinion. James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial. Given the growing political divide in this country, it’s safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality.

“It is our hope that what has transpired can serve as an example for all of us to realize the enormous responsibility we have to ourselves and to each other regarding the use of our written words when we etch them in digital stone; that we as a society may learn from this experience and in the future will think twice before we decide what we want to express; and in so learning perhaps can harness this capability to help and heal instead of hurting each other. Thank you for taking the time to read our words.”

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ breaks ticket-sales records for 2018, cementing Marvel Studios’ phenomenal year

April 11, 2018

by Carla Hay

"Avengers: Infinity War" (Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios)
“Avengers: Infinity War” (Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios)

“Avengers: Infinity War” (set for theatrical release on April 27, 2018) has the biggest group of Marvel superheroes in one movie, so it seems inevitable that “Avengers: Infinity War” is on track to be the biggest movie of 2018 and the biggest superhero movie in film history so far.* Sibling filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo directed “Avengers: Infinity War.” They previously helmed Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and the superhero mega-gathering of “Captain America: Civil War.”

The year 2018 is shaping up to be a record-breaking year for Marvel Studios, which has already had massive success with “Black Panther,” the top movie of the first quarter of 2018.  “Blank Panther” set its own records (it’s the biggest-selling movie to ever open in the month of February), but “Avengers: Infinity War” is blowing past the box-office numbers of “Black Panther” and several other superhero movies for total worldwide ticket sales. Fandango has announced that advance ticket sales number for “Avengers: Infinity War” is double of what “Black Panther” was during the same pre-release period of time.

According to a Fandango press release, “Avengers: Infinity War” is outselling the previous seven Marvel superhero movies combined: “Black Panther,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Doctor Strange,” “Captain America: Civil War” and “Ant-Man.” The superheroes in all seven of those movies are starring in “Avengers: Infinity War,” as the characters gather to defeat the evil supervillain Thanos (played by Josh Brolin).

The cast of characters in “Avengers: Infinity War” reads like a who’s who Marvel superheroes: Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland), Iron Man (played by Robert Downey Jr.),  Captain America (played by Chris Evans), Hulk (played by Mark Ruffalo), Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth), Black Panther (played by Chadwick Boseman), Doctor Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson), War Machine (played by Don Cheadle), Scarlett Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen), Winter Soldier (played by Sebastian Stan), Falcon (played by Anthony Mackie), Vision (played by Paul Bettany) and Guardians of the Galaxy (played by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, as well as the voice talents of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper). Also on board are Avengers “frenemies” Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) and Nebula (played by Karen Gillan).

The record-breaking success of “Avengers: Infinity War” comes as the Marvel Cinematic Universe is  celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.  When “Iron Man” was released in 2008, it set off an unbroken string of hits from Marvel Studios, which previously operated as an independent studio affiliated with various studios such as Paramount, Fox and Sony before Marvel Entertainment was acquired by Disney in 2009.

In related news, Fandango is offering limited edition “Avengers: Infinity War” collectible movie character gift cards here. With every Fandango VIP purchase of “Infinity War” tickets, Fandango is offering a complimentary “Infinity War” poster by popular artist Kaz Oomori from Fandango Fanshop, while supplies last. Fans have the option to choose one of five exclusive posters, featuring Black Panther, Okoye, Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Guardians of the Galaxy and many others.

*April 30, 2018 UPDATE: According to Box Office Mojo: “Avengers: Infinity War” broke “both the domestic opening weekend box office record and worldwide opening record with a massive $250 million domestically and $630 million worldwide.”

‘Black Panther’: Top 5 reasons why this superhero movie is a game changer for the entertainment industry

February 14, 2018

by Carla Hay

Chadwick Boseman in “Black Panther” (Photo courtesy of Disney/Marvel Studios)

The Marvel Studios film “Black Panther” is set to have the largest-ever opening weekend for a Marvel superhero movie so far, and probably the biggest opening weekend of all time for a February release . According to Fandango and several media outlets, “Black Panther” (which opens on February 16, 2018) is projected to have an opening weekend of at least $150 million at the U.S. box office alone.* (“Avengers: Infinity War,” which is scheduled for release on May 4, 2018, could break that record.)**

“Black Panther” is Marvel’s first superhero movie with a black character as the headliner. (Let’s not forget that 1997’s “Spawn” starring Michael Jai White and 1998’s “Blade” starring Wesley Snipes were groundbreaking when it comes to black superheroes headlining their own movies.)

In “Black Panther,” Chadwick Boseman stars as the title character, an African prince named T’Challa, who leads a technologically advanced nation named Wakanda. The cast also includes several highly respected black actors, including Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Sterling K. Brown, Letitia Wright and Oscar winners Forest Whitaker and Lupita Nyong’o. White actors in the cast include Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman.

Here are five ways “Black Panther” is a game changer in the entertainment industry:

Lupita Nyong’o, Chadwick Boseman and Danai Gurira in “Black Panther” (Photo courtesy of Disney/Marvel Studios)

1. “Black Panther” proves that a movie with black people in the majority of the prominent roles can be a major blockbuster without being a comedy.

Before “Black Panther,” the conventional wisdom in Hollywood was that any movie with mostly blacks in starring roles had to be a comedy if it had a shot of making more than $100 million at the box office. (For example, 2017’s “Girls Trip.”) Although black or multiracial actors such as Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson and Zoe Saldana have made great strides in having starring roles in big hit movies, these movies usually have casts of multiple races in the most of the prominent roles. “Black Panther” shatters the stereotype that hit movies with mostly black stars have to be low-budget and/or a comedy.

Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya and Chadwick Boseman in "Black Panther" (Photo courtesy of Disney/Marvel Studios)
Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya and Chadwick Boseman in “Black Panther” (Photo courtesy of Disney/Marvel Studios)

2. “Black Panther” proves that a movie with a mostly black cast can get outstanding positive reviews—and it’s not a heavy drama about racism or the oppression of poor black people.

Let’s face it. A lot of movies with mostly black casts are saddled with the negative stereotype of having substandard filmmaking or appealing to a limited audience. It’s why movies that star Tyler Perry, Gabrielle Union, Sanaa Lathan or anyone from the Wayans family tend to get reviews that are mixed but usually negative. “Black Panther” has been getting rave reviews from those who have seen it before the movie’s theatrical release. The Internet has made it much easier for people to share information and commentary about movies, so the advance positive buzz has only helped drive ticket sales.

On the flip side, critically acclaimed dramas with mostly black actors tend to be statement-heavy period films about racial or social oppression, such as “Twelve Years a Slave,” “Selma,” “Fences” and “Hidden Figures.” “Black Panther” is an entertaining thrill ride, first and foremost, and is not meant to be a history lesson on the black experience. Far from being poor and/or oppressed (which is often the case with most black protagonists in black-centric movie dramas) , the black protagonists  in “Black Panther” are respected leaders, innovators and royalty.

Members of the “Black Panther” team at 2017 Comic-Con International in San Diego. Pictured from left to right:. Andy Serkis, Ryan Coogler, Forest Whitaker, Michael B. Jordan, Winston Duke, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Iamges)

3. Black Panther” proves that blockbuster superhero movies can and should have talented people of color working behind the scenes in high-ranking positions.

“Black Panther” is directed by Ryan Coogler, the critically acclaimed African-American filmmaker who previously helmed the 2015 boxing movie “Creed” (a spinoff of the “Rocky movies”) and the 2013 indie drama “Fruitvale Station.” Coogler co-wrote the “Black Panther” screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, an African-American whose previous screen credits were the 2011 independent film “Amber Lake” and two episodes of the 2016 miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”

Other African-Americans who have prominent behind-the-scenes roles on “Black Panther” include executive producer Nate Moore, production designer Hannah Beachler and costume designer Ruth E. Carter. In addition, several of the hair and makeup artists for “Black Panther” are African-American.

And just like “Wonder Woman” (directed by Patty Jenkins) proved in 2017, the biggest superhero movie of the year does not have to be directed by a white male. The type of inclusion shown for the “Black Panther” crew is a step in the right direction for blockbuster movies to have more diverse, qualified team members who work behind the camera. “Black Panther” is the type of movie that appeals to a diverse audience, and the people who make these kinds of movies should also be a reflection of that diversity.

Chadwick Boseman in “Black Panther” (Photo courtesy of Disney/Marvel Studios)

4. “Black Panther” proves that a major blockbuster movie with a mostly black cast is not a “fluke” or a “fad.”

This is not a one-hit wonder. This not a passing trend. You don’t have to be a genius to know that “Black Panther” will spawn many sequels, prequels and/or spinoffs for years to come—not to mention all the money from merchandising, home video sales and other business revenue. “Black Panther” could also pave the way for more non-Caucasian superheroes to get their own headlining films.

Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o , Angela Bassett and Martin Freeman in “Black Panther” (Photo courtesy of Disney/Marvel Studios)

5. “Black Panther” proves that a superhero movie with black actors in the most prominent roles can have massive international appeal.

Movies with a mostly black cast are often mischaracterized as appealing mainly to African-American audiences and hard to sell to countries outside of North America. The unquestionable global success of “Black Panther” blows away that stereotype. Movie audiences have spoken in their choices of what tickets to buy, and the message is loud and clear: They are hungry for more variety—and if it’s high-quality, that’s even better.

*February 20, 2018 UPDATE: According to Box Office Mojo, “Black Panther” had $202 million in ticket sales at the U.S. box office from February 16 to February 18, 2018, and $242 million at the U.S. box office from February 16 to 19, 2018 (counting the Presidents Day holiday). This breaks the opening-weekend box-office records for movies that opened in February; superhero movies headlined by a solo character; movies that opened on a holiday weekend; movies that opened on a four-day weekend; and non-sequel movies.

**March 1, 2018 UPDATE: Marvel has changed the release date for “Avengers: Infinity War” from May 4 to April 27, 2018.

Marvel announces ‘Marvel Rising’ animation franchise and voice actors

December 7, 2017

The following is a press release from Marvel Entertainment:

Marvel Entertainment has announced “Marvel Rising,” a brand-new, multi-platform animation franchise starring the next generation of Marvel heroes set to launch in 2018. The program will launch with six, four-minute digital shorts that spotlight Spider-Gwen with her new secret moniker, Ghost-Spider, and introduce audiences to the world of “Marvel Rising.” Following the shorts, a feature-length animated film, “Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors” will premiere later that year. Distribution partners for the content to be announced at a later date.

Meet the characters and all-star voice actors behind the all-new franchise “Marvel Rising” here: https://youtu.be/6HTPCTtkWoA

The content features an all-star line-up of voice talent including Dove Cameron, Chloe Bennet, Tyler Posey, BooBoo Stewart, Kathreen Khavari, Milana Vayntrub, Cierra Ramirez, Kamil McFadden, Skai Jackson, Kim Raver, Ming-Na Wen, Steven Weber, and Dee Bradley Baker among others. Future stories and content are also being developed across Marvel’s digital and publishing platforms and will be announced at a later date.

“Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors” is a long-anticipated event, bringing together Marvel’s newest and beloved characters that have garnered major fan excitement over the last few years. Powered teens Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Quake, Patriot, America Chavez, and Inferno join forces as an unlikely, but formidable crew of aspiring heroes. When a threat no one could have expected bears down on the Marvel Universe, this ragtag, untrained band of teens have no choice but to rise together and prove to the world that sometimes the difference between a “hero” and “misfit” is just in the name.

“Marvel characters are so relatable because they live in our world and face the same challenges we do. So I’m very excited that our Marvel Rising team of heroes is so inclusive, reflecting characters with different backgrounds, particularly a set of strong female leads that our young audience can connect with,” said Cort Lane, Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Animation & Family Entertainment.

Sana Amanat, Marvel’s Director of Content & Character Development, added, “This project is unlike anything we’ve done before—from featuring the rising and fan-favorite stars of the Marvel Universe, to a visually distinct animation style, this is a groundbreaking animated event. It’s an action-packed adventure, full of comedy, heart and powerful messages for every kind of Marvel fan.”

Meet the characters behind “Marvel Rising”:

Gwen Stacy aka Ghost-Spider (formerly Spider Gwen) voiced by Dove Cameron (“Descendants,” “Hairspray Live”) – a free spirited teen who found her calling to be a super hero after being bitten by a radioactive spider and gaining spider-like powers. As Ghost-Spider, she aids those in need, but has to keep her alter-ego a secret from her father, Captain George Stacy, who sees Ghost-Spider as more of a menace than a hero.

Daisy Johnson aka Quake voiced by Chloe Bennet (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Nashville”) – a leading agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. whose tendency for rule-breaking gets her into trouble now and then. Daisy befriends the young group of heroes and through them discovers how to become a better leader. She can generate powerful vibrational waves, which produce effects similar to earthquakes.

Dante Pertuz aka Inferno voiced by Tyler Posey (“Teen .Wolf,” “Lincoln Heights”) – a brooding, dark loner on the run. Dante has the power of pyrokinesis, which makes him capable of generating flames – however, he is not fully in control of his fiery abilities. It’s a thin line between good guy and villain for the unpredictable Inferno.

Victor Kohl aka Exile voiced by BooBoo Stewart (“Descendants,” “The Twilight Saga”) – a charming, handsome, and troublesome young Inhuman whose quest for superiority places him into the wrong crowd. He can use Darkforce energy to create weapons and portals that allow him to teleport.

Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel voiced by Kathreen Khavari (“Marvel’s Avengers Assemble,” “Big Little Lies”)  – a devoted fan of Super Heroes, especially of her mentor Captain Marvel; she is determined that she too can be a great hero! If only she’d be taken seriously. Kamala is equipped with metamorphic powers that allow her to stretch, enlarge, or shrink her overall size, parts of her body, or alter her physical appearance. She is especially fond of “embiggening” her fists.

Doreen Green aka Squirrel Girl voiced by Milana Vayntrub (“Marvel’s New Warriors,” “This Is Us”) – the uber-positive, hilarious best friend and teammate of Ms. Marvel. With advanced computer skills, enhanced strength, agility, durability, and senses of a squirrel, Doreen (along with her squirrel partner, Tippy Toe!), is primed and ready to become a successful hero.

America Chavez voiced by Cierra Ramirez (“The Fosters,” “The Secret Life of an America Teenager”) – a strong, independent young hero whose painful past drives her to reject leadership and remain a loner. America’s powers include superhuman strength, speed, and durability, plus the ability to fly.

Rayshaun Lucas aka Patriot voiced by Kamil McFadden (“K.C. Undercover,” “Grown Ups 2”) – a natural born leader who is quick to leap into action to impress his colleagues at S.H.I.E.L.D. Rayshaun strives to live up to Captain America’s legacy with integrity, honesty, and order above all. His skills include heightened strength, speed, stamina, and durability.

Gloria “Glory” Grant voiced by Skai JacksFron (“Bunk’d,” “Jessie”) – Gloria, or ‘Glory,’ is Gwen Stacy’s friend and member of their garage band “The Emm-Jays.” Gloria is a smart, hard-working girl that genuinely cares for Gwen, but has felt a distance growing between them ever since their friend, Kevin, was murdered. When being casual, Gloria’s known to be funny, sarcastic and sassy.

Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel voiced by Kim Raver (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “24”) – a bold leader who doesn’t sugar-coat and is guided by a strong sense of duty and honor. She’s the ultimate inspiration for our band of misfit heroes. She is equipped with superhuman strength, can fly at high speeds, and can project intense energy blasts.

Hala voiced by Ming-Na Wen (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Mulan”) – Hala is a Kree Accuser bent on galactic domination. She’ll go to any length or treacherous means to achieve what she, and the entire Kree race, wants: Power. Hala is cold, cryptic and nefarious, often challenging those who try to oppose her.

Captain George Stacy voiced by Steven Weber (“13 Reasons Why,” “NCIS: New Orleans”) – Chief of the NYPD and Gwen Stacy’s loving, but fiercely protective father. Captain Stacy is a very disciplined, hard-working man that will stop at nothing to obtain justice – who unfortunately sees Ghost-Spider as a menace and a threat to society.

Lockjaw and Tippy Toe are voiced by Dee Bradley Baker (“Star Wars Rebels,” “Gravity Falls”). Two lovable and heroic sidekicks: Lockjaw is Kamala’s trusty, teleporting mutt and Tippy Toe is Doreen’s partner in crime and best squirrel friend.

“Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors” is executive produced by Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley, Cort Lane, and Eric Radomski; co-executive produced by Stan Lee, Sana Amanat, and Marsha Griffin. The film and shorts were written by Mairghread Scott. Alfred Gimeno served as supervising director.

For more information, check out “Marvel Rising” at www.Facebook.com/MarvelRising,  www.Twitter.com/MarvelRisingSW, and www.Instagram.com/MarvelRising

Subscribe to Marvel HQ on YouTube for full episodes and more: www.youtube.com/MarvelHQ

About Marvel Entertainment

Marvel, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy-five years.  Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing.

For more information visit marvel.com.

Marvel Heroes Omega officially launches: see photos and videos

June 30, 2017

Marvel Heroes Omega
(Artwork courtesy of Marvel)

The following is a press release from Gazillion:

Gazillion is proud to bring the first free-to-play Marvel game to consoles with the launch of “Marvel Heroes Omega” for Microsoft’s Xbox One. The company also successfully transitioned “Marvel Heroes Omega” out of a 4.5/5-star player-rated Open Beta on PlayStation®4, where over one million players dove into the Marvel Universe and battled the forces of evil, leveling-up and earning sweet loot along the way.

Marvel Heroes Omega” combines the core gameplay of action-RPGs and MMOs with an expansive library of heroes from the Marvel Universe. Take on the role of your favorite characters, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Avengers, the Defenders, the X-Men, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and more! With thousands of hours of character progression, over 100 costumes, and an ever-growing roster of playable heroes and rewards, Marvel Heroes Omega” comes packed with tons of replay value and a steady stream of new challenges coming in regular updates.