Sana Amanat, who is Marvel’s VP of Content and Character Development and Co-Executive Producer of Secret Warriors, recently gushed over the upcoming Disney Channel animated film Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors.
If you are unfamiliar with Marvel Rising, it was originally announced as an animated franchise that was to include a full length feature film and six, four-minute digital shorts. However, it would also include a number of single shot comics.
The full length film and the star of the franchise would be Gwen Stacy who is now going by Ghost-Spider. She was previously called Spider Gwen in the comics and other media. Joining Gwen Stacy were Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, America Chavez, Captain Marvel, Quake, Inferno, Exile, Patriot, and Glory.
Amanat gushed over these characters in an interview with ComicBook.com:
“So Marvel Rising is all about the next generation of Marvel superheroes and we think these are the heroes that audiences have grown to love. They’re some of the most endearing, beloved, unique superheroes that we’ve got and we really wanted to do this because we feel like there has been so much of a demand for not only just content like this but more content featuring these characters specifically. We wanted to continue to engage with a lot of this new audience that has come into the publishing space as people who are walking into comic shops for the first time, and they’re doing so because they picked up Ms. Marvel for the first time, or Squirrel Girl for the first time. We wanted to be able to continue to create some great content.”
Looking at the Comichron numbers for the one-shot comics under the Marvel Rising brand, they are rather poor.
In June, Marvel Rising Alpha would only ship 21,290 units. It didn’t even make the top 100 comics for the month. July would see Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel only ship 17,995 units. And then a different Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel would only ship 15,558 units in August.
On Amazon, Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/ Ms. Marvel is ranked the highest for superhero comics at 3,184.
Now, the trailer for Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors does have more than 1.7 million views.
And all of the animated shorts have a little over a 1 million total views.
So, there might be some truth to Amanat’s claims, but the demand for these characters definitely doesn’t appear to be coming from comic book readers.
While it appears a number of comic book readers are not interested in these characters, Sana Amanat loves them:
“What I love about these characters in particular is I feel like they have that relatability and sort of awkwardness and silliness that Peter Parker has. Each of them have that in very distinct ways and I think Peter Parker is one of those characters that is so universally beloved and is timeless in so many ways and we really believe these characters have those same kinds of qualities.”
Amanat did go into why this specific cast of characters was chosen:
Yeah. I think we went through a few different iterations, and drafts, and characters that we could potentially use. There’s just so many and it was actually really hard to calm it down but we felt like these were the ones that audiences were already connecting with and that we felt like had a lot of potential to sort of connect with new audiences. All of them have some similarities to other characters like Spider characters, and Captain America and things like that but we also wanted to make sure they very much stand on their own feet and that they have their own sort of visual identity and obviously have their own unique personalities, power sets, and all of that.”
She would go on to elaborate on how different this set of characters were and clarify why the characters were chosen:
We felt like they just played off of each other, the character dynamics worked really well and how different they were, and sort of the challenges that they would need to go through in order for them to come together because they’re all so different.
I think that’s also just a really strong message to pass on to younger people is despite people’s differences you have to give them a chance and get to know them. It’s not even that it’s about teamwork or working together but it’s about really helping one another and becoming more powerful when you do that. When you sort of align yourself with people that might seem like they’re different but you guys have a lot more in common than you think. So that’s really why we chose these characters. I think they’re just all great but they also kinda teach each other something in very specific ways.”
And while Amanat gushes over the characters, the bigger draw to this film might actually be the voice cast they brought in.
The voice cast includes Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actors Chloe Bennet and Ming-Na Wen. Bennet will be reprising her role as Quake, while Wen will take on the role of the villain Hala.
The cast also includes Dove Cameron, who will be voice Ghost-Spider. It also includes BooBoo Stewart, Tyler Posey, Kathreen Khavari, Milana Vayntrub, Cierra Ramirez, Kamil McFadden, Skai JacksFron, and Kim Raver.
You can just look at Marvel’s own videos to see the voice cast might be the bigger draw.
Amanat also had high praise for the cast:
“So obviously on a personal note I love this cast.”
She would continue:
“I’m a little biased ’cause I’m in Marvel but I’ve always loved all of these characters and I think just them interacting with one another, me reliving my sort of childhood in some senses and putting together a story that a younger Sana would love was so much fun for me. I think it’s also still incredibly important to have these kinds of stories for younger fans across the board. Yes, absolutely for girls because I think girls are gonna love this, but I think for boys too. I think boys love these characters as much as girls do.”
As to the types of people who are excited about Marvel Rising, Amanat provided some details:
“We’ve just been really surprised at the types of not only just gender wise who’s responding but also age wise. It’s definitely, obviously, this is made for a slightly younger audience but at the same time I think people enjoy it of all ages and I think they’re really drawn to the characters themselves, and the relationships.”
She also touched on how this upcoming film is part of Marvel’s new lifestyle brand.
“But I do think it’s been … the reaction has been incredible and I think because we’ve got some great teaser shorts to kind of set up what’s gonna happen in the film and then also just some additional content like the music featurette that we have. I think it’s really showing this is a full program that really celebrates these characters and is engaging with audiences in a new way, and a fresh way we haven’t really done before. So for us, I think people are really connecting to that and they’re also so excited.”
In a bit of a surprise, Amanat claims this is the first time some of the characters have appeared in animation. This isn’t technically true as many of these characters most recently appeared in Lego Marvel Superheroes 2. However, it’s more than likely Amanat is actually referring to an animated film or cartoon:
“The biggest thing is people are just excited that a lot of these characters are in animated form for the first time. Not Ms. Marvel but Squirrel Girl and America Chavez, so stuff like that is really … it’s really cool to see not only just fans but also parents just excited that they have something they can share with their kids. “
While Amanat previously noted the film was also attracting boys, she makes it clear it’s for fathers to share with their daughters.
“And fathers also, the fact that they have a whole thing that they can share with … a movie and cast of characters that they can share with their daughters. I think that’s incredibly powerful, it’s a powerful thing. It’s something that they’ve always wanted.”
What do you make of Amanat’s comments on Marvel Rising? Will you be tuning in?
Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors premieres on the Disney Channel on September 30, 2018.