It’ll be two long years before Marvel’s live-action Avengers reunite at multiplexes around the world. Thankfully, diehard comic fans, casual film-watchers, and everyone in between can get their fill of Iron-Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, and Black Widow — along with Falcon, a new addition to the team — each week in Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, an animated series that premieres officially on Disney XD Sunday, July 7. (An hour-long sneak peek at the cartoon already aired Sunday, May 26.)
Avengers Assemble replaces The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, a previous series that aired from 2010 to 2012. “I think the best way of saying it is that there is a continuity, but as in publishing — when a new team takes over for a book — it doesn’t necessarily have to work off those storylines that have come before it,” explains executive producer Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel Television.
In tone and feel, though, Assemble has less to do with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes — and more to do with Joss Whedon’s big-screen Avengers, which grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide. “We looked to it for its size, its epic adventure, the dynamics between the characters themselves, and a tone of both levity and humor,” Loeb told EW. “But those things which Joss captured really are, in many ways, Marvel’s DNA.” He says that the new series hopes to take the team to “the next level,” both in terms of storylines and in terms of animation. Get a sneak peek of that Whedonesque sensibility in this exclusive clip, which shows new recruit Falcon bringing some sweet treats to his teammates — and the gang fighting over them like only superheroes can.
As the clip implies, the group’s dynamic is really the focus of the show — “It’s not really about a bunch of guys sitting around their secret headquarters, and then suddenly there’s an explosion , and the bad guys are robbing the First National Bank,” Loeb says. Instead, the series is about how the Avengers “have to get along as a family, as a work group, as a team. These are hopefully very relatable things, whether it is that you’re 6 years old or you’re 60 years old.”
Loeb himself can certainly relate to the show’s premise. He likens Assemble‘s writers to the Avengers themselves: “We become a team that has to work together, that has to play together, that has to solve the problems of the day. The Avengers work towards being able to save the world; we work towards coming up with the best episodes that we can.”
Sure, Loeb’s the first to admit that his team’s mission and the Avengers’ mission isn’t “quite the same thing” — though he has to say, “seeing Joe Quesada in a cape and carrying a big giant hammer is worth it. That alone is what makes it fun.”
Loeb’s main goal is to make a show that appeals to fans who get impatient in between Marvel’s big tentpole movies and hardcore Marvelites who know everything about every hero alike — and to create something that complements the company’s other creations, while not necessarily lining up perfectly with them. “Agent Phil Colson has been alive and well and on Ultimate Spider Man since episode 1,” he explains. “[There’s] what happened in The Avengers, spoiler alert, and then what will happen in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” which airs on ABC this fall.
“You can follow a line,” he concludes –“or you can just enjoy the fact that Clark Gregg is all of those people.”