The Only Question About Disney's Marvel Animated Movie Is, What Will It Be About?
Well, not the only question. There's also the matter of hiring talent, having said talent create a pitch, which if good enough will become an outline or a script, and if that doesn't make anyone projectile vomit then the studio makes an official announcement, about which clarifying statements in interviews about their actual plans will have to be provided, and then a studio can actually make the movie. Y'know, little things.
According to the rumors circulating around Internet geekdom this week, in regards to the Mouse House finally dipping into the House of Ideas it purchased in 2010, Disney is moving closer and closer to making that official announcement. The talent will apparently be Don Hall, who wrote and directed the latest (critically acclaimed) Winnie the Pooh movie, who has a "super secret" and "marvelously unexpected" project with Disney's non-Pixar animation division that is expected to "generate a lot of buzz in certain geek communities." It should be noted that the tentative certainty about this is based on Bleeding Cool picking up on these key phrases from various post on Disney fan blog, Blue Sky, as proof that Hall's new movie will be adapted from the Marvel comics universe. That, and Marvel Studios' live-action movie producer, Kevin Feige, being on the record saying the prospect is a guaranteed "no brainer."
Even without any concrete facts, Feige and our fellow geeks reporting on this are absolutely right that a Marvel property or character ought to be destined for animated feature glory. The only issue up for debate really should be which superhero gets there first, and based on the suppositions on the ground there's a contender that must be at the top of Disney's short list. Cynics would probably say that the X-Babies (yes, they're real) are likely contenders, but they sometimes forget that reality could always be worse and nothing is worse than the X-Babies. There's also the possibility that some of the more esoteric characters that have been rumored to have big screen adaptations -- Dr. Strange, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Iron First, etc. -- could at last get their day in the CGI sun. But those have always been considered possibilities for joining the ranks of the cinematic Avengers series, which aren't technically animated despite the amount of computer post-production.
No, what Marvel and Disney, especially with Don Hall at the probable helm, should make their first joint cartoon venture is...
Starring Franklin Richards, the son of Fantastic Four members Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, and his personal robo-assistant, H.E.R.B.I.E., Son of a Genius was first a back-up series in his parents' book and then a limited run comic that collected several 4-6 page arcs each. Created by Chris Eliopoulis and Marc Sumerak, the strip is basically what would happen if Calvin's imagination shaped reality and Hobbes wasn't just a stuffed tiger. It's possible Marvel's legal issues with Fox may even preclude using the Franklin character, but if only Reed and Sue are off the table, the movie could easily be done without ever naming them. Hell, self-proclaimed "Mr. Fantastic" being an even more inattentive father than he is a husband could be a subtle subplot for the series that resolves over a couple sequels.
Obviously, we'll just have to wait and see, but I'll be disappointed if I don't get more Franklin Richards adventures in some capacity. I'll also be surprised that Disney doesn't want to make as much money as possible, but I guess we all have different priorities. You can check out a preview of the comics here, and I promise it's the kind of children's book even adults can -- no, should -- enjoy.
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you're into that sort of thing). The only thing he hates more than the X-Babies is nothing, and by "nothing" he means the concept of non-existence and not just the opposite of something.