Wednesday, May 28, 2014

From Avengers: EMH to Avengers Assemble, Part 1

The Avengers keep assembling, over and over. Let's take a look at two very different assemblies, and figure out how these assemblies began to resemble a semblance... let's look at these shows.

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Assemble

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes began its life as the most unlikely of things. It was originally envisioned as a show called "Hulk: Gamma Corps," to cash in on the then-recent film The Incredible Hulk. (We would have to wait a little while longer for a team of Hulks, though.) While this might seem surprising at first, it really isn’t when you take into account all the leftovers from that idea that made their way into the show, including…
  • The numerous appearances by Hulk villains (Absorbing Man, Leader, Abomination, etc.).
  • The Gamma World two-parter.
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. trying to make more Hulks (although that plot point went almost nowhere).
  • Et cetera, et cetera.
But eventually, the show began to morph into its familiar shape. Still, there was some evolution in the art and voices. A trailer can still be found online that contains different voices and a different animation style, which is most likely a proof-of-concept spot that was repurposed as a teaser trailer.

Another little bit of never-was trivia, Ron Wasserman (composer of most of, if not all, the Power Rangers themes) apparently pitched a theme song that wasn’t picked up. You can still find it online as the non-copyright-infringing “Revengers,” and it’s worth a listen. It’s absolutely wrong for the tone of the show, but it’s worth a listen. Insert rant on superhero shows without proper theme songs here.

Another remnant of earlier ideas can be found in the voice cast. In my Micro-Episode Recaps, I neglected to mention the voice of Bruce Banner, voice actor Gabriel Mann. He had previously voiced the character in Wolverine and the X-Men. This, along with a passing reference to that show’s Mutant Response Division in one episode, could lead one to believe that Avengers: EMH and WXM take place in the same universe. Apparently, that was the original idea, but that fell through when WXM was cancelled after one season.

Speaking of voices, I have to mention the voice of Tony Stark, Eric Loomis. The voice he uses for the character is almost a perfect match for Robert Downey Jr. The kicker? That's his actual voice. Yes, the voice that people criticize for being a shameless rip off of the film portrayal is the actor's natural speaking voice.

But the show found its identity, and persevered for two great seasons, from 2010 to late 2012. I say “persevered,” because there were a few things working against it, which I’m going to touch on as briefly as I can, because otherwise we’d be here forever.
  • Disney XD, the channel the show was on, was dropped from many cable/satellite service packages right before the series premiere.
  • Jeph Loeb (who would later be a driving force behind Ultimate Spider-Man, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., and Avengers Assemble) was brought in to retool the show for the second season. Said retool involved empty promises about giving all the core Avengers more screen time (Hulk got the shaft, ironically), dictating that the overarching stories be replaced with single-episode stories, and more. 
  • At the height of popularity for the Avengers film, episodes were on hold. 
  • There’s more, but this is running a bit long. 
They had plans for three, possibly four seasons, but the axe had been dropped before the end of the second one. The final episode is clearly the series finale, with the attack of Galactus as well as numerous comments about “the end of the Avengers.” But it was only the end for this series, as another one was slated to take its place.

Yeah, this one.
Avengers Assemble was overseen by numerous writers/producers, including Man of Action studios, who had also been working on Ultimate Spider-Man. This makes sense, because Avengers Assemble takes place in the Ultimate Spider-Man universe, which now contains Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and is called the “Marvel Animated Universe.” Several voice actors reprise their roles across the shows in this universe, such as Fred Tatasciore as Hulk, Adrian Pasdar as Iron Man, and more, though some voices (like for the Guardians of the Galaxy) did get recast.

Other than that, there’s really little to speak of regarding the creation of Avengers Assemble; the process of lifting all their designs from the Avengers film was apparently relatively straightforward, and one of the only major changes was the alteration of Hawkeye’s uniform color from red to purple. Although, it’s important to bring up that Avengers Assemble was originally confirmed to be a revamped sequel show to Avengers: EMH, before being later denied. Is it or isn’t it? We’ll get into that in Part Two.


  1. Spider man was originally voiced by his spectacular spider-man actor in his guest episode but had his lines redubed by his ultimate one. Apparently this so fans wouldn't be confused, though with what you will get to in part two with the deniable continuation.... well yeah...good job Loeb

    1. And that's just the tip of that iceberg, too. I only didn't bring it up because there was just so much behind the scenes.