Monday’s announcement that former Heroes and Lost writer/producer Jeph Loeb had been named Executive Vice President and Head of Marvel Entertainment’s newly-created TV department created a lot of questions: Marvel television? What characters would get their own shows? What networks would they appear on? Who’d work on the shows? I talked to the person best placed to answer those questions: Jeph Loeb himself.
First of all, congratulations!
Thank you. It’s a tremendous opportunity and the beginning of a huge adventure. I’m really looking forward to it.
How did this come about? Is this something that’s been in the background for awhile?
It’s been enough in the background. It didn’t really take root until Disney bought Marvel. Television was a medium that Marvel was looking at and trying to figure out what the best model was to get into it – When you look at the success of the film division, they figured how they wanted to move into that, and did it, with tremendous success, with Iron Man. From what I hear about Thor, it just sounds amazing. At the time, I had been talking with [Marvel Publisher] Dan Buckley about the next things we wanted to do together in publishing. The conversation turned to this amazing opportunity that Disney could make happen for Marvel with their networks like ABC, ABC Family, Disney Channel, Disney XD, and ESPN. It’s just an extraordinary.
How far along is everything? Was the announcement yesterday the true beginning, or are shows already being worked on?
Over in Marvel Animation, that’s been established and they actually have Super Hero Squad already on Cartoon Network, and they’re well into production on the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes animated series that’ll be on this fall on Disney XD. Also, it was previously announced, but we’re just starting to develop the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series.
In terms of live-action, it’s brand new. I mean, we’re about as old as the announcement, and that to me is the next big challenge and adventure. We’ve got tremendous support from both ABC and ABC Family. They want to do what we want to do, which is make the best shows possible using the Marvel library, and bringing the characters to our fanbase and the worldwide audience.
Do you have any idea at this point in terms of workload? Will you stick with one live-action series or try to launch with more?
We don’t have anything that’s set in stone, but what is important is that we get it right and that we’re very selective. If we look at how carefully the roll-out has been for features, that they started with Iron Man, then Thor, then Captain America, they didn’t come out and make five movies all at once. They did it very carefully. That’s not only what we want, it’s what ABC wants, what ABC Family wants, what Disney wants.
In terms of animation, provided we have the right properties and the right people, there’s an enormous appetite. But, again, we want to make animation that people remember. Animation that has the same kind of impact as Batman: The Animated Series or Batman Beyond, shows that came out and blew people’s minds in terms of what genre animated television could be.
Is there any sense of a timeline as to when to expect announcements of live-action projects?
Too soon to tell. Too early to tell.