Following the lead of Cartoon Network’s DC Nation programming block, Disney has announced the creation of “Marvel Universe”, launching April 1 on Disney XD. From the press release:
Marvel Universe on Disney XD will be the ultimate place for fans to find exclusive Marvel content, including new animated short-form series, live-action interstitials, and the series return of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The block will be home to Marvel’s biggest superstars, such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, and many more, to introduce dynamic stories of action, adventure and heroism to a whole new generation.
Disney XD has been the company’s attempt to expand their outreach to boys. The Marvel acquisition was also framed in those terms, so this is not surprising and a great match. The centerpiece of the Marvel Universe programming block will be the new cartoon series Ultimate Spider-Man, which features Peter Parker “as the newest member of Nick Fury’s S.H.I.E.L.D. organization [and] on a team with four other teenage superheroes.” No word on who those other characters might be, although I do admit that I like Spidey best in a team setting, even though I know that’s not the core of his character.
Drake Bell plays Peter/Spider-Man, with Chi McBride voicing Nick Fury and (most exciting to me) JK Simmons reprising his movie role as J. Jonah Jameson. Clark Gregg will also carry over from the movies as Agent Coulson, while Stan Lee guests as “Stan the Janitor”. Disney XD previously carried a Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon several years ago.