Disney Junior Brings Team Spidey to Preschoolers
By Mansha Daswani
It’s been over a decade since The Walt Disney Company’s transformative $4 billion acquisition of Marvel Entertainment. Since then, the comic-book giant and its treasure trove of iconic IP has extended itself across all of Disney’s numerous consumer touchpoints. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has spawned a slew of blockbuster movies plus three acclaimed series on Disney+, with more to come. Several animated series featuring Marvel superheroes have aired on Disney XD, and today marks the long-awaited arrival of Marvel’s Spidey and his Amazing Friends, the first full-length Marvel series for preschoolers. The Disney Junior show sees young Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy and Miles Morales—Team Spidey—joining forces with several guest Avengers to take on the villains Rhino, Doc Ock and Green Goblin. Disney Junior and Marvel Entertainment produce the 25-episode CGI series in association with Atomic Cartoons.
“For years, Marvel and Disney Junior wanted to do something together, and they figured out that there was no one better than Spidey to make a preschool series out of,” Harrison Wilcox, executive producer on the show, tells TV Kids Weekly. “He is the original kid superhero—he was the first one. That felt like a perfect fit for everyone. Miles and Gwen had become more and more popular over the years. It just seemed like it would be a great opportunity to do a show about these three spider heroes together.”
To age Peter, Gwen and Miles down to characters that would be appropriate for preschool audiences, Wilcox and his team looked to the Spider-Man comics from the ’60s and ’70s for inspiration. “We looked back to the fun and the wonder of those stories. That was a great place to start with tone and plot and storytelling. And then we looked at, how young can we make these characters to be relatable to the intended audience, but still have them go out and have these fantastic superhero adventures, stopping villains from taking over and ruining things?”
The producers also had to carefully craft the villains that Team Spidey takes on each week. “We wanted our heroes to have distinct personalities and power sets, so we’d have a wider swath of storytelling opportunities. We then looked at the different motivations that are relatable to kids of this age group. We realized we wanted a villain who is trying to take over the city, a villain who likes to ruin other people’s fun and a villain who likes to take things that don’t belong to him. With ruling the city, we found Doc Ock; ruining other people’s fun, that became Goblin; and taking things that don’t belong to you, that’s Rhino. That’s where we started, and we built out their motivations and personalities based on that and always kept it lighthearted and fun, never frightening. The term we use is naughty, never nefarious.”
This article continues here.
This Week's Top 5
Star Wars: The Bad Batch Renewed
Disney+ has ordered a second season of the animated series Star Wars: The Bad Batch, which is slated for 2022.
The Co-Production Company Partners with Ananey Studios for Thalath
The Co-Production Company and Israel-based Ananey Studios have teamed up to co-produce the live-action teen series Thalath.
U.K. Pickup for Tish Tash
CAKE has clinched a U.K. deal for the preschool series Tish Tash, which is set to premiere on CBeebies in September.
U.S. Deal for 100% Wolf—Legend of the Moonstone
Amazon’s IMDb TV has licensed the AVOD rights for the series 100% Wolf—Legend of the Moonstone for the U.S.
More Nature Cat for PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS is bringing back the Spiffy Pictures series Nature Cat for an additional two seasons.