by Paul Montgomery
It should come as no surprise that Marvel Entertainment’s growing presence on page and screen means more time reading scripts and memos for Joe Quesada. Marvel’s ever airborne Chief Creative Officer recently sat down with Comic Book Resources to discuss his newly evolved role and how his roots in comic production prepared him for the breakneck pace of a weekly television series like “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Says Quesada: “I enjoy the fact that during the course of the week—almost on a daily basis—I’m reading something that’s coming from the ’Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ writing or production crew. Sometimes it’s a brief on an episode or the latest draft of a script or a rough cut of a future episode or the dailies, which come, well, daily. Whatever it is that I’m getting, there’s a constant flow of ’Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ stuff in my inbox. I love that grind and that pressure. It reminds me of my comics roots. It’s what I know and very much the way I learned to do things in a creative environment.”
Though he concedes that he’s less involved in the day-to-day particulars of comics or television continuity than their respective supervisors Tom Brevoort and Jeph Loeb, Quesada says he maintains an “intimate knowledge” of the goings-on in either world and will step in should any sticky conflicts arise.
Leading up to tonight’s second episode of “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” Quesada approved the arrival of the series’ first canonical, comics-derived character outside of Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill. Though Graviton will likely stick with his alias Dr. Franklin Hall for the foreseeable future, Quesada wagers that longtime readers will appreciate the presence of a known quantity like the so-called “Lord of Fundamental Forces.”
“It’s always fun to throw in an established character when you can to get fans excited. Heck, it gets us excited! But he’s also a very compelling character on his own. So if you’re not a comic fan, he’s a character you’ll be introduced to who we think will appeal to folks who don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of the MU, especially this incarnation that our ’Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ writing team has come up with.”
Quesada essentially confirms that Hall is unlikely to gain his trademark “gravikinetic” abilities in tonight’s episode, adding, “…while I’m not saying that those things happen here, the fact that perhaps someday they might is kind of cool.” Whether the dramatic irony inherent in deferring those gravity-based powers actually helps to augment the tension for anyone but the most dedicated Marvel readers remains to be seen.
Aside from the long line of well-publicized big screen features in the works—the “Thor: The Dark Worlds” and “Guardians of the Galaxys” and so on—Quesada also busies himself shepherding Disney’s “Big Hero 6,” a planned 3D animated spectacle based on one of Marvel’s lesser known properties. Set in a glittering hybrid city of the future known as ’San Fransokyo’ (No, Baltimore isn’t one of the components, but thanks for trying), the story features a young man named Hiro and his mechanized pal Baymax.
According to Quesada, writer Don Hall (“Meet the Robinsons”) and producer Kristina Reed (“Paperman”, “Kung Fu Panda”) have embarked on some extensive myth-building to flesh out a loose adaptation of Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau’s original comic concept.
“Being there from the very beginning, the process has been amazing to watch. The amount of research Don and his crew have done is exhaustive and beyond thorough, and I don’t just mean with respect to reading the comics. From the design of the characters and their tech to the look of the world, no stone has been left unturned and a lot of frequent flyer miles have been tallied up to get where they are at this juncture. These guys have traveled the globe to make BH6 the very best it can be. It’s a tribute to how John Lasseter runs the animation division. He encourages this kind of thorough research, and you’ll undoubtedly see the results in the story and on the screen and I’m sure in the making of DVD.”
“Big Hero 6” is set for release in 2014. Dr. Franklin Hall lends gravity to “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” tonight on ABC.
Which are you more excited about, the coming of Graviton or “Big Hero 6”? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!