Disney's action-oriented network for pre-teens, Disney XD, hasn't always been absent of superhero programing. "The Spectacular Spider-Man," which started on Warner Bros.' CW network, found a home on Disney XD, before ending its run in 2009, for example.
Marvel has announced that Spider-Man will make his "Ultimate" return to the channel, and he's not coming alone this time. An entire programming block will now feature all kinds of Marvel superhero content. Fans can expect to find the likes of Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk – are you seeing an "Avengers" pattern, here? – when the block premieres on April 1.
According to Marvel, the animated show "Ultimate Spider-Man" will serve as the "centerpiece" for the "Marvel Universe" programming. Drake Bell, the star of Nickelodeon's "Drake & Josh," will voice the titular web-slinger. The show focuses on a teenage Peter Parker who has just recently found himself recruited in Nick Fury's S.H.I.E.L.D., working with four – as yet unnamed – other superheroes, and I'm assuming, cracking wise a lot.
Other actors will lend their voices to the show, including the best J. Jonah Jameson ever, JK Simmons, and even Stan Lee will make an appearance as "Stan the Janitor." Seriously, they couldn't give the guy a better role than a janitor with the same name?
"'Marvel Universe' block is an incredible animated ride filled with fantastic action and adventure," said head of Marvel television, Jeph Loeb. "The spectacular team of writers and animators capture stories with all the dynamic fun you can imagine. Disney XD is the perfect place for families and Marvel fans of all ages to come together every Sunday."
The block will also include animated shorts, live-action bits, and perhaps most importantly, the return of the animated series, "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes." The show's first season began in late 2010, so it's cool to see "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" getting back in the action this spring.
There's no doubt that the main impetus behind "Marvel Universe" is to tie-in the upcoming "Avengers" film, but I'm willing to bet it's also a direct action to offset DC's "DC Nation" partnership with Cartoon Network.
What do you think about "Marvel Universe" on Disney XD? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter!