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Avengers Assemble for New DTV Movie

29 Jul, 2008 By: Kyra Kudick

With Iron Man raking in a domestic box office of $314 million, and The Incredible Hulk earning $132 million of its own, it is undeniably a good year for Marvel and its classic Avengers.

“It speaks to the success of the characters,” said Craig Kyle, SVP of creative development, animation for Marvel. “They are timeless heroes who connect to every new generation of fans; they were built for the long haul.”

Kyle and Marvel writer Chris Yost are part of the team responsible for creating the latest direct-to-video film in Marvel's animated feature franchise. Lionsgate bows Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow Sept. 2 (prebook Aug. 6) on DVD ($19.98) and Blu-ray Disc ($29.99).

The film is the first ‘PG'-rated, full-length animated feature from Marvel, designed to appeal to a younger audience. It introduces a new generation of heroes: teenage orphans of The Avengers, raised by Iron Man, united to finish the fight their parents began.“We wanted to try some new things,” Kyle said. “If we don't create new characters, then we go stagnant. But we didn't want to ignore fans. We have a very, very passionate fan base.”

The origin story for the kids is explained in the DVD special feature “Legacy: The Making of Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow.”

“We talk about the work we did to try to build in a history,” Kyle said about the featurette.

He said writing for a ‘PG' audience was tricky at times.

“We tried not to talk down to the audience, because kids aren't stupid, especially today,” Kyle said. “We wanted great, honest, youth storytelling. We went for a Goonies translation.”

He said he wants Next Avengers to be something parents want to watch with their kids, an endeavor that seems likely if for no other reason than one of the bonus features is a sneak peek of the anticipated Hulk vs. Wolverine animated feature.

“Kids, get out,” Kyle joked. “This one is for us, the hard-core fans.

“This is why I got into the business. [Hulk vs. Wolverine] takes the best of comic books and re-invents it for new audiences. I am really proud of how this came out.”Yost is just as thrilled about the film as Kyle.

“I watch it, and I am just in awe,” Yost said. “It is the purist form of adaptation ... a new twist, something fun.”

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