Marvel Animation's panel for its Marvel Rising series at New York Comic Con on Saturday evening was a celebration of diversity. The prequel shorts and recent debut movie feature a cast of various races, with female characters playing a leading role in the story of an up-and-coming generation of superheroes.
The Secret Warriors movie—which premiered on Disney Channel on Sept. 30—was written by Mairghread Scott (currently writing DC's Batgirl comic book) and featured what could more or less be called an origin story for the Secret Warriors, a ragtag group of up-and-coming young heroes. BFFs Ms. Marvel (voiced by Kathreen Khavari) and Squirrel Girl (Milana Vayntrub) are joined by America (Cierra Ramirez), Inferno (Teen Wolf alum Tyler Posey), Patriot (Kamil McFadden) and Quake, aka Daisy Johnson, voiced by Chloe Bennet, reprising her live-action role from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
"I feel like a little girl every time I see the cartoons," said Sana Amanat, Marvel’s VP for content and character development, and one of the leading forces behind the Marvel Rising initiative. "It's my childhood dream to work in this field. I get to nerd out and it's OK to nerd out at Marvel."
Amanat knows that the diverse cast and all female writers are a big reason for the popularity of the series, which kicked off with a series of "Initiation" shorts in August. "These characters are going to be touching audiences all over the world. They've already touched people on the publishing side and we can bring in a new audience. It's inspiring to see what this cast looks like. Everyone is bringing a special point of view to this project."
Khavari echoed the importance of the show's portrayal of historically under-represented people and cultures in pop culture. "Many [of these people] have not been portrayed in an inaccurate way, and sometimes in a dangerous way, namely Muslims," she said. "I love that Marvel Rising is changing that. Ms. Marvel reminds me of my own family."
Earlier in the week Marvel announced a pair of new specials in the works, including one focused on Ghost Spider and another on Riri Williams, aka Ironheart. The opening scene of the Ghost Spider project, Chasing Ghosts, was screened, featuring Ghost Spider chasing Sheath and running into some very familiar faces.
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