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SDCC 2018: Marvel Rising focuses on strong females, but isn't just for girls

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Jul 20, 2018, 8:34 PM EDT (Updated)

Some Marvel hard-hitters stopped by San Diego Comic-Con to promote the company's new animation initiative/"multi-platform franchise," Marvel Rising. A miniseries of six four-minute shorts titled Initiation will premiere on Disney XD next month to prepare audiences for a feature-length film, Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors

Hosted by Marvel personality Lorraine Cink, the SDCC panel was attended by Rising voice actors: Milana Vayntrub (Squirrel Girl/Doreen Green), Kamil McFadden (Patriot), Kathreen Khavari (Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan), Dove Cameron (Spider-Gwen/Ghost-Spier), and Chloe Bennet (Quake). 

Focusing on some of the strongest female characters in the Marvel Universe, Rising features a bunch of fan favorites, like Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, and Spider-Gwen, all of whom are only a few years old.

“There was clearly this need. We had lots of conversations with girls and they were dying for this,” said SVP, Animation and Family Entertainment Cort Lane. "[They] wanted characters from different backgrounds and body types."

But even with the focus on such empowered girl characters, this show isn't just for girls. 

“I wanted everyone to get to play," said writer Mairghread Scott, with Vayntrub adding that she hopes boys will see themselves in these characters.

In Initiation, Gwen, now going by the hero name of "Ghost-Spider," is wrongly accused of a murder she didn't commit, the murder of her good friend Kevin.

Watch the trailer below:

Those in attendance at the panel got to see four episodes of Initiation, two of which dealt with Spider-Gwen laying waste to a bunch of New York City cops (don't worry, she just ties them up in webs). Losing faith in the competence of his officers, Gwen's father, the head of the police department, turns to S.H.I.E.L.D. for help in catching the Ghost-Spider. Gwen briefly plays with her fellow friends in a garage band before heading out to find the real killer of her friend, but not before going face to face with Captain America's young protegee, Patriot.

The second two episodes focused on the team-up of Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel, who partner up to take down the Ghost-Spider. There's a smile-inducing gag where Doreen's best friend/sidequick, Tippy the Squirrel, continues to gnaw on Gwen's webbing, so she can't get away. But make no mistake, Vayntrub's charmingly zany Squirrel Girl totally steals the show. A good thing, too, as the actress is meant to play a live-action version of the character in a New Warriors series.

By the end of the fourth clip, Doreen and Kamala have trapped Gwen, who tries to convince them of her innocence. As insurance, Squirrel Girl summons an army of -- you guessed it -- squirrels and states that if Gwen isn't telling the truth, she'll "find out what a pistachio feels like."

All episodes of Marvel Rising: Initiation will premiere on Disney XD Aug. 13. The feature-length movie arrives this fall on the Disney Channel. Other voice actors you can expect are Tyler Posey, Dee Bradley Baker, Cierra Ramirez, Booboo Stewart, and Bennet's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. co-star Ming-Na Wen.

Click here for SYFY WIRE’s full coverage SDCC 2018, including up-to-the-minute news, exclusive interviews, and videos.

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