Rejected Marvel Designs and Show Pitches

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RoyalRubble

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#1
I've been thinking of starting a thread like this for a while now. This topic is to discuss any and all show pitches and concepts for Marvel animation that were never picked up. Likewise, any scripts, designs, story ideas or scenes that were cut off due to various reasons from past Marvel cartoons can be added here, preferably when they are shared by people who actually worked on the projects. Throughout the years, designs and pages from Season 2 scripts of Wolverine & the X-Men, and even plans for a scrapped "Ultimate X-Men Vs. Avengers" animated movie have surfaced online. Both are good examples of what can be discussed here.

To start things off, while this is already a few months old, here is a pitch for a "Captain Marvel" animated series by Ben Bates.

His comments:
Before I knew a movie was coming out I developed a series idea for Captain Marvel. The concept was to do the first board driven Marvel cartoon and after approaching the Big Boss at Marvel Animation with the idea he asked for an animatic to act as proof of concept. I wrote, drew, and hired voice actors to create what you see here. This is the "rough" version of the animatic. A completed version to understand the full story that, had the pitch been successful, I would have cleaned up the drawings to make it prettier looking. Unfortunately Marvel was uninterested in receiving ANY pitches and no one ever even saw this animatic haha.
Do you have any thoughts, or anything else to share? Leave a comment below and discuss.

NOTES:
- The current shows, and a few of the more recently ended ones, still have their specific News & Discussion threads to discuss stuff like this. This thread is more about older shows, or shows that were never picked up. While it's perfectly fine to bring up dropped story ideas from current shows here, it would be better suited for the show's actual News & Discussion thread.


- Keep in mind this is for actual projects from people involved in the animation industry, and not a thread where you can pitch your own ideas for cartoons. There are other topics where you can do that, so please refrain from adding your own ideas here.

- Additionally, please keep discussion here civilized, and on-topic. Don't confront each other for having different opinions regarding the shows. And please do not use this thread to spam more petitions asking for shows to be renewed. Thank you.

- Click here to discuss Rejected Designs and Show Pitches on the DC Comics Animation Forum.
 

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#3
Wow, I can't believe I'd never ever heard or seen this before :eek:.

This looked like it would've been really fun, like the kind of creator driven, stylistic, and fun Marvel cartoon that I feel like we haven't really had in a while (aside from the animated shorts like Rocket and Groot and Ant-Man) :cool:.

I also like they're characterization for Carol in this, much moreso then her depiction in Avengers Assemble. It's also kind of amusing to see her with a secret identity since that hasn't really been a thing for Marvel cartoons for a while, outside Spider-Man of course ;).

Also kind of interesting that they went with a domino mask ala Ms. Marvel instead of the full-on helmet, like some of her other recent animated designs :).

It was cool to see Spider-Woman pop up, with a full-on web cape, although word to the wise she's actually supposed to have a British accent :p.

I'm actually kind of curious who the VA's for the cast are. Did he get any actual voice actors involved in this, or was it just people he knew :confused:?
 

Northstar

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#4
Too bad this pitch wasn’t accepted, Spider-woman popping up was cool makes me wish that we could get Carol and Jess teaming up in the current cartoons but that’s not likely to happen though.
 

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#5
After the success of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends Marvel was aiming to launch a Daredevil cartoon that would've seen the Man Without Fear partnered with a seeing-eye dog sidekick named Lightning.

proposed1Full.jpg
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Mark Evanier discusses the project:

I wrote the bible and pilot and pilot for that Daredevil cartoon series…or rather, I should say I wrote a bible and pilot for it. Others had done several of each and ABC wasn’t happy with any of the approaches. I was hired to take over and much of what I did involved throwing out concepts and alterations that others (including Stan Lee) had done to the basic premise. By that point, there were a lot of characters and gimmicks a lot less faithful to the premise than any superdog.

I basically turned it back into the version of Daredevil drawn by Wally Wood. Matt Murdock did have the seeing-eye dog, which was not an illogical thing for a blind guy to have, and the dog sometimes aided him a la Lassie but wasn’t any sort of superdog.

ABC agreed to buy the series and it was even announced in the Hollywood trade papers…but then a gent who worked for Marvel said the wrong thing to a top exec at ABC who, I suspect, was looking for an excuse to not buy the show and to give the time slot to another project that he preferred. Whatever the reason, we woke up one morning to find that Daredevil was off the schedule, never to return. My agent and I had a brief argument with Marvel over a bonus I was to receive if the series was picked up…and they finally paid it to me because they had to admit the series was picked up. It was just dropped again.

I think NBC later considered the show but networks generally don’t like picking up things that their competitors have passed on.
 

TheLemsterPju

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#6
IIRC, there was going to be an animated series planned as a sequel to the 2003 Hulk film centered around the Hulk's son, who was also a Hulk.
After the movie failed to meet expectations, they cancelled the show very early in its production.
 

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#7
IIRC, there was going to be an animated series planned as a sequel to the 2003 Hulk film centered around the Hulk's son, who was also a Hulk.
After the movie failed to meet expectations, they cancelled the show very early in its production.
This is the first I've heard of this. If accurate, it would be interesting since it would predate Skarr by a few years...
 

TheLemsterPju

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#8
This is the first I've heard of this. If accurate, it would be interesting since it would predate Skarr by a few years...
The only place I've seen it mentioned, I think, was in a superhero cartoon blog which is now gone. It was definitely reported on some dead site.

For some reason I can't even find it via Google. :(
Although I'm 99% sure it's accurate. I remember the information, and the concept art shown, distinctly.
 
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RoyalRubble

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#10
- I seem to recall there were plans for a "Daredevil" cartoon in the 90s as well, after his appearances on Spider-Man, and the show would have been more similar in tone to Batman: TAS. Obviously nothing came out of that, and I can't really find any details about it (and of course it might have been only a rumor or I am remembering things wrong).

EDIT: Again, via Marvel Animation Age. There's more concept art in the link.
In 1999 Marvel pitched a Daredevil: The Animated Series to the FOX executives, hoping to get 'The Man Without Fear' his own animated show, as they had previously done with the likes of Spider-Man, X-Men and The Silver Surfer. FOX accepted the pitch, rumoured to be a spin off from his appearnces in Spider-Man but Marvel halted production, hoping to launch the show shortly after the Daredevil movie was to be released.
Unfortunatly, nothing has been heard of the series since. Below are a series of production skills used to help pitch the show to FOX KIDS.
07.jpg

- Likewise, I think there were plans (or again, just rumors) of a "Ghost Rider" animated series after his guest-spot on the 90s Incredible Hulk cartoon. He also appeared on the 2nd Season of Fantastic Four a few years earlier, but the Hulk episode felt more like a "backdoor pilot" or whatever you call those for a new show.

- For the proposed "Hulk" cartoon around the time of the 2003 live-action movie, it is briefly mentioned in the Hulk in Animation retrospective on Marvel Animation Age.
A cartoon spin off was rumoured to follow, much to the chargrin of Hulk fans as it was rumoured to be going to Kids Wb! Which meant teenagers in high school and in this case meant Hulk and son. Hulks, as it would later become known never made it to actual production, but James Marsden was cast as Bruce's son Bryce. We never saw or heard anything beyond that but this piece from X-Men: Evolution character designer/director may have been a proposed design for the series.
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- That "Save Wolverine & the X-Men" FaceBook group had a bunch of designs from the cancelled 2nd Season. Like I mentioned in the opening post I'd rather petitions and stuff like that be kept out of this thread, but just linking to the artwork should be fine.

- I think that "Captain America" animated series made it pretty far, considering they had that test animation before getting cancelled. (Kind of similar to how Donald Glover's "Deadpool" cartoon, more recently). The intro looks pretty good, the art and animation kind of reminds me of Spider-Man Unlimited.
 
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#11
The Hulk: Gamma Corps show that was in development around the same time as the 2008 The Incredible Hulk movie. I imagine the lukewarm reception to that movie killed the show, and instead Marvel Animation focused its resources on Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

A Hulk animated show did eventually happen a few years later as we saw with Hulk: Agents of SMASH.

250?cb=20130817210007.jpg
 

RoyalRubble

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#12
I think there was a proposed "Thor" animated series around the same time, which was likewise cancelled in favor of Avengers: EMH. I found this interesting bit in an interview with Christopher Yost on Marvel Animation Age.
MAA: As a semi-follow-up, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes incorporated some facets from the cancelled Hulk: Gamma Corps series. Is it true that this series will also incorporate aspects from the reportedly cancelled Thor: The Animated Series? Can we expect to see more Asgardian anarchy in the episodes to come?
CY: I didn't really think too much about Hulk: Gamma Corps, but the only stuff we used were the gamma chargers that the Leader gave his minions in the two-part "Gamma World" episodes. Maybe some of the designs, but I think Supervising Director Ciro Nieli, who worked on developing Hulk: Gamma Corps re-did most of them. The story lines had nothing to do with one another.
 

Rick Jones

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#13
Russ Heath's death recently had me thinking of Pryde of the X-Men recently (he was the character designer). Pryde and Solarman were probably the only rejected pitches that Marvel packaged and sold on home video after they were rejected. With those both having full pilots produced, I wonder if this ever happened again with Marvel. Are there any other fully animated pilots or short pitches locked in someone's vault or archives? Looking at this Captain Marvel pitch or Titmouse's Deadpool pitch, it looks as though they don't make it that far into the process anymore. Those are animators trying to sell the idea to the studios rather than the studios trying to sell it to the network though.

tD2PLFc.jpg Aoo4t9l.jpg 3ptotea.jpg M67jRTE.jpg

I think there was a proposed "Thor" animated series around the same time, which was likewise cancelled in favor of Avengers: EMH.
There was one bit of artwork floating around for that.

6ef92b40456655ab86594b3648f01d5b.jpg


- Likewise, I think there were plans (or again, just rumors) of a "Ghost Rider" animated series after his guest-spot on the 90s Incredible Hulk cartoon. He also appeared on the 2nd Season of Fantastic Four a few years earlier, but the Hulk episode felt more like a "backdoor pilot" or whatever you call those for a new show.
I think that there were definitely plans for Ghost Rider that never really materialized. With the comics popularity in the 90s showing that there was a potential fan base for him, they were probably trying to use the same approach that was used for the Hulk by having him guest on a couple shows to put him in the audience's consciousness (it felt pretty random that he would ride in to give Galactus the penance stare). The closest thing we saw as far as original animation for Ghost Rider were the tiny snippets done for his toy ad. It always puzzled me why Ghost Rider was a character that earned his own toyline St the time but I assume that it was probably meant to coincide with an animated series that was never greenlit.

 
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Frontier

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#14
The Hulk: Gamma Corps show that was in development around the same time as the 2008 The Incredible Hulk movie. I imagine the lukewarm reception to that movie killed the show, and instead Marvel Animation focused its resources on Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

A Hulk animated show did eventually happen a few years later as we saw with Hulk: Agents of SMASH.

View attachment 196981
It's kind of funny to think that they were planning a Hulk-esque team cartoon a decade before they actually did a Hulk team cartoon :p.

Although I think a Hulk cartoon back then would probably have looked a lot better visually then SMASH did :sweat:.
I think there was a proposed "Thor" animated series around the same time, which was likewise cancelled in favor of Avengers: EMH. I found this interesting bit in an interview with Christopher Yost on Marvel Animation Age.
I've always though to mysely that the only crew I would trust on a Thor cartoon is the EMH team, given the obvious love and care they have for the Thor franchise and mythos :).
Russ Heath's death recently had me thinking of Pryde of the X-Men recently (he was the character designer). Pryde and Solarman were probably the only rejected pitches that Marvel packaged and sold on home video after they were rejected. With those both having full pilots produced, I wonder if this ever happened again with Marvel. Are there any other fully animated pilots or short pitches locked in someone's vault or archives? Looking at this Captain Marvel pitch or Titmouse's Deadpool pitch, it looks as though they don't make it that far into the process anymore. Those are animators trying to sell the idea to the studios rather than the studios trying to sell it to the network though.




There was one bit of artwork floating around for that.

View attachment 197041




I think that there were definitely plans for Ghost Rider that never really materialized. With the comics popularity in the 90s showing that there was a potential fan base for him, they were probably trying to use the same approach that was used for the Hulk by having him guest on a couple shows to put him in the audience's consciousness (it felt pretty random that he would ride in to give Galactus the penance stare). The closest thing we saw as far as original animation for Ghost Rider were the tiny snippets done for his toy ad. It always puzzled me why Ghost Rider was a character that earned his own toyline St the time but I assume that it was probably meant to coincide with an animated series that was never greenlit.

I wonder sometimes whether an 80's X-Men cartoon would have had the same kind of impact the 90's X-Men cartoon did, although the 90's show was informed a lot by 90's storylines, characters, storylines, and costumes :ack:.

I guess it would kind of be like one is a Dave Cockrum cartoon while the other was Jim Lee...

Speaking of X-Men, is that Cal Dodd doing the voiceover for that Ghost Rider commercial ;)?

Man, it's kind of surreal to think we were so close to a Ghost Rider cartoon, of all things.
 

Rick Jones

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#15
I wonder sometimes whether an 80's X-Men cartoon would have had the same kind of impact the 90's X-Men cartoon did, although the 90's show was informed a lot by 90's storylines, characters, storylines, and costumes :ack:.

I guess it would kind of be like one is a Dave Cockrum cartoon while the other was Jim Lee...

Speaking of X-Men, is that Cal Dodd doing the voiceover for that Ghost Rider commercial ;)?

Man, it's kind of surreal to think we were so close to a Ghost Rider cartoon, of all things.
I really would have loved to see how a late 80s X-Men series would have turned out, and how it might compare to the 90s superhero series but who knows if it would have had the big success that the Fox Kids series did. It's too bad that the later series couldn't have the animation quality that Pryde did.

I'm pretty sure that is Cal doing the voiceover. It would have been cool if he did more work for the US market like this. Hearing him use the Wolverine voice for something else is as cool as hearing Peter Cullen use the Optimus voice for the Voltron intro or Toonami promos.

It would have been really cool if Ghost Rider at least got a miniseries or something. I can already imagine it getting rejected from Fox, due to them dealing with an increase in censorship, or UPN, due to their change in management. Wasn't it another Ghost Rider pitch from Sony that led to us getting Weisman and Cook on a Spider-Man series?

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RoyalRubble

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#16
Looking around for the never produced "Thor" animated series, I came across another possible pitch, I don't recall reading about before.

Original presentation piece by Jack Kirby, shared by Brian Michael Bendis. It was apparently supposed to be a cartoon produced by Ruby-Spears in the 80s.

The only other rumor about a previous attempt at adapting Thor was that Hanna-Barbera was working on a show in the 60s, but that ultimately became Mighty Mightor. But Mark Evanier pretty much debunked that rumor years ago.
 

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#17
Looking around for the never produced "Thor" animated series, I came across another possible pitch, I don't recall reading about before.

Original presentation piece by Jack Kirby, shared by Brian Michael Bendis. It was apparently supposed to be a cartoon produced by Ruby-Spears in the 80s.

The only other rumor about a previous attempt at adapting Thor was that Hanna-Barbera was working on a show in the 60s, but that ultimately became Mighty Mightor. But Mark Evanier pretty much debunked that rumor years ago.
Almost seems like there've been quite a few attempts to make a Thor cartoon compared to any other Avenger, although Iron Man has had at least two solo cartoons and the aforementioned attempt at a Cap cartoon...
 

Rick Jones

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#18
Looking around for the never produced "Thor" animated series, I came across another possible pitch, I don't recall reading about before.

Original presentation piece by Jack Kirby, shared by Brian Michael Bendis. It was apparently supposed to be a cartoon produced by Ruby-Spears in the 80s.
It would have been kind of weird for a Thor cartoon to come out of Ruby Spears, since Marvel Productions was going strong at the time, but Jack did have a relationship with them as he did some work on shows like Thundarr. It's a shame that there was never an animated series based solely on his ideas, or that the one Fantastic Four cartoon he got to be involved with was the worst one.

Almost seems like there've been quite a few attempts to make a Thor cartoon compared to any other Avenger, although Iron Man has had at least two solo cartoons and the aforementioned attempt at a Cap cartoon...
Iron Man was a character they wanted to pitch in the 80s as well, amongst others.

GpjLSpZ.jpg IrMoFHI.jpg ctneF8F.jpg Omo0uQY.jpg

- For the proposed "Hulk" cartoon around the time of the 2003 live-action movie, it is briefly mentioned in the Hulk in Animation retrospective on Marvel Animation Age.

View attachment 196861
What was it about this idea that made them keep trying it out?

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RoyalRubble

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#19
What was it about this idea that made them keep trying it out?

They probably think it would appeal to kids more than having a classic take on Hulk. I'm actually kind of glad this never picked up (though to be fair, I probably would have watched something like this if it was made when I was younger). Slightly off-topic, since this is a show that did make it to air, but it kind of reminds me of the Hanna-Barbera Thing cartoon, with teenager Benjy Grimm using his Thing Ring to turn into the Thing. :p

On the subject of Ghost Rider, I don't really remember this but there were apparently plans for him to guest-star on the 90s Spider-Man cartoon as well. There's this MAA interview with John Semper.
MAA: You've previously mentioned that you had an outline for a Ghost Rider guest spot and a planned Puma appearance, neither of which made it to production. What happened with these stories and were there any other guest spots you would've liked to do but never got the chance to?
Semper: The proposed "Ghost Rider" episode outline sits in a box in my garage somewhere. I don't recall ever mentioning Puma, nor do I really know who he is. Perhaps I did at one time.
I vaguely recall that I had wanted to do one episode of "Secret Wars" that would have brought all of the X-Men back to the series. But that series of stories was running too long and I decided to cut that episode out. Also, I'm sure budgetary restrictions had something to do with why I eliminated it.
I should point out that, at that time, I had the entire Marvel Universe available to me for my Spider-Man series. That probably can never happen again in any Marvel cartoon series. Many characters have now been sold to different studios and production companies, so that getting them together on screen again would prove to be a licensing nightmare. It's impossible for it to ever happen again.
Consequently, seeing Spidey guest-star on TV with so many other Marvel characters is a unique feature that only my series will ever have.
I do recall talks about the scrapped X-Men episode in the "Secret Wars" arc. And that last line I quoted from the interview is kind of funny in hindsight given Ultimate Spider-Man happened in the meantime.

Speaking of, there were a bunch of proposed ideas for Season 6 of Spider-Man: TAS which never produced. Like Peter reuniting with MJ, or something along the lines of Carnage taking the place of Jack the Ripper in a parallel dimension, if I remember correctly.
 

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#20
They probably think it would appeal to kids more than having a classic take on Hulk. I'm actually kind of glad this never picked up (though to be fair, I probably would have watched something like this if it was made when I was younger). Slightly off-topic, since this is a show that did make it to air, but it kind of reminds me of the Hanna-Barbera Thing cartoon, with teenager Benjy Grimm using his Thing Ring to turn into the Thing. :p

On the subject of Ghost Rider, I don't really remember this but there were apparently plans for him to guest-star on the 90s Spider-Man cartoon as well. There's this MAA interview with John Semper.






I do recall talks about the scrapped X-Men episode in the "Secret Wars" arc. And that last line I quoted from the interview is kind of funny in hindsight given Ultimate Spider-Man happened in the meantime.

Speaking of, there were a bunch of proposed ideas for Season 6 of Spider-Man: TAS which never produced. Like Peter reuniting with MJ, or something along the lines of Carnage taking the place of Jack the Ripper in a parallel dimension, if I remember correctly.
Also pretty ironic in light of the fact that now we probably can't do a full-on X-Men episode in a Spider-Man cartoon (or in any Marvel cartoon for that matter) :sweat:.
 

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