I got the chance, and the pleasure, to Chat with Avengers EMH supervisor producer, the talented Joshua Fine. Check out this exclusive interview where we talk about the past and current season as well as the show’s cancellation rumor:
1- First of all, Josh, i would like to thank you for this great opportunity, as it is an honor to be talking to one of the main guys who brought us, the excellent, avengers EMH TV series. Let us start about ahat was your job in the series?
I was the Supervising Producer of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. That means that I was responsible for shepherding the production from its inception to its conclusion and overseeing all of the creative aspects of the show, from the writing, to the design, to storyboarding, voice acting, editing, sound design, visual fx, and more. I had a host of talented folks working under me, people like Story Editor Chris Yost and Supervising Directors Ciro Nieli and Frank Paur, and they had lots of talented folks working for them. Producing an animated series is a big, team effort, but I was sort of the guy with the broadest view of everything that was happening—trying to tie the whole thing together into one vision.
2- The fans seem to be very happy how the show was handled and where its going on its second season. Were you expecting the general audience to love avengers EMH ?
You’re never completely sure how people are going to react before they’ve seen it, but going in, I did have a lot of confidence in the direction we were going. And the further along in the story we got, the more excited I was to get the series out there for people to see—mostly because I was enjoying it so much as a fan, and I had a strong feeling that other fans would feel the same!
3- The first season ended with a bang and the second seems to be getting bigger, with next week’s episode tacking the “who do you trust?” aspect, what can we expect from the rest of the season?
We tackled a bunch of big stories in Season 1, things like Breakout, Gamma World, the Kang Saga, the Ultron storyline, and of course the Asgard finale. Topping all of that wasn’t going to be easy, but Chris and I came up with a plan to go even bigger in Season 2. What you’re seeing right now, as we’re coming up on the seventh episode, is that we’ve put the main storyline on a slow build-up. While having the chance to tell a combination of smaller and bigger one-shot stories, with some really fun guest appearances, we’re keeping some big story threads on a low boil. What you’re going to see in ‘Who Do You Trust’ is everything starting to come to a rapid boil.
4- A big difference between the show and the comics is Captainamerica’s status. In the comics he is the avengers leader, while in the show Tony is the boss, will that change over the course of the second season ?
Even in the comics, the Avengers didn’t have a clear-cut leader right away. They went through a series of rotating chairmanships between the founding members. Very similar to what we have in the series, when Cap got thawed out, he found himself a man out-of-time, trying to cope with what it meant to exist in a completely different era. As the series has gone on, we’ve seen some of Cap’s natural leadership start to come through. He’s gotten to know his teammates and his surroundings a bit better. He’s growing more comfortable in this world he’s found himself in, and as that happens, his influence over the rest of the team definitely starts to expand. There’s been a little hitch in his life though, the minor fact that he’s been abducted and replaced by a shape-shifting alien. So fasten your seatbelt, I’m not about to give away what happens next!
5- The current second season, dubbed the cosmic season, is introducing many of Marvel’s big characters. Can we expect the world eating Galactus and his herald the Silver Surfer to appear this season, since thet are the Cosmic Marvel icons ?
If you know everything that’s going to happen, watching won’t be half as fun! You’ll just have to watch and find out.
6- an upcoming episode of the second season is titled “along came a spider” and will feature the fan favorite spider-man. what can you tell us about this version of Spidey? Is it more in line with the cancelled Spectacular spider-man or is it something new? Also what about the rumor that Josh Keaton is voicing the webhead ?
As with the way we’ve handled the Avengers and most of the other guest characters in the show, our approach to Spidey is pretty classic. As for rumors… well, I don’t really comment on rumors. You’ll just have to see for yourself when we get there!
7- Through a published screenshot (seen below) we know that Wolverine will have a cameo this season? but What about the X-men (cyclops, storm etc…) will they be featured in any episode?
8- In the “alone against AIM” Maria Hill was constantly talking about the super hero registration Act, which of course mean the civil war for those who follow the marvel comics. Now is the Civil War story arc part of this season, or is something that you were hoping to start in the 3rd season (if there is one)
Civil War is a huge storyline, and not something that we could have fit into this season with everything else that’s going on (and not something that we were ready to fit in, in any event.) This is one of those places where we were planting seeds for the future (as we did with the Kree and Skrulls in season 1.) There are a ton of pieces to set up before we could ever get to a Civil War type story, and have it be both logically motivated and satisfying.
9- Half through the second season, Jeph Loeb took over the show reign while Man of action took over the writing job. Were you still involved through the second half of the season and to what extent ?
I remained the Supervising Producer through all of scripting, pre-production, and the first half of post-production. The episodes weren’t all animated in chronological order, so I was there for the entirety of the first 13 episodes of the season and for a few scattered episodes towards the end of the season. I was there for everything except post-production for the rest of the episodes (about 8 of them.)
When Chris Yost and I started developing the first season of the show, we came up with a detailed plan for Season 1 and a rough idea of where we would go in future seasons—creating a bible for the show that set up a road map of where the adventures of the Avengers would take them. We stayed pretty true to that plan throughout season 1, though not slavishly. At the beginning of Season 2 we did something similar. We sat down and hashed out a detailed roadmap of what we wanted to do in the season, what the characters were going to go through and how they were going to change. And we came up with some rough ideas of where we’d end up and what we could do if we got future seasons. Chris went ahead and created a “mini-bible” for the season that really organized these thoughts in one place.
Everyone was onboard with our plan for Season 2 and we set out to make it happen. We got a little past halfway through scripting the season when a few things happened at once. The first was that both writing and production were starting to slip a bit behind schedule (not abnormal for a show of this scope, but not desirable all the same), the second was that Chris was offered a tremendous opportunity to join the Marvel writer’s program for the feature film division, and we started exploring ways to transition him off the series to free him up. The above two things caused a period of increased scrutiny on the show and the feeling arose that the storytelling was leaning a bit too much in the serial direction—that it might be growing too hard to follow for anyone who hadn’t seen the first 39 episodes—and that the focus was drifting too much from the big 4 Avengers (Iron Man, Cap, Thor, and Hulk.)
Jeph Loeb, who had recently joined as head of TV for us suggested bringing in Man of Action to help solve a bunch of these issues. The MoA guys came in for a bunch of really productive story meetings and helped get us back on schedule by taking on a bunch of the writing work load. Chris and I remained involved in the planning process, but credit really goes to Jeph and MoA for crafting the new road map for those 13 episodes and for bringing renewed focus to the big 4 in more one-and-done style stories. Within that new plan, Chris spared time to pen a few more scripts for us and I supervised production throughout. We tried to make any shift as invisible as possible, so hopefully—if things worked out—long time fans won’t notice any difference at all.
10- How would you describe the difference between the first half of the season, before Man of Action getting involved, and the second half ? Would we feel a change in the series tone ?
Hopefully not, though the approach to the stories is a bit different. In the first half of the season we get a pretty huge build op of one big story, where the back half is broken up a lot more into smaller, more bite-sized plots.
11- Rumors are floating that the Avengers EMH will not be renewed for a third season and another new Avengers cartoon will take over. Have you heard anything about that? And are there any news regarding a third season ?
I’ve only seen the same articles and interviews that most fans have seen, but I haven’t really heard anything other than that. The likelihood of the show getting a third season seemed pretty slim even back when I was still working on the show, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise. But there’s still a lot of Season 2 to go, and several more twists and turns for fans to enjoy before the finale.
12- If there was a 3rd season and you would be involved, where would like to take the show next ?
As part of the road map that Chris and I came up with, back when we were developing the first two seasons, I envisioned season 2 as being our cosmic season and season 3 being a heavily “magic” themed season. This helped us choose where and when to do certain guest-stars and cameos, and how to tie some of the story threads together.
13- What are the current projects you are working on, and ca we expect to see you tackle more marvel characters in the future ?
I’m currently mostly focused on developing some original material (something fun that I haven’t had a chance to do in a long time.) As far as working with the Marvel characters however, I did recently write the script for an Avengers 4D attraction that recently opened at Madame Tussaud’s in NYC. It’s a pretty engrossing, action-packed short movie. I haven’t had a chance to visit and see it in the theatre yet with all of the 4D effects going, but I hope to this summer. Anyone in the area should definitely check it out if they get the chance!
14- Ok, last question, i promise, during last sunday’s episode, were introduced to the Soul Gem (which is one of the many Inifinty Gems) Will we get an adaptation of the amazing Infinity Gauntlet Saga during this season? And will Thanos be featured in the Avengers EMH ?
Mwahaha, you just want me to leak tons of spoilers, don’t you? You’ll have to watch and find out for that one, though I will say [SPOILERS FOR ANYONE WHO HASN’T SEEN THE AVENGERS FILM] that one way or another, I think we can look forward to seeing that storyline brought to life!
Thank you Josh for this great interview, and i am sure fans will agree, that thanks to you we have a great Avengers show that we will enjoy even after it ends. Thank you Sir.