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WEST TOLUCA LAKE, Calif. -- The Invincible Iron Man movie, out on DVD on Tuesday, is just one of several animated projects from Marvel Studios and partners in the next two years.

The Continuum recently visited the offices of MLG Productions -- where Marvel and Lionsgate are teaming up on their current direct-to-DVD films -- and talked with Marvel Studios' Eric S. Rollman, who oversees Marvel's animation and live-action television projects.

Sitting in a room with designs for the Teen Avengers movie on the walls, Rollman dropped some -- but hardly all -- the details on Marvel's upcoming animated projects.

Following is a rundown:


Following August's Doctor Strange will be Teen Avengers, which will skew to a younger audience than the previous four films.

The characters are newly created and Teen Avengers is set in the future, but Rollman said, "There will be familiar elements within the Marvel Universe."

Christopher Yost, the story editor on Marvel's Fantastic Four series on Cartoon Network, is writing the screenplay.

The supervising director is Gary Hartle.

"He storyboarded the Hulk battle in the first Ultimate Avengers," Rollman said. "The board on that sequence was incredible."

Rollman said a sixth animated film will join Teen Avengers as a 2008 release. He wouldn't reveal the character(s) to be featured, but did say it was not a new creation like Teen Avengers.

"I can tell you that people will be pretty stunned when they hear what it is," he said.

(For more on the Doctor Strange movie, CLICK HERE)


Rollman said he expects production on the 26 episodes to wrap in April. "The scripts are all done and everything has been recorded," he said.

Fantastic Four is expected to return to Cartoon Network in May or June. Four episodes are being released by Fox Home Video on DVD on March 27.


Marvel's mutants could be returning to the small screen as early as fall 2008.

"We are in pre-production," Rollman said. "We have a nice batch of scripts that are done. It's a really neat new take on the X-Men."

Is it tough to do the X-Men again, following Fox Kids' X-Men and Kids' WB!'s X-Men: Evolution?

"I wouldn't say it's tough, I would say it's fun," Rollman said. "There's so much to do with them. Yeah, there's been two series that have been done, but there's plenty of room in this world. The point of view in this one, since it's called Wolverine and the X-Men, has quite a different twist to it as the sort of base story line."

Greg Johnson, who wrote the first four Marvel/Lionsgate animated films and was a story editor on X-Men: Evolution, is story editor.

Rollman said the series hasn't been sold to a network yet.


This might also see the airwaves by fall 2008. Marvel is teaming with France's Method Films, who produced Nickeldeon's Skyland, on an all-CG series.

"It's a very state-of-the-art show," Rollman said. "These guys do some really advanced-looking stuff."

Rollman said the series will not be set in the world of the Invincible Iron Man or Ultimate Avengers films -- or the upcoming live-action Iron Man movie.

"We have a bible done and initial character development is about 60 percent done," Rollman said.

Yost has been attached to this series.


"It's our most important property," Rollman said. "All we know at this point is a series is going to be made and there are currently a lot of discussions about how it's going to be made."

Marvel is working with movie partner Sony on the Spider-Man animated as well. Early reports indicated that Spider-Man might be released via the home market first.

"It's going to be a television series, at this point," Rollman said. "I don't think it's going to be released on video first. That was a discussion at one point. The plan is not clearly articulated at this point, but we are definitely doing a series of episodes, not movies."

Rollman said he doesn't see the new animation being set in the movie world.

"We just need to make a great series that stands on its own," Rollman said. "That's the only way to make it successful."

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