Missed Opportunity for Disney, Marvel & Big Hero 6


As we all know, last year, Disney officially announced that the 54th animated feature to come from Walt Disney Animation Studios would be based on an obscure Marvel Comics property called Big Hero 6.


And, while there has been consultation with Marvel Entertainment's Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, both Disney and Marvel were quick to point out that this film would be a Disney take on a Marvel property and not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Marvel Comic Universe. 

Director Don Hall told the Los Angeles Times, "I was looking for something on the obscure side, something that would mesh well with what we do. The idea of a kid and a robot story with a strong brother element, it’s very Disney."

Later, he told moviefone, "...Marvel was super encouraging to not tie it to their mythology at all. It was like -- 'Create your own universe, create your own characters, and don't worry about anything else.'"


This all makes sense because Walt Disney Animation Studios has always done their own versions of various properties.  For example, while we can say FROZEN was based on Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale "The Snow Queen," it probably has as much in common with the original source material as Big Hero 6 does.

Regardless, because of the unorthodox source material for Disney, there has been a certain level of expectation that the film will somehow be tied to Marvel.  So, recently, Newsarama did a story about how Marvel had no plans to re-release any of its Big Hero 6 comic books nor did it have plans to add Big Hero 6 back into the current Marvel Comic Universe.  Comic Book Resources confirmed this with Marvel Comics Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso who said, "The characters and stories that have appeared in our comics are very different from what they are in the film. Releasing material that would be viewed as movie tie-in product would be a disservice to filmgoers. We wanted the Disney folks to be able to create their own unique style and story, unencumbered by those older stories."


Again, this made sense to me because the characters are very different from the original source material.  They wouldn't fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe nor would they really fit into the Marvel Comic Universe.

Alonso also added, "we have a catalog of stuff that we can reprint, but we have no intention of doing anything related to the movie."

And, this is where I think a missed opportunity has taken place.  Again, I get the fact that Marvel doesn't want to reprint the old stories because they don't really sell well.  And, because the characters are different, I get they don't want people to assume that this is the NEW Big Hero 6 in the Marvel 616 Universe (to those who don't speak Marvel-ese, the Marvel 616 Universe is the universe in which all the classic Marvel stories have taken place).  

But, the missed opportunity comes with his saying that they have "no intention" on doing anything related to the movie.

Why couldn't or shouldn't they release a comic book based on the Disney film?  It seems like a great opportunity to introduce kids to comic books.  No, these characters do not need to be in the proper 616 Universe, but, why can't they exist outside that universe in a book aimed specifically to younger readers (or even better - ALL AGES) in the same way it releases Avengers Assemble, Ultimate Spider-Man Adventures and Hulk: Agents of S.M.A.S.H.  It doesn't even have to bear the Marvel imprint if they don't want a connection.


And. it's not like Marvel hasn't taken on Disney properties before.  It currently has the Disney Kingdoms comic with a very popular Figment storyline now being published.  The first and second issues even sold out and a second printing had to be done.  And, its doing what the series hoped to accomplish, bring in Disney fans who don't normally read comics.


The truth of the matter is that Disney owns a successful comic book company and it seems a shame that its not using this synergistic opportunity to create a comic book line based on a property based on a comic book.  I feel the same way about how they haven't used the opportunity to produce a The Incredibles comic book or books based on Wreck-It Ralph...among others.  Imagine if Disney had seized upon the opportunity to further market the Sugar Rush characters from Wreck-It Ralph.  With the right creators, it could have had a similar girl, yet very crossover, targeted audience that IDW's My Little Pony enjoys today.

Disney is honestly missing a great opportunity here.  I hope that both Disney and Marvel will eventually re-think this opportunity and eventually plan a Disney's Big Hero 6 comic book. 

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