Marvel has had many big storylines and their new film series will look at them but in a different way. Today at SXSW during Marvel's House of Ideas panel, details for a new film series were released, Marvel's Tales to Astonish. The idea is to take a look at some of Marvel's big and intense stories that often reflects real-life events or tones. The film series will feature interviews and commentary from creators and more.
We had the chance to talk to John Cerilli, Vice President, Content & Programming, about what we can expect. Also, be sure to check out the video clip at the top of the page.
COMIC VINE: Can you tell us about Marvel's Tales to Astonish film series?
JOHN CERILLI: Marvel’s Tales to Astonish is a live-action, short-form documentary film series that will take a deep dive into some of the greatest storylines, characters and more in Marvel history. Like all great artists, the editors, writers and pencilers who have told Marvel’s stories were and still are influenced by so many different things. In fact, there are so many underlying metaphors and meanings throughout Marvel’s storytelling. Marvel’s Tales to Astonish will take a look at all of that and we hope, will become quality entertainment in its own right that will appeal to a wide audience – from Marvel die-hards to Marvel newbies.
CV: Will this be a retrospective on specific story arcs? Sort of like a director's commentary?
JC: No, not really. It’s more of an exploration of those story arcs and those characters – what they meant in Marvel terms and what they mean in real life terms. The first episode focuses on Civil War. In it, we will hear from voices from inside the Marvel world – such as writer Mark Millar and Stan Lee, but we’ll also hear from voices outside of Marvel – real world voices from major media who talk about and debate the themes being explored in Civil War. It’s all wound together seamlessly by director Eric Drath who did an AMAZING job on this film. He’s a brilliant filmmaker and I’m blessed to have had the chance to work with him. In 2008, he directed one of the single best sports documentaries I’ve ever seen, “Assault in the Ring” for HBO. In it, he tells a stunning, heart-wrenching story that is wrought with the frailty of the human condition. What better person to direct a documentary about Marvel’s all-too-human super humans?
CV: Why was Civil War chosen as the first video, besides it being a great story arc?
JC: It leapt to the top of the pile simply because the themes that motivate the story are not easy ones and, honestly, define what it is to be a character in the Marvel Universe. In 2006 when this was published, so much of what was happening with the Patriot Act was influencing what was being told in the story. The idea of privacy and what it meant to be a US citizen and how respected your privacy was – it’s a very compelling debate. Was Cap right? Was Iron Man right? The super hero registration act that both of them fought a bloody battle over was very much about a person’s right to privacy.
However, both sides seemed to have very legitimate points when relaying their arguments. Now, from our real world standpoint, something rather substantial happened after we started making this film – the NSA scandal erupted. All of a sudden, we weren’t making a film about a comic book series that came out in 2006, we were making a film about how prophetic that comic book series was and still is.
CV: Will these appear on Marvel.com?
JC: The trailer will. Beyond that, we’re still exploring the best distribution method for Marvel’s Tales to Astonish. We love the content. We know everyone who watches it will love the content. We just want to make sure when we launch this, we do what’s best for the content in terms of distribution.
CV: Any idea how frequent we can expect to see these?
JC: Uncertain just now. That’s tied up in how we ultimately decide to distribute the films. At that point, we’ll let folks know how often they’ll be able to see them. And we can’t wait to do that.
Sounds cool to us. What do you think about this idea? What storylines do you think deserve this treatment?