The MCU movies Captain Marvel and Black Panther introduced a world of new fans to some of the heroines of Marvel comics. There’s Carol Danvers herself and her friend Maria, and all the scientists and warriors of Wakanda. Fans won’t have to wait until Avengers: Endgame to see them again. The animated special Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron includes Carol Danvers, and future Marvel Rising specials will touch on other fan favorites.

Cort Lane, executive producer of Marvel Rising and SVP of Family Entertainment for Marvel, spoke with reporters in a press room for Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron at WonderCon. He discussed how fans can see different sides of their favorite characters in their animated forms.

Captain Marvel Faces More Accusers

She dodged Ronan in the movie, but Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron will see Carol battle Hala.

“I hope that’s another incentive to watch because then they get to see a different side of character,” Lane said. “The film is Carol figuring herself out. Well, now she’s an established hero and she can be tough, but she can also be a great mentor. Watching her with the [Marvel Rising:] Secret Warriors, in the feature length and in this one is really interesting. You also get to see how tough she is when she’s in battle with Hala the Accuser and I think that’s a really cool thing too.”

Marvel Rising is not Captain Marvel: The Animated Series, but it is a team of empowering female heroes: Squirrel Girl (Milana Vayntrub), Ms. Marvel (Kathreen Khavori) and now introducing Riri Williams (Sofia Wylie).

“So you get her human side and then you get a big old Captain Marvel blowout battle,” Lane said.

Given that the Carol/Maria scenes were most people’s favorite part of Captain Marvel, we think Carol teaching a team of young superheroes will be worth watching.

Shuri Gets Her Own Animated Special

Marvel announced three more Marvel Rising specials at their WonderCon panel. There’s Battle of the Bands featuring Ghost-Spider and Playing with Fire with Inferno (Tyler Posey) and America Chavez (Cierra Ramirez). Then there’s Operation Shuri, giving T’Challa’s sister the spotlight.

Daisy Lightfoot will voice Shuri in Marvel Rising: Operation Shuri. Since the interview was before the panel announcement, Lane only teased the star of the new special.

“There are other female black geniuses in the Marvel universe,” Lane said. “There’s a couple of them so you’re going to have to decide later what that means. There’ll be an announcement.”

Given the fan love for Shuri (Letitia Wright) in Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, an animated series about her is a no-brainer. For now we’ll have to settle for a special. And as we all mourn the Endgame poster that reveals an ashen Shuri, we can rest assured she’ll be back, no matter what happens in Endgame.

The New Specials Have Female Villains

Hala the accuser is a big villain for Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron. Few of the Marvel villains have been female, with Hela in Thor: Ragnarok being one of few exceptions. However, Lane promised some of the new specials will also feature female villains.

“We are going to announce more specials today and we’re not going to talk too much about the villains but two of them have really tough, intense and interesting female villains,” Lane said. “I do think that’s important.”

It sure is. It’s great that Marvel is expanding their roster of empowering heroines, but the dark side matters, too. Whether they’re cautionary tales or have the potential for redemption, it’s good to know there’ll be more female villains joining these stories. And Marvel Rising is going to have fun with them.

“We’re going to create a pop song for one of them because we think that that bad girl perspective is something that girls can connect with,” Lane said. “That may not be them but they understand that instinct and they want to understand that character’s evolution as well.”

Ironheart Begins

Then there’s Riri Williams herself, the star of Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron. Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mike Deodato introduced the teenager in 2016’s Invincible Iron Man run as a protege to Tony Stark.

“We have time to tell Riri’s story which is an expanded story, 44 minutes, because her backstory is really interesting,” Lane said. “She has a huge arc even within the special in terms of being a real loner just focused on her inventions to being a friend and teammate to somebody who uses her inventions to make the world a much better place.”

Lane said Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron does feature “a big, explosive battle to save the Earth,” but that’s not really what people tune in to Marvel for.

“It’s about these young people doubting themselves and figuring out and eventually becoming great heroes just using the skills and the smarts that they have to become the best version of themselves and make the world a better place,” Lane said.

You know what they say: with great power comes great responsibility. It sounds like Ironheart and the New Warriors of Marvel Rising will face their responsibilities.

Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron premieres April 3 on Marvel HQ.

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