Marvel's 616 comic-con panel

With the coronavirus forcing the delays of multiple Marvel Studios movies, Marvel fans have found themselves with a bit of an empty feeling lately. But the new documentary series Marvel’s 616 is coming to Disney+ soon, and the show’s Comic-Con at Home panel, which took place this afternoon, provided a look into the creation of the show and spotlighted a handful of Marvel characters fans might not be familiar with. Check out the highlights below.

Just one day after releasing multiple sneak peek clips of the upcoming series, directors Gillian Jacobs (Community) and Paul Scheer (The League) joined executive producers Sarah Amos and Jason Sterman to talk about how the show came to life. You can watch the entire panel if you like, but we’ll point out the highlights below the video:

The Show’s Anthology Format Mirrors the Comics

Sarah Amos: “If you look at the last 80 years of Marvel, an Iron Man story feels very different from a Jessica Jones story or a Howard the Duck story. All of our characters have their own tone and their own vibe. So when we started tackling non-fiction at Marvel and we started looking back and wanting to tell our own story, we wanted to make sure that we honored that same kind of tradition. So the anthology nature of the series really made sense to us because it allowed us to really respect each story, each storyteller, and let that journey be its own moment. Then the next episode is going to take you on a completely different path.”

Gillian Jacobs Thought She Was Making a Documentary About Marvel, But Sort of Inadvertently Ended Up Telling a Story About the Whole Comics Industry

Gillian Jacobs: “I had to go back to, why is the comic book industry look the way it looks right now? I had to go back to the ’20s and ’30s. There’s so much in terms of things that happened in the comic book industry and how that affected companies like Marvel. For me, I was watching clips of Congressional hearings. The process of this documentary took me in a lot of different directions. These won’t be discoveries for Marvel fans, but I didn’t know about Louise Simonson, Ann Nocenti, and they are very famous people within the world of comics. For me, I didn’t know anything about them, so I got to learn about them and then meet a lot of these people, which was very exciting.”

Gillian’s Favorite Filming Moment

Gillian Jacobs: “Maybe it was getting some women in the same room who had worked together really closely a couple of decades previously but haven’t necessarily gotten to spend a lot of time together, and just being able to film them interacting. That was a really special moment. I got to film in the Marvel offices, which I didn’t know put me in a very small group of people who were allowed to film in the Marvel offices, so that was very exciting.”

How The Episode Subjects Were Chosen

Jason Sterman: I think the thing we challenged ourselves with internally before we ever approached anyone about making any of them was looking at the subject matter and going, ‘What’s the expected version of this show? If someone were to just write the logline and go, this is what Marvel’s 616 is. How do we make sure it’s not that?’ I think what that ultimately leads to is that you end up having the ability to have episodes that really are a revelation moment. Or it’s something that the average audiences is not going to be able to look at and go, ‘Oh, I know what that is.'”

Marvel Comics as a Family Reunion

Paul Scheer: “I kind of think of Marvel like a family reunion. We all know the major players, but then there’s that weird uncle that you only see once every four years. ‘What is up with him? Does he own a bait and tackle shop? I need to find out. I want to sit next to that person.’…For me, it was sort of saying, we know all these amazing characters Marvel has in their front line. We even know the reserves. I’m talking about the people who are behind the scenes a little bit more. I want to get into the world of Damage Control, or we talk in [that clip] about The Wizard. Or a superhero who has a CB radio installed in his brain. These are the characters we need to uncover.”

Characters Left Unexplored in Paul’s Episode

Paul Scheer: “A character we didn’t get to explore that I really wanted to was Hell Cow, a cow that was bitten by a vampire and is now a vampire cow. There are stories here to tell about Hell Cow! Typeface: basically, his small business is closed and now he uses the typeface on his face to take revenge…there are stories here, characters that never really took off.”

What Fans Can Expect From the Other 6 Episodes in Season 1

Jason Sterman: “The power of documentary has always been the ability to both educate and expand peoples’ minds, but the thing we’ve always really tried to do is lean into the idea of it being entertainment as well. So nothing feels like a chore or it’s just purely into the education aspect. The thing I’ve been so surprised with in every one of these episodes is you can walk from one edit room to the next as these things are being made and you’ll hysterically laugh in one and bawl your eyes out in the next. I’m excited for audiences to ultimately find their entry point. This does not become a series where you know what the next thing will be when you click play…people have an idea of what Marvel Comics are and what the series may be, and they’re going to be very, very surprised when they see this come alive.”

Sarah Amos: “I think a lot of people have an idea of what Marvel fandom looks like or what Marvel fans look like or what the people behind the comics look like, and the thing that I love so much about the series is that we’re going to introduce you to so many different types of faces and people who have been so integral to the stories we tell and the content we create and haven’t all necessarily had a moment in the spotlight. Gillian’s doc does that amazingly, but honestly, it just scratched the surface of where we go. Marvel really does have characters and creators that speak to every walk of life, and I think this series really highlights that in a unique way that we haven’t been able to do in the past.”

Here is the official synopsis for Marvel’s 616:

“Marvel’s 616” explores how Marvel’s rich legacy of stories, characters and creators exist within the world outside your window. Each documentary, helmed by a unique filmmaker, explores the intersections of storytelling, pop culture, and fandom within the Marvel Universe. Films in this anthology series will cover topics including Marvel’s world-spanning artists, the trailblazing women of Marvel Comics, discovering the “forgotten” characters of Marvel, and much more.

Marvel’s 616 debuts on Disney+ this fall.

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