Below, I'm including an exploration from an old post on Micechat that I added when the Disney acquisition of Marvel was first announced. Disney parks fans were most afraid of a Marvel invasion into the parks, particularly in areas that were not appropriate (i.e. Spider-man on a turn of the century Main Street). This post was an exploration of what would have happened if the two companies were reversed - what if Marvel was the company with a park that acquired Disney and was trying to integrate it into that space. It's an exploration of Marvel's 79 year history and how it would have impacted a Marvel park. It's a little updated and edited, but the basis is all here.
If we were to take it that Marvel had created a theme park in 1955, putting Disney characters in the parks would not be as big of a stretch as you would think.
In 1955, the only somewhat recognizable superheroes Marvel would have would be Captain America, the Android Human Torch, and Namor the Submariner. But, their popularity was waning, so you might have a section of the park dedicated to the WWII superhero set, so maybe a WWII New York, New York "main street" area with victory parades and a Cap walk-around character.
In the 1950s though, the big sellers were Romance comics, Westerns, Monster comics (a la Godzilla sized sci-monsters), crime and war comics and jungle/men's adventure titles. Atlasland (as Marvel didn't become "Marvel Comics" until the 1960s) could conceivably even contain several distinct themed lands. If you went clockwise around the park, you could conceivably have:
- a WWII Superhero NY "main street",
- an Adventure section focusing on the jungle comics like Jann of the Jungle, Lorna Jungle Queen and Ka-zar and adventure comics,
- a Western section focusing on characters like the Two Gun Kid, the Rawhide Kid, etc.,
- a fantasy/horror section for the Marvel Monsters (kaiju), and
- a more modern 50's section for shows and meet and greets with Millie the Model and Patsy Walker and the other Archie like romance characters.
So long as the rides stayed popular and people had a bit of nostalgia for them, many rides would remain in the park despite future expansion and changes in Marvel's business focuses (just as Disney's original rides have remained).
In the late 1960s (let's say 1967 to parallel a little Disney history), you would have the first large expansion of Marvelland (as it would now be called), adding a superhero section to revamp the modern 1950s romance/humor section above. Here Spider-man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-men, Hulk, and all would be given a large space with rides, shops, restaurants, and meet and greets. This would quickly become the most popular section of the park.
Then in 1983, the fantasy/horror section outlined above which had previously focused on more of the giant Marvel Monsters, would get a complete refreshing, changing out the Giant Monsters for the sword and sorcery and epic sci-fi/fantasy books that had exploded in popularity in the 1970s. Books like Conan and Red Sonja. There would be a small sub section for the Marvel Horror books - a Tomb of Dracula spook ride, Castle Frankenstein, etc.
Marvel even had partnered comics with Lucasfilm for Star Wars and Indiana Jones that could lead to partnered rides like Star Tours and the Indiana Jones Adventure.
Given that framework, when Marvel buys Disney, the fit isn't as hard as you would think. Lion King fits with the Jungle Fantasy. Woody from Toy Story can stick out just as much in a Marvel Western-land as he does in Frontierland. Merida and the characters from Brave can fit in a sword and sorcery-land. The Incredibles completely belong in the superhero set.
Likewise, as to the original post, the easiest fit for Disney in anything Marvel does is the Incredibles. You could immediately start seeing the Incredibles appear in universe in the Marvel comics.
All that above to facetiously say with a little imagination, the two can work together. Given most people know Marvel for superheroes, they jump to Spider-man on Main Street. And admittedly, Spider-man and the Avengers are the characters Disney would want in the park first. That statement does not mean that there aren't creative ways to make the two fit together. The history of the two companies leads to surprising similarities when you want to find them.
It's interesting to know that in the nine years since Disney has bought Marvel, we have still not gotten the Marvel attractions that were hope for or feared. There have been meet and greets and movie previews, but the attractions are just now being designed and implemented. The Star Tours like Iron Man Experience simulator only opened last year. And a full-scale Marvel land is likely at least two years away. Plenty of ideas to put in those new spaces.
I'll pick up there tomorrow. Stay tuned, true believers!
Shared on Micechat, May 16, 2012