SDCC at Home: Marvel’s 616: Earth’s Mightiest Documentaries

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When we think of Marvel, we think of super mutants at a special academy, supersoldiers, billionaires in mech suits, and other such fantastical tales and adventures. However, Marvel’s 616 will be unique in that it will detail the extraordinary stories behind comic books fans have known and loved for decades.

At its recent Comic-Con at Home panel, directors Gillian Jacobs, Paul Scheer, and executive producers Sarah Amos and Jason Sterman shared more about the upcoming docuseries.

Marvel’s 616 derives its name from the main Marvel universe where the bulk of events take place. The series will focus on just that: the very real stories behind Marvel Comics.

The most interesting aspect of this “anthology” series is that unlike your average documentary, it will follow the pattern of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in that each episode will have a different tone and theme from one another.

Executive producer Sarah Amos shared, “If you look at the last 80 years of Marvel, an Iron Man story feels very different than a Jessica Jones story or a Howard the Duck story, all our characters have their own tone and their own vibes…we wanted to make sure that we honored that same kind of tradition.”

This format allowed the directors to explore their own individual unique voices. The directors range from complete Marvel comics newcomers such as Gillian Jacobs (of Community fame) and Paul Scheer (best known for his work in The League) who is not only a longtime Marvel comics fan but has even written some titles for Marvel, including Deadpool and Ghost Rider.

The focus of each episode will also be different throughout the anthology. For instance, Gillian Jacobs’s episode entitled, Higher, Further, Faster: Trailblazing Women of Marvel Comics focuses on not only the groundbreaking female characters of Marvel Comics but also the incredible talent behind creating them. For her contribution, Gillian Jacobs researched years of women in Marvel Comics such as the inception of the Muslim superhero Ms. Marvel and the process that took place to bring her to life.

In contrast, Paul Scheer’s episode focuses less on the parts of comic book history that are more well known but more on the “forgotten Marvel comics and characters.” Scheer’s episode is one that emphasizes the minutiae of the franchise and characters we know and love, and a more in-depth analysis of the source material for die-hard comic book geeks. Not only do we learn about the political backdrop of Black Panther’s storyline as written by Reginald Hudlin, but we also learn about obscure trivia such as the characters Doctor Druid and The Whizzer.

Perhaps the most important takeaway about Marvel’s 616 is that it will provide something for both those just discovering Marvel Comics to veterans that have been reading for decades.

Of the series, Amos says, “…it is so accessible. It shows how anyone can be inspired by our characters, that anyone can create a character that really reflects them and then show the lasting impact that that character can have in society…and then honestly getting to watch Gillian start from a standpoint of not knowing our characters to now being more of an expert than some of the folks I work with, that journey in itself is what the film is really all about…”

Marvel’s 616 will be available on Disney+ in 2020.

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