Disney Channel's Phineas and Ferb help Spider-Man, the Hulk, Thor and Iron Man save the world in the crossover TV special Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel, set to debut Friday, Aug. 16 at 8/7c.
Disney Channel SVOD and WATCH Disney Channel users will be given a first look at the special beginning Monday, Aug. 12. Starting Saturday, Aug. 17, the special will be available for download on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video Store and Microsoft Xbox.
Sister network Disney XD will then air Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. ET with a special screening hosted by the show's bumbling evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Also, a new online game devoted to the special goes live on July 26 at DisneyChannel.com/MissionMarvel.
"Growing up with comic books our whole lives, we were both honored and a little frightened by the idea of doing this," says Dan Povenmire, who created Phineas and Ferb with Jeff "Swampy" Marsh. "We made sure we had enough time to do it right. We worked with Marvel and made sure all the humor worked without belittling their characters. It turned out really great."
In the episode, it turns out the Marvel superheroes exist in the Phineas and Ferb universe, but they live and fight crime in New York. Comic books also exist — but they're based on the real-life exploits of these superheroes.
When one of Professor Doofenshmirtz's inventions accidentally zaps the Marvel characters' powers, they arrive in Danville to get them back. But things get confusing when their powers are mixed up, and Phineas and Ferb must help save the world when villains Red Skull, Whiplash, Venom and M.O.D.O.K. arrive.
Where's Perry? The crimefighting platypus is also in the mix, via a motorized surfboard and a superhero costume. Yes, he's the "Surfer Platypus." Says Povenmire, "We were really happy with how it turned out. It's a great Phineas and Ferb episode and it's also a great Marvel episode. You can look at it either way."
The Phineas team had to make Spider-Man and his pals' heads bigger in order to fit into the show's world. "When you put their original designs next to our designs, it looked a little freakish," Povenmire says. "We just changed the proportion of the head to the body but otherwise went with their design. We didn't try to make them into Phineas and Ferb versions. Spider-Man doesn't have a triangle head."
The writers did have to abide by some strict Marvel rules. "The main thing on Marvel's mind is the characters have to always seem heroic, because that's what they are, they're heroes," Povenmire says. "They can never be doing anything that would not fit with the character. So even when we're getting humor out there at their expense, it was not because they're not acting the way they should."
Phineas and Ferb, whose summertime creations rival anything seen in the Marvel universe, are ultimately offered an internship by Iron Man himself, Tony Stark. "Tony's really impressed with these two smart kids," Povenmire says. The team is already pondering a second Marvel special.
"This is a real Marvel superhero operation," says Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb. "It's an extraordinary opportunity for these two franchises to come together and create an adventure never before seen in the world of Marvel and Disney."
The voices behind Marvel's animated TV series also provided the voices for Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel, including Drake Bell as Spider-Man, Adrian Pasdar as Iron Man, Danny Trejo as Venom and Chi McBride as Nick Fury. Stan Lee also shows up as himself.
In the meantime, Povenmire also has his eyes on another franchise recently acquired by Disney: Lucasfilm and Star Wars. "When I saw that news break, I drew a picture of Doofenshmirtz as Darth Vader and texted it to the head of Disney TV animation and wrote, 'I smell crossover!'"