Q&A 41 Which Disney character should become part of the Marvel Universe?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

Which Disney character should become part of the Marvel Universe?



Anika

Okay, so, you have to understand that I kinda love Disney. I acknowledge that it’s pretty much an evil corporation. But it is still Disney. I’m not horrified at the idea of Disney running Marvel. My four year old loves Iron Man and Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) equally…so much that my husband already drew this happening.

The Iron Princess by Christian Milik

Art by Christian Milik (aka Super Daddy)

Why should Sleeping Beauty get her own Iron Armour? I have no idea. But that’s my answer.

As an additional, and absolutely necessary aside: Squirrel Girl MUST become part of the Disney Universe.



Caroline

The Disney movie that I grew up on, more than any other, was The Parent Trap. Not the new hip Lindsay Lohan movie either. The one with two different versions of Hayley “Pollyanna” Mills and her terrible terrible haircuts that looked remarkably like what was fashionable 20-something years later when I was 13. Anyway. I dug the hell out of that movie and even now I have the theme song stuck in my head and if you had the misfortune of seeing the film at any point in your life, now you do too.

The plot of this film, if you don’t know, is about identical twins who were separated at birth and sent to live with opposite parents and never told of each other’s existence. They meet at summer camp, figure out they are sisters, then plot to get their parents back together — despite the fact that they have the kind of parents who would do such a horrible thing to their children in the first place. I mean, come on, that’s not a normal family dynamic.

As much as I liked The Parent Trap when I was a kid, as an adult I have come to appreciate the equally screwed-up dynamic of the Summers-Grey family in X-Men mythology. This insane separated-siblings-who-are-never-told-the-other-is-alive thing happens to Summerses all the time. (Hi, Cyclops and Havok!) And Summers siblings do have a tendency to look alike, not because they are identical twins but because they are clones created by Mr. Sinister. The Disney-Marvel movie I want to see is the X-Parent Trap: mistaken identity comedy, Marvel-style, as Cable and Stryfe team up to get Scott and Jean back together. Hijinks ensue.

Come on, you know it would be awesome.



Jennifer

Since I already wrote all about how Marvel’s characters are secretly animated Disney characters, it would feel redundant to have them enter the Marvel U. (Though I’ll admit, if someone wanted Zazu from The Lion King, Sebastian from The Little Mermaid, and Cyclops to get together to commiserate about the perils of being the “responsible one,” I wouldn’t be opposed.)

So instead, I’m just going to repeat what I’ve been saying for months: if Hannah Montana is going to bother to have a secret identity and live a double life, why is she not a superhero? Why would you go through all the lies and secrets just to be a pop star when you could be saving the world? “Who says, who says I can’t be Superman?” Miley Cyrus sings (in a song appropriately titled “Who Says.”)* Well, Superman is from DC, so the answer to “who says” in that case is copyright law.

But who says she can’t be a Marvel superheroine?

Yes, I know some Miley Cyrus songs. I can’t help it — some of my best friends are obsessed with analyzing tween culture.



Sigrid

This seems like a bit of a cheat, and I don’t mean it that way, but Tony and Tia from Escape to Witch Mountain.

I loved that movie as a kid. Loved it. Probably because, well, because the two kids had weird powers.

But the character I think would get along the absolute best in the Marvel Universe, the one I think would fit in just fine? That’s be Maleficent.

She would give Norman Osborn a serious run for his money. (She could even, in dragon-form, date Fin Fang Foom.)


So what about you? Which Disney character should become part of the Marvel Universe?

17 Comments on Q&A 41 Which Disney character should become part of the Marvel Universe?

  1. I love all of these answers! And wow, the Parent Trap thing really needs to exist, because amazing. (Thanks, Caroline, now I have Lets Get Together stuck in my head. I really appreciate it. :P)

    As for me, I a) want Marvel characters in Kingdom Hearts, b) want Darkwing Duck to join the Avengers, c) want Pluto to join the Pet Avengers and d) want Wolverine to babysit Lilo.

    Also, Hannah Montana should go on tour with Dazzler. I mean, while I’m being demanding. :D

  2. *nods* Maleficent could take on Osbourne and Mr. Lao from Agents of Atlas. It would be fabulous. I always like a good dragon fight. Maybe she won’t die this time.

    Come to think of it all the villainesses from Disney movies could give that Sisterhood in Uncanny a run for its money.

  3. Carrie: …and thus I find out there is a Disney version of a much beloved German children’s book classic by Erich Kästner, Das doppelte Lottchen. You Yanks and your cultural imperialism. Is nothing sacred anymore?!? Next you’ll tell me there is an American-fied version of Emil und die Detektive or Das fliegende Klassenzimmer too.

    More seriously, back when he wrote it, this book was praised for being daringly modern because Kästner included divorce in a novel aimed at children, which had never been done before. Of course, a few decades later the way divorce is dealt with (i.e. let’s get the parents back together again, never mind what issues made them divorce in the first place), looks horribly old fashioned.

    Erich Kästner, briefly, for Americans: was one of the wittiest writers of the Weimar Republic. Wrote poetry, one novel and some short stories for adults and was just starting to write books for children when the Nazis came to power. Due to having written sarcastic verses about Hitler, was promptly given a Berufsverbot – i.e. he was not allowed to publish anything anymore – with the exception of Emil und die Detektive, which was such a popular children’s novel that they just had to leave it in print. Kästner didn’t go into exile but earned his living via reprints of good old Emil and the occasional film script he was allowed to write under a pseudonym. (Most famously the one for Münchhausen which he wrote as Berthold Bürger. Come to think of it, there is an evil American remake of Münchhausen, too.) Post-war, Kästner could publish again and went on to write children’s classics. Das doppelte Lottchen, about the twins, puns on the name of his girlfriend, Luiselotte – one of the twins is called Luise, and one is called Lotte – who was also the model for the journalist mother in the novel. (The father was a conductor in Vienna.) Kästner had a lot of fun with the locations, which were Berlin and Vienna respectively, and with the dialects. I can’t imagine how Disney did it…

  4. Selena -
    thanks for saving me the trouble of explaining about Das doppelte Lottchen! So just one minor correction – in the novel the mother (Luiselotte Körner) lives in Munich (which is also where Erich Kästner lived after WW2) and the father in Vienna – and some additions:
    Kästner had aroused the ire of the Nazis not just for writing about Hitler, but for being too “unpatriotic” and pacifist in general (for instance he wrote an acidic antimilitarist poem “The other possibility” that began with the lines “And if we had won the war” (meaning World War 1) and ended with “Thank God we didn’t win”).
    In the first film versions of “Das doppelte Lottchen” (West Germany 1950) Kästner provides the voice of the narrator and appears in two cameo scenes. The leads were taken by two real twins, Jutta and Isa Günther. All in all, there are at least five American movies based on the book (The Parent Trap I-III (1961-1989), It Takes Two (1995, starring the Olsen twins), and The Parent Trap (1998, starring Lindsay Lohan)), four from Germany (including an animated one), and one from Sweden.

    Oh, and I definitely want to see a Kim Possible/Squirrel Girl crossover!

  5. handyhunter // September 1, 2009 at 9:53 am //

    I think Pepper Potts could be related to Beauty & the Beast’s Mrs. Potts in some way.

    I also think Deadpool would find some of the princess outfits intriguing…

  6. @Anika I’d forgotten what a glorious picture that it of Iron Princess. :)

    @Selena Thank you for the reference! The movie I’ve seen sounds a LOT like the book you describe.

  7. Fantastic answers (and pictures!)everyone.

    Selena & Menshevik — Wow, thanks for that information! That’s so interesting. In my cultural imperialist way, it had never occurred to me to wonder about the source material for that movie (which in retrospect is really silly but also accidentally gives an interesting glimpse of early 60s American culture which is something I’m a sucker for. . .but anyway). In my defense I will say that I read the *real* Never-Ending Story before I ever saw the movie, so that’s something ;).

    As far as the attitudes to divorce, it’s funny b/c I was a little sheltered and didn’t know a lot of people from divorced families so it was *pure* fantasy to me. But I remember my grandmother taking it more literally and being absolutely appalled that someone would split up a family in that way. Though I think by that time I’d already read whichever Judy Blume novel it is where the parents divorce and Blume includes a long tirade about how *your parents aren’t going to get back together just because you want them too even though that’s what always happens in the movies*

  8. Great answers everyone, and thank you, Selena and Menshevik, for that fascinating information about the original novel.

    It’s kind of embarrassing, but the version of The Parent Trap I know best (despite having seeing both the Hayley Mills and Lindsay Lohan versions) is the Olsen twins’ It Takes Two. I’m surprised that and the Lohan movie came out so close to each other, though — the actresses are the same (my) age, too. Someone was stepping on someone’s toes!

  9. Selena, knowing your taste in films, I should have mentioned the tidbit that the Hayley Mills “Parent Trap” contains an extensive parody of the march scene from “Bridge on the River Kwai.” Not sure what to MAKE of that, but that was certainly my first exposure to the scene.

  10. Caroline -
    you’re welcome. Of course “Das doppelte Lottchen” was to a large extent a book of its time, and in post-WW2 Europe divorce was still looked on as shameful while there were millions of children who had lost parents in the war, so single-parent families were common enough. In that context the parent’s plot almost makes sense ;-)

    Come to think of it, Disney used a lot of international material, but then they aimed for a worldwide market from the start. Just a few early examples – Snow White (Brothers Grimm), Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella (both Charles Perrault/Brothers Grimm), the Sorcerer’s Apprentice (poem by Goethe), Pinocchio (Carlo Collodi), Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie, very British)…

  11. @handyhunter, Pepper being a descendant of an animate tea pot explains so much :)

    I love The Parent Trap. I’ve even seen all those sequels with adult Hayley and some random triplets. And of course Lindsay fencing. Anyway, interesting!

  12. @Menshevik Funny, the American movie (the first one, from 1961) is specifically set in a context of kids talking about how *common* divorce is becoming — which it certainly wasn’t by today’s standards but probably did represent a noticeable shift from earlier attitudes. So it’s a reactionary film in some ways, I suppose.

  13. Menshevik – and now that I got over my belated “The Mouse got its paws on Erich Kästner!?!” shock, I’m wondering how Kästner would have written the Marvelverse characters. Methinks he’d have had an innate distrust against Tony Stark because of the rich industrialist/weapons designer thing, would have sympathized with Cap’s punching Hitler, pacifist principles not withstanding, on account on wanting to that same thing but otoh would have been uncomfortable with the square jawed heroism, and if offered a choice would have picked Spider-man. Peter Parker, classic version, is very much like a Kästner character – poor kid, quippy, strong mother/aunt figure, otherwise orphan…

    Caroline – Bridge over the River Kwai, huh? That’s… interesting. In Kästner’s novel, a key scene is when the father is conducting Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, but I can’t quite see how we get from this to David Lean…

    Also, to finally answer the question originally asked: I want a Marvelverse take on Elizabeth Swann, and I want Neil Gaiman to write it. :)

  14. Just to be clear, Selena, I’m not *recommending* the movie to you, but I did remember that bit of homage. Precious little about opera, though. IIRC, the mom is a Boston society matron and the dad lives in California and is either an actor or (the ultimate generic American dad profession) an architect.

    And ‘Pirates’ is an excellent idea for a comics property!

  15. @Selena Oh! I would love to see a PotC/1602 crossover. That would be amazing.

  16. @Caroline -
    well, compared earlier times, divorce probably was much more common in Germany in 1961 as well. But of course the situation in 1949 (incidentally the year in which the two post-war German states – Federal Republic of Germany and German Democratic Republic – were founded) was such that economic factors and the continuing housing shortage would have contributed to families staying together even if a marriage was strained to the breaking point. Also, Munich and Vienna were very, very Catholic back then…

    @Selena -
    Oh yes, Peter Parker, especially the Lee/Ditko/Romita version is SO the archetypal Kästner boy protagonist. He really comes especially close to Anton, doesn’t he, having to make money to care for his sick mother? (While Pünktchen combines Gwen Stacy’s well-to-do background and close relationship to her father with a personality more like MJ’s ;-) ). Which reminds me that not long ago a graphic novel version of “Pünktchen und Anton” hit the bookshops, produced by the great Isabel Kreitz (who once again does a good approximation of Walter Trier’s style).

  17. Caroline – a Boston society matron as the American equivalent of a German single mom journalist makes me weep. A Californian actor or architect as the equivalent of the conductor of the Wiener Philharmoniker, otoh, cracks me up. (I’m thinking of real life examples here and trying to imagine Karajan in Californian gear. Although, Leonard Bernstein also conducted the Viennese bunch for a while, so maybe the dad should have been a New Yorker…)

    Good to know I’m not alone in my desire for Marval adapting PotC. Also, Jennifer, I’ve WRITTEN a 1602/PotC crossover, ahem.

    Menshevik – yes, Anton is the closest match. Belatedly, it also occurs to me that an X-Men:First Class version of Das fliegende Klassenzimmer would be great fun (someone should write that as a pastiche, except I guess most non-German readers would miss the point), so maybe Kästner would have gone for the X-folk, too.

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