Superheroes from across the Marvel multiverse assemble at Avengers Campus, an entirely new land inside Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort dedicated to discovering, recruiting and training the next generation of heroes. Disneyland Resort newcomers Ant-Man, Wasp and Wakandan General Okoye join a roster of superheroes on hand for Heroic Encounters that includes Spider-Man, Captain Marvel and Black Panther, who are some of the characters guests will interact with throughout the land. The complex is funded by Tony Stark, also on hand to welcome groups of recruits for heroic photo sessions outside Avengers Headquarters, where Stark showcases his new Mark 80 Iron Man armor.
"This is going to be the largest assembly of these heroes anyplace, anytime, anywhere," Dan Fields, Executive Creative Director, Disney Parks Live Entertainment, said during an Avengers Campus preview attended by ComicBook.com. "We really have a place for them to live and work and place and protect and train. Avengers Campus is literally going to be teeming with heroes. It's a hero-rich environment."
Heroic Encounters, atmosphere shows and roaming experiences make it possible for recruits to spend time with their favorite Marvel superheroes.
Parkgoers will also witness Black Widow, Black Panther or Captain America spring into action against Taskmaster, a villainous newcomer to Disney parks inspired by his appearance in Marvel Studios' Black Widow.
Like the Marvel comic books or the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers Campus is populated with heroes — and villains — who will intersect and interact daily.
"It is definitely the talking point. I've brought it up with Kevin [Feige, Marvel Studios President and Marvel Chief Creative Officer] multiple times that I really think the secret sauce of Avengers Campus will be the characters," said Dave Bushore, Vice President, Franchise Creative & Marketing, Marvel Studios. "That's the strength that Marvel gives the characters, of course, but it's a living, breathing place. I think the more the better."
Spider-Man will perform amazing acrobatic feats high above the WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure attraction before swinging down to meet new recruits, who might spot Captain Marvel or other Avengers performing a ride along when Captain America takes a tour of duty throughout Avengers Campus.
"It's alive. Then Spider-Man swings overhead and it is the world outside your window, but you're living in it yourself," Bushore said. "To say more is more, of course. But it always comes with the challenges of, where do we put that character authentically? How do we bring them to life in a way that isn't disingenuous to just putting the character in there?"
For inspiration, Marvel and Walt Disney Imagineering creatives behind Disney Parks magic for The Walt Disney Company "dug through the last ten years of films," starting with Marvel Studios' first feature, 2008's Iron Man.
"I watched Iron Man in the theaters. When Nick Fury came out, I'm sitting with my buddies, and they're like, 'Who's that?' I'm like, 'What are you talking about?' Those are the types of things you want to able to do," Bushore said. "We want people to walk into the land and have that Nick Fury moment. Like, 'Who's that?' 'It's Nick Fury.' It's always happening and alive. We did that. We were in the creative meetings about, what are the things we can bring to life and how much we can dig through?"
"We talked about this from a design perspective, getting to work directly with Ryan Meinerding, who is the Visual Development Lead for Marvel Studios, to develop an iconic suit that's evergreen, that will stay kind of pure to who Spider-Man is for years and years," said Scot Drake, Portfolio Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. "This is something that is huge for us in the parks and we're going to see that not only flying through the air, we're going to get to meet him."
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Making their first appearance at the Disneyland Resort are superhero partners Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne, better known as Ant-Man and Wasp.
Black Widow is one of the superheroes who will take on formidable foe Taskmaster atop the ramparts of Avengers Headquarters in a live show developed with a stunt coordinator who worked on Marvel Studios' Black Widow feature film.
"Captain America will be taking some tours of duty throughout Avengers Campus, either on foot or on the Avengers ground vehicle," Fields said. "We'll probably get some ride alongs from some other heroes, like Captain Marvel."
Black Panther and the Dora Milaje
"In the very center of Avengers Campus, you will be invited to join in a very special training session with Okoye, who will be making her debut in the Avengers Campus," Fields said. "And some of her colleagues, the Dora Milaje, who are the elite fighting guards from Wakanda."
"We're looking forward to our guests participating, learning from the wisdom, as well as the strength of these characters," Fields added.
The cosmic-powered Captain Marvel is among the many superheroes recruits might encounter during their visit to Avengers Campus.
Doctor Strange will be based at the overgrown ruins of an outdoor area called The Sanctum, where the sorcerer will teach recruits the secrets of the mystic arts. Recruits will witness Doctor Strange bring The Sanctum to life with powerful spells, which cause The Sanctum to vividly glow with majestic colors and lights as it pulsates with mystic energy at night.
"The Master of Mystic Arts can be found here, showing willing recruits illusion, and sorcery, and mysterious relics," Fields said.
Thor and Loki
"Thor will be roaming throughout Avengers Campus, looking with his hammer Mjolnir to find out if there are recruits who might be worthy of holding or lifting the hammer," Fields said. "Of course, his mischievous brother, Loki, is probably lurking around somewhere. We're not sure if Loki is here to help the Avengers, or maybe he's got some ideas of his own. He's always looking to take control of something."
The Guardians of the Galaxy
Star-Lord, Gamora and Groot, stars of Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!, a rock-and-roll dance party outside Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction, will mingle with their Earth-based counterparts in Avengers Campus.
"So you see these guys around, Star-Lord and Gamora. They're going to be out there," Fields said. "They really need you to help them by showing off your best moves in the Awesome Dance Off! And you'll also be able to come face to face with Groot, the legendary Guardian of the Galaxy."
Iron Man will meet and pose for pictures with recruits at his designated Heroic Encounter location outside Avengers Headquarters, wearing his Disney park exclusive Mark 80 armor.
"Iron Man is a living, breathing owner of this place. Like any other hero that you're going to find there," Fields told ComicBook.com. "Iron Man, we dedicated a spot for him right in front of the headquarters just because he knows all the secrets and some factors of the headquarters."
The armored Avenger has a "free range of motions, and his ability to have an actual conversation with you is as real as it gets," Fields said.
Avengers Campus opens this summer inside Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort. Purchase tickets.
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