Disney is expanding its lucrative comic book universe with a shift from live-action to animation with its first animated Marvel movie, "Big Hero 6."
"Big Hero 6" is based on the comic book series created in 1998 by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau that chronicles the adventures of a Japanese government-sanctioned team of superheroes. The story mostly centers on Hiro Takachiho, a 13-year-old tech genius and reluctant new member of the team, and his synthetic bodyguard/sidekick, Baymax.
Another member of Big Hero 6 is Kenuichio Harada, aka Silver Samurai, who has the power to charge any object (except adamantium) with mutant energy. He was originally one of Wolverine's arch-enemies and can be spotted in the CinemaCon trailer for "The Wolverine" as well as on his own character poster. However, as Silver Samurai is appearing in a Marvel property owned by Fox, it's highly likely that he won't be appearing in Disney's "Big Hero 6."
"Big Hero 6" isn't the most well-known Marvel title, but that obscurity is exactly what attracted director Don Hall, who directed Disney's 2011 big-screen animated adaptation of "Winnie the Pooh."
"I was looking for something on the obscure side, something that would mesh well with what we do," Hall said in an interview with Hero Complex. "The idea of a kid and a robot story with a strong brother element, it's very Disney."
The title's obscurity also allows Hall to re-interpret and revise certain elements of the comic, one of the most notable being shifting the action from Tokyo to "San Fransokyo," a uniquely stylized and high-tech cityscape that meshes elements of both San Francisco and Tokyo. The city is on display in a piece of concept art and first-look footage.
Having a story take place in a fictional city is a new element to the Marvel movie universe, as all of the live-action films have taken place in real-life locales such as New York City, Malibu and -- most recently in "Iron Man 3" -- small-town Tennessee.
"Marvel properties take place in the real world," Hall said. "We were looking for something to do where we could make our own world -- bring in the Japanese influences, have recognizable landmarks mashed up with a Japanese aesthetic."
"Big Hero 6" will hit theaters on November 7, 2014, making for a good Marvel fix between "Guardians of the Galaxy" (August 1, 2014) and "Marvel's The Avengers 2" (May 1, 2015).
Check out the test footage: