Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe there was Iron Man, which became a bigger hit than anyone could have anticipated for such a widely unknown character. Naturally, Marvel Entertainment sought to capitalize on that momentum and commissioned the creation of an animated series; only the second after 1994’s Iron Man, although the character has appeared in other shows. Developed by Alexandre de La Patelliére, Craig Kyle, Romain van Liemt and Christopher Yost, Iron Man: Armored Adventures was a French co-production that followed a teenaged Tony Stark (Adrian Petriw). Unlike the comics and film, Tony was injured in a plane crash that seemingly killed his father, Howard (Fred Henderson). He was saved by his Iron Man armor which he used to investigate Obadiah Stane’s (Mackenzie Gray) possible involvement in the crash. That leads him into superheroics with the aid of his best friend, James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Daniel Bacon), and a girl he meets at his new school, Pepper Potts (Anna Cummer). They eventually get their own armor and become War Machine and Rescue, respectively.
Tony, Pepper and Rhodey in their armors.
Iron Man: Armored Adventures debuted on Nicktoons on April 24, 2009, breaking the network’s record of the highest-rated original series. The CGI-animated series ran for two seasons, with Yost serving as head writer for the first and Brandon Auman assuming the role for season 2. The series loosely adapted several storylines from the comics, making changes to account for the characters’ reduced ages and integrating elements introduced in the Iron Man films and blossoming MCU; such as Tony’s armor resembling the film version and even changing his chest beam from round to triangular as in Iron Man 2. Unlike the MCU, the series was able to incorporate characters licensed at the time to other studios; such as Fantastic Four villain Doctor Doom (Christopher Britton) and X-Men villain Magneto (Ron Halder), both with 20th Century Fox (which later became a part of Disney). The series’ theme was written by Robert Schwartzman and recorded by his band, Rooney.
Kids on a mission, even without their armor.
A third season was planned, but following Disney’s acquisition of Marvel the series was quietly and informally cancelled in favor of moving the character over to a show that brought him more in line with the MCU. However, instead of a solo effort, that ended up being Avengers Assemble which replaced Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on Disney XD. The month following the final episode, Armored Adventures began airing on The CW’s Vortexx Saturday morning programming block until that December. The entire series was made available to stream on Disney+ in 2020.
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