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Marvel's Falcon can fly - so why does he need a super-car? Inside '90s Marvel corporate offices

Why does a flying superhero need a car? And what would Spider-Man do with a motorcycle?

Falcon from Avengers: United They Stand
Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

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If you had the ability to fly, wouldn’t a car slow you down?

According to some animation executives, absolutely not. In fact, the executives behind the 1999 animated series The Avengers: United They Stand thought it was essential for the Falcon to have his own car.

Yes, the Falcon. The Marvel hero with wings attached to his costume.

During the ‘90s Fox Kids was riding high with their Marvel cartoons. X-Men and Spider-Man were ratings hits, so the children’s programming block decided another Marvel cartoon would be a guaranteed hit. If you’ve ever seen Avengers: United They Stand, then you know that wasn’t the case. The series was criticized for it’s weird character designs, and most of the episodes felt like long toy commercials.

Robert N. Skir is an animation writer who helped develop the cartoon for Fox Kids. During WonderCon 2024, Skir participated in a panel for animation writers, and he had some interesting stories. “I was told when I was developing Avengers that the Falcon had to have a car,” Skir said. “Unless it’s a convertible and you can have him launch himself out of there, there’s no reason.”

Henry Gilroy, another animation writer on the panel, had a similar story. “For Ultimate Spider-Man episode 3, we had to write in Spider-Man having a motorcycle. He can swing from buildings, why does he need a motorcycle,” Gilroy said.

“Was it like a Spider-Cycle,” Skir asked. “It was like a dirt bike and it had webs come out of it, so it could actually ride on stuff,” Gilroy replied.

Skir reminded the panel that Peter Parker had his own motorcycle during college. However, that didn’t mean it made sense of Spider-Man to have one. “I can see where Peter Parker would have a motorcycle but not Spider-Man,” Skir said.

Why would animation executives want these weird changes? Simple – to sell toys. Craig Miller, another animation writer, broke down the weird power dynamic between the creatives and the toy companies.

“Toy companies are weird. If you’re working on an IP that comes from a toy company, they not only have toys, but the toy company is frequently the one paying for the show. That’s why ratings don’t matter. If toys are selling, the show continues. If toys aren’t selling, it doesn’t matter how many people are watching, the show gets cancelled,” Miller said.

It’s important to remember that Toy Biz merged with Marvel in the ‘90s. Is it any wonder why Avengers: United They Stand felt like a toy commercial? If you ever see a superhero with an accessory that makes no sense, just know that the writers did everything they could to stop it. Sometimes toy companies are more powerful than Thanos.