Marvin the Martian
|Marvin The Martian|
|First appearance||Haredevil Hare (July 24, 1948)|
|Created by||Chuck Jones|
|Significant other(s)||Maarla Martian|
Conception and creation
After Bugs Bunny had begun to outwit Yosemite Sam – the creation of the senior director, Friz Freleng – director Chuck Jones decided to create the opposite type of character, one who was quiet and soft-spoken, but whose actions were incredibly destructive and legitimately dangerous. Marvin the Martian was the result, and made his debut in 1948's Haredevil Hare. Unlike the other Warner Bros. cartoon villains, Marvin can be actually evil at most points, and not just daft; although, like the others, he is also funny. Marvin is the quietest of the Warner Bros villains, and the most soft-spoken, and unlike most of the other villains, he is very clever and competent in general.
Marvin's design was based on a conception of the Roman god Mars. "That was the uniform that Mars wore — that helmet and skirt. We thought putting it on this ant-like creature might be funny. But since he had no mouth, we had to convey that he was speaking totally through his movements. It demanded a kind of expressive body mechanics."
Marvin was never named in the original shorts – he was called the Commander of Flying Saucer X-2 in The Hasty Hare in 1952 – but decades later, when the character attracted merchandising interest, the current name was selected.
Voice actor portrayal
- Mel Blanc (1948–1986)
- Joe Alaskey (Tiny Toon Adventures, Bugs Bunny's Lunar Tunes, Another Froggy Evening, Marvin the Martian In the Third Dimension, Tweety's High-Flying Adventure, Duck Dodgers, Looney Tunes: Stranger than Fiction, Bah Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas, various video games)
- Rob Paulsen (Taz-Mania)
- Maurice LaMarche (Animaniacs)
- Eric Goldberg (Superior Duck, Looney Tunes: Back in Action)
- Bob Bergen (Space Jam)
- Neil Ross (Pinky and the Brain)
- Samuel Vincent (Baby Looney Tunes)
- Eric Bauza (The Looney Tunes Show, unfinished Marvin the Martian movie)
- Damon Jones (singing voice in The Looney Tunes Show)
Marvin hails from the planet Mars, but is often found elsewhere. He is often accompanied by his dog "K-9", and sometimes by other creatures (one gag, first used in Hare-Way to the Stars (1958), being candy-sized "Instant Martians" that become full-size on addition of drops of water).
Marvin wears a Roman soldier's uniform, with basketball shoes. The style of these shoes resembles the Chuck Taylor All-Stars brand name, considered to be the "generic" or "standard" basketball sneaker. His head is a black sphere with only eyes for features. The curved crest of his helmet appears, with the push-broom-like upper section, to comically resemble an ancient Greek hoplite's or a Roman Centurion's helmet. The appearance of the combination of Marvin's head and helmet allegedly led to Bugs Bunny thinking he was a "bowling ball wearing a spittoon" in one Looney Tunes animated short. Marvin speaks with a soft, nasally accent, and often speaks technobabble. The helmet and skirt that surround him are green and his suit is red (in a few of the original shorts, his suit was green). He is also known for his trademark quotes "Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom!", "Isn't that lovely?", and "This makes me very angry, very angry indeed."
On numerous occasions, Marvin has tried to destroy the Earth with his "Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator" (sometimes pronounced "Illudium Pu-36" or "Uranium Pu-36"). Marvin always laboriously over-pronounces the name of the device, which resembles a mere stick of dynamite, in order to avoid any possibility of confusing it with some other similar form of explosive technology. Marvin attempts to destroy the Earth because, he reasons, "it obstructs my view of Venus"; he has been trying to destroy the Earth for more than two millennia, suggesting that members of his species, and possibly martian creatures in general, have extremely long lifespans. The original reference to "Uranium Pu-36" changed to "Illudium PU-36" in subsequent cartoons. Marvin is consistently foiled by Bugs Bunny. He has battled for space territory, Planet X, with Daffy Duck, a.k.a. Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century.
He has appeared in three animated shows on Cartoon Network — as a 3 year old toddler in Baby Looney Tunes, as a primary villain in the Duck Dodgers television series, and most recently in The Looney Tunes Show.
- In "Baby Looney Tunes", he is shunned and ridiculed by the other babies (except for Taz) for being "weird", as he is too shy to speak to them. They eventually befriend him upon seeing how helpful he is, and later sing songs including "Oh Where Has My Marvin Gone?" (Based on the children's song Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?).
- In "Duck Dodgers", he works for the Martian Queen Tyr'ahnee. This show reused his original name from The Hasty Hare (although the opening credits list him as Marvin playing Commander X-2, in the same way as Daffy is playing Duck Dodgers).
- Marvin the Martian appears in The Looney Tunes Show episode "Reunion" and appeared in the short "I'm a Martian", voiced by Eric Bauza. Here, he is described as a former classmate of Daffy's who has been plotting to destroy Earth since graduation. The episode also has a flashback, in which it is revealed that the yellow headdress on the top of his helmet is actually his hair, showing that in high school (before he started wearing the helmet) he kept it down.
Marvin also made appearances on Animaniacs, notably in the Mindy and Buttons short subject, "Cat on a Hot Steel Beam" (which also featured the cute kitten Pussyfoot) and in "Star Warners", along with his dog K-9, and most recently in a MetLife commercial.
Cartoon Network also created a 2-minute filler piece featuring Marvin, entitled "Mars Forever" by the Plastic Fantastic Machine. It's a disco-style video combining clips of Marvin and Bugs Bunny from their encounters in "Haredevil Hare", "Hare-Way to the Stars", as well as bits of "Duck Dodgers in the 24th-and-a-half Century" and "Rocket-bye Baby".
Marvin has also appeared in a number of video games. He served as the main antagonist in the Mega Drive / Genesis game Taz in Escape from Mars the Super Nintendo game Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions, and the Game Boy game Looney Tunes: Marvin Strikes Back!. He also appeared in Bugs Bunny Lost in Time for PlayStation where he was the boss of Dimension X, and in the final level of Sheep, Dog, 'n' Wolf. He was a common enemy in the Quantum Beep stages of Road Runner's Death Valley Rally for Super Nintendo. He also was an enemy in Looney Tunes: Back in Action. He also is a playable character in Looney Tunes: Space Race and Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal. He also made a brief cameo in the 2003–2007 CN Fridays intro.
Marvin was also cast as the referee in Space Jam (though he did not stay to referee the whole game due to Bupkus beating him up), and then later had a major villainous role in Looney Tunes: Back in Action where he was hired by the ACME chairman, Mr. Luther J. Chairman (Steve Martin), to finish DJ (Brendan Fraser) and the gang at Area 52. In the film's climax, he reappears to bring the Blue Monkey diamond to the ACME satellite, but is thwarted by Bugs (who he duels in a parody of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jango Fett in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones) and Daffy (who arrives as Duck Dodgers to save Bugs after he is exhausted from the battle), resulting in Marvin trapped in a bubble floating through space.
Marvin appeared in the Looney Tunes version of A Christmas Carol, Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas as an employee at Daffy Duck's "Lucky Duck Super Store". Marvin was homesick for his planet, Mars, and wanted to go back for Christmas (but also mentions that he's planning to destroy the Earth as well). At first, Daffy doesn't let him take Christmas off, since he expects the employees to work on Christmas Day. After being visited by the abrasive yet well-intentioned Christmas ghosts, Daffy is redeemed, and as part of a surprise Christmas celebration, gives Marvin a rocket that will go faster than the speed of light, allowing him to make it to Mars by yesterday.
In nearly all of his appearances, Marvin is shown using a small pistol that fires either bubbles of pliable plastic or energy beams. He is also apparently immortal or long-lived, since he mentions doing over two thousand years of research to create the Illudium Q-36 Space Modulator, and he is seen in Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, with Gossamer, a hairy red monster, as his assistant.
In popular culture
- Marvin's likeness appears in miniature on the Spirit rover on Mars as well as on the mission launch patch.
- Marvin appears in the South Park episode "Imaginationland Episode III". Here, he marches among myriad other evil fictional characters to battle against the surviving good characters along with an evil-eyed Gossamer and a possibly rabid Wile E. Coyote. Marvin is also indirectly referenced in the name of Stan's grandfather, Marvin Marsh.
- Marvin appears in two Drawn Together episodes: "Toot Goes Bollywood" and "Charlotte's Web of Lies", where he is seen in Ling-Ling's Anger Management group with Hulk, Skeletor, and Yosemite Sam).
- He appears in the FBI lineup with other TV aliens in "The Springfield Files", an episode of The Simpsons, wearing a purple helmet and skirt. He also appears in the episode Love Is a Many-Splintered Thing where he was shown in a fighting video game.
- In a deleted scene on the Futurama episode "That Darn Katz!", Marvin is seen as a student in Mars University.
- Marvin makes a cameo appearance in the feature film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, set in 1947, even though his first cartoon appearance was during the following year.
- Marvin also makes a cameo appearance in episode 14 of the cartoon series Animaniacs when Buttons reaches the moon.
- Marvin appears in a background shot during the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, shown on a television in lead character Roy Neary's living room. The segment shown is from the feature cartoon, Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century.
- The Pu-36 explosive space modulator is referenced in several songs, including T-Pain's "Time Machine," as well as Ludacris' "Mouthing Off."
- In the pilot episode of the TV series Weird Science, Lisa comments that she would have a lot more power had Wyatt installed a "Neutronian space modulator" before her creation.
- NHL Buffalo Sabres Goalie Patrick Lalime's goaltender mask features Marvin the Martian on the front.
- In the Pinky and the Brain episode "Star Warners", Marvin was briefly shown on a date with Minerva Mink. K-9 is sleeping next to them.
- Marvin briefly appears in Diane Duane's 2010 novel A Wizard of Mars, when one of the main characters gets caught in a spell that brings their stereotypes of Mars into existence.
- Marvin appeared in a MAD News segment, letting his sink run water on Mars.
- Reach Records artist PRo referenced Marvin the Martian and the space modulator in his song "Mission to Mars" from His 2011 album "Dying to Live".
- In the Young Justice episode "Secrets," Miss Martian takes on the form of a gigantic Marvin the Martian to scare a teenager (coincidentally, also named Marvin) who is committing a War of the Worlds-style prank.
- During the University of Southern California-Stanford University football game, the Drum Major of the visiting Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band dressed as Marvin the Martian as a parody on the USC Spirit of Troy Trojan Marching Band's Drum major.
- In 2009 Bi-Mart Membership stores in Oregon sold University of Oregon vs. University of Southern California buttons featuring Marvin the Martian as the Trojan "Mascot."
- In a MetLife commercial that aired during the 2012 Super Bowl, Marvin made a cameo in the ad.
- In Peter David's 1991 Star Trek novel The Rift, the Calligarians have a device called the "The Illidium Pew-36 Explosive Space Modulator," a direct reference to Marvin's Earth-shattering device.
- A figurine of Marvin appears on the space shuttle in the film Gravity.
- Marvin appears in the 1995 film Clueless when Travis tells Tai that he wants to cover his skateboard with pictures of Marvin, and she says she can draw him.
On July 29, 2008, Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment announced plans for a live action/computer-animated film starring Mike Myers as the voice of Marvin and Christopher Lee as Santa Claus. The film would have involved Marvin trying to destroy the Earth during Christmas by becoming a competitor of Santa Claus' but being prevented from destroying the Earth when Santa wraps him inside a gift box. Alcon compared the project to other films such as Racing Stripes and My Dog Skip. It was initially scheduled for an October 7, 2011 release, but the movie was later taken off the schedule and no word on it has been heard since. Test footage of the film and the Eddie Murphy vehicle Hong Kong Phooey was leaked on December 28, 2012.
- Haredevil Hare
- The Hasty Hare
- Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century
- Hare-Way to the Stars
- Mad as a Mars Hare
- Marcia the Martian
- Looney Tunes 1: 1/1 (April 1, 1994), Canada: DC Comics
- Korkis, Jim. "The Return of Duck Dodgers". Outré 1 (7): 25.
- . Differences of opinion exist regarding the correct pronunciation; Chuck Jones rendered the modulator's name as Q-36 in print in Chuck Amuck : The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist (New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1989; ISBN 0-374-12348-9), p. 213.
- Adamson, Joe (1990). Bugs Bunny: 50 Years and Only One Grey Hare. Henry Holt. ISBN 0-8050-1855-7
- McNary, Dave (2008-07-29). "WB to develop 'Marvin the Martian'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
- "'Hong Kong Phooey' Movie Test Footage Revealed; 'Marvin The Martian' As Well (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. 2012-12-28. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marvin the Martian.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Marvin the Martian|
- Marvin's image on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers
- Marvin is on the US Air Force 490th Missile Squadron Lima Flight patch "Marvin's Marauders".
- Marvin the Martian audio clips on www.soundboard.com