Marvin the Martian
|Marvin the Martian|
|Looney Tunes character|
|First appearance||Haredevil Hare (1948)|
|Created by||Chuck Jones|
Marvin the Martian is an extraterrestrial character from Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. He frequently appears as a villain in cartoons and video games, and wears a helmet and skirt. The character has been voiced by Mel Blanc, Joe Alaskey, Bob Bergen and Eric Bauza, among others.
Conception and creation
Marvin's design was based on the Hoplite style of armor usually worn by 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 referred to as the Commander of Flying Saucer X-2 in The Hasty Hare in 1952, and sometimes referred to as "Antwerp" in promotional material or other projects like the live stage show version of Bugs Bunny in Space. However, in 1979, once the character attracted merchandising interest, the name "Marvin" was selected for The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie.
Marvin appeared in five theatrical cartoons from 1948 to 1963:
- Haredevil Hare (1948)
- The Hasty Hare (1952)
- Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century (1953)
- Hare-Way to the Stars (1958)
- Mad as a Mars Hare (1963)
- Mel Blanc (1948–1989)
- Rob Sherwood (The Further Adventures of Marvin the Martian)
- Joe Alaskey (Tiny Toon Adventures, Bugs Bunny's Lunar Tunes, Another Froggy Evening, Marvin the Martian In the Third Dimension, Bugs & Friends Sing Elvis, The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries, Tweety's High-Flying Adventure, Mysterious Phenomena of the Unexplained, Duck Dodgers, Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas, various video games and commercials)
- Rob Paulsen (Taz-Mania)
- Neil Ross (Nike commercial, Six Flags Great Adventure commercial, Six Flags AstroWorld commercial, Pinky and the Brain)
- Maurice LaMarche (Animaniacs)
- Greg Burson (Bugs Bunny: Rabbit Rampage, Acme Animation Factory, The Bugs Bunny Wacky World Games, Looney Tunes B-Ball)
- Keith Scott (Tazos Looney Tunes commercial, Westfield commercial, Looney Tunes: What's Up Rock?!, Looney Tunes LIVE! Classroom Capers, The Looney Tunes Radio Show, Looney Rock, Looney Tunes Christmas Carols)
- Bob Bergen (Space Jam, Rover Finds Life On Mars)
- Eric Goldberg (Superior Duck, Looney Tunes: Back in Action)
- Harry Shearer (The Simpsons)
- Jeff Bergman (Pride of the Martians)
- Samuel Vincent (Baby Looney Tunes)
- Billy West (A Looney Tunes Sing-A-Long Christmas)
- James Arnold Taylor (Drawn Together)
- Eric Bauza (The Looney Tunes Show, Looney Tunes Dash, Nike commercial, New Looney Tunes, Converse commercials, Ani-Mayhem, Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem, Walmart commercial, Looney Tunes Cartoons, Bugs Bunny in The Golden Carrot, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Bugs & Daffy's Thanksgiving Road Trip)
- Damon Jones (singing voice in The Looney Tunes Show, speaking voice in Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run)
- Kevin Shinick (Mad)
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. The helmet and skirt that he wears are green and his suit is red (in a few of the original shorts, his suit was green and the helmet and skirt golden). 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 the helm of an ancient Greek hoplite, or the galea of a Roman centurion. The appearance of the combination of Marvin's head and helmet led to Bugs Bunny referring to him as a "bowling ball wearing a spittoon" in one short. Marvin speaks with a soft, nasally voice, and often speaks technobabble. 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." (which is usually followed by him huffing and puffing)
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"). The original reference to "Uranium Pu-36" changed to "Illudium PU-36" in subsequent cartoons. The "Pu" is a reference to plutonium. Marvin always laboriously over-pronounces the name of the device, which resembles a 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. 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.
- In Baby Looney Tunes, Baby Marvin shares a lot of similarities with his adult counterpart. His helmet, however, sports a propeller rather than a push-broom. Also, his shoes are smaller in proportion. He appears in the episode entitled War of the Weirds as a visitor to Granny's house. Throughout most of the episode, he is nonverbal as he is too shy to talk to the babies; he fidgets and mumbles when Baby Bugs and Baby Taz try to talk to him. He tries to make friends, but he is shunned and ridiculed by the babies (except for Baby Taz) for being "weird". The babies still shun and play tricks on him, until he cries. Baby Taz courageously befriends him and speaks on his behalf. He fixes Baby Bugs' broken toy rocket and is able to talk when Baby Bugs offered to play his toy. The babies feel guilty for being unfriendly and they eventually befriend him. He is mainly featured in the song Oh Where Has My Martian Gone? (based on the children's song "Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?"), and made appearances in a few other music videos.
- In Duck Dodgers, he is a Martian commander in service of 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 "Merrie Melodies" 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 Fantastic Plastic 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 24½th Century" and "Rocket-Bye Baby".
Marvin has also appeared in a number of video games. He served as the main antagonist in the Genesis video games Taz in Escape from Mars and Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble, the Super NES game Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions, and the Game Boy Color game Looney Tunes Collector: Alert!. He also appeared in Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time for the PlayStation where he was the boss of Dimension X, and in the final level of Sheep, Dog, 'n' Wolf. He is also a recurring enemy in the Quantum Beep stages of Road Runner's Death Valley Rally for Super NES. He also was an enemy in Looney Tunes: Back in Action. He is also a playable character in Looney Tunes: Space Race, Looney Tunes: Marvin Strikes Back! 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 role in Looney Tunes: Back in Action where he was hired by the ACME 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).
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.
Marvin is the main antagonist in Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run.
In nearly all of his appearances, Marvin is shown using a small pistol that fires either bubbles of pliable plastic or energy beams, and he is seen in Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century, with Gossamer, a hairy red monster, as his assistant.
Marvin is a minor character in Space Jam: A New Legacy, voiced by Eric Bauza, where he appears alongside K-9 after Bugs claims Tune World in the name of the Earth. Marvin arrives to claim Tune World in the name of Mars, though Bugs tricks him into thinking that Tune World is in the clear. Bugs hijacks Marvin's ship and retreats with LeBron James to find the other Tunes. A recurring gag is that Marvin gets knocked out by the hatch of his ship everytime he regains consciousness.
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 appears in two Drawn Together episodes: "Charlotte's Web of Lies", where he is seen in Ling-Ling's Anger Management group with Hulk, Skeletor, and Yosemite Sam; and "Toot Goes Bollywood".
- 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, Mixed Martian Arts.
- He appeared in 1993 Nike commercial as the antagonist who had stolen all of the Earth's supply of Michael Jordan Air Jordan sneakers, and both Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan defeat him and his instant Martians to reclaim the shoes.
- In a deleted scene on the Futurama episode "That Darn Katz!", Marvin is seen as a student in Mars University.
- An early cover art proposal for Big Black's 1986 Atomizer album, eventually discarded due to legal problems, included Marvin pointing a raygun at the Earth. 
- Marvin makes a cameo appearance in the 1988 feature film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, set in 1947, even though his first cartoon appearance was during the following year.
- Rapper Lil' Wayne references the characters at the beginning of his verse in the 2009 song "Forever" where he says, "Okay, hello it's the Martian, Space Jam Jordan's". He references the shoes Marvin wears in the 1996 film Space Jam, which also starred NBA player Michael Jordan.
- 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 Illudium PU-36 explosive space modulator is referenced in several songs, including T-Pain's "Time Machine," as well as Ludacris's "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.
- According to Steven Spielberg, he is waiting for George Lucas to admit that Marvin's design was the influence for Darth Vader from Lucas' Star Wars.
- 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 Stanford 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 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.
- Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio frequently wore a Marvin the Martian T-shirt onstage between 1993 and 1997.
- Marvin served as the mascot for the USCGC Hornbeam (WLB-394), a 180-foot United States Coast Guard buoy tender.
- Marvin appears as a player's avatar in Steven Spielberg's 2018 film Ready Player One.
- Marvin from Daddy Day Care (2003) frequently wears a Marvin the Martian T-shirt.
- Xenia Rubinos's 2013 Magic Trix album cover features a naked person sitting in a chair with Marvin's head overlying theirs. 
- In the 2016 video game Titanfall 2, there is a banner design titled "Where's the Kaboom?" that depicts a robot called MRVN (pronounced Marvin), whose color palette is changed to mirror Marvin's, wearing his signature helmet.
Cancelled film adaptation
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 accomplishing his goal 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
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- 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.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marvin the Martian.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Marvin the Martian|
- Marvin the Martian at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on February 15, 2016.
- 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
- All about Marvin the Martian on Chuck Jones' official website.