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Marvin the Martian

Marvin the Martian (or Marvin Martian) is a fictional character appearing in the Looney Tunes cartoons. Despite appearing in only five of the original shorts, Marvin has developed a cult following. Marvin's likeness appears in miniature on both the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars.

Conception and creation

Animation director Chuck Jones noted Bugs Bunny soon learned to outwit Yosemite Sam (the creation of the senior director, Friz Freleng), so he 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 made his debut in 1948's Haredevil Hare.

Marvin was never named in the original shorts (though he was called Commander X-2 in The Hasty Hare in 1952), but decades later when the character attracted merchandising interest, the current name was selected.

Actor portrayal

In his first appearance Mel Blanc gave him a stuffy, nasal voice, but later the Martian adopted an accent resembling Received Pronunciation. Marvin was voiced in recent years by Joe Alaskey, Bob Bergen, and Eric Goldberg. Other cartoon actors, like Dan Castellaneta, provide the character's voice if it is a cameo appearance or parody of the character.

History

See List of appearances

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 (1957), being candy-sized "Instant Martians" that become full-size on addition of drops of water).

Marvin wears a Roman soldier's uniform (a reference to Mars being the Roman god of war) with old-fashioned basketball shoes. His head is a black sphere with only eyes for features (closely resembling blackface characters of earlier cartoons). The crest of his helmet appears, with the "push broom" like upper section, to "comically" resemble an ancient Greek Hoplite'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 is given a timid, nasal voice. The helmet and skirt that surround him are green and his skin is red to represent his Martian race or heritage. He is also known for his trademark quotes "Where is the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom!" and "This makes me so angry, very angry indeed."

On numerous occasions Marvin has tried to destroy the Earth (it obstructs his view of Venus) with his "Illudium Pu-36 Explosive Space Modulator"(sometimes spelled as "Eludium Pu-36"), which resembles a mere stick of dynamite (The original reference to "Uranium Q-36" changed to "Illudium Pu-36 " in subsequent cartoons Marvin is consistently foiled by Bugs Bunny. He has battled for space territory with Daffy Duck, a.k.a. Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century.

He appeared in two animated shows on Cartoon Network — as a toddler in Baby Looney Tunes, and as a primary villain in the Duck Dodgers television series. In the latter, he works for the Martian Queen, Queen Tyr'ahnee, whom he has a crush on. The latter reuses 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). Over a decade prior to that, he guest-starred in a Tiny Toon Adventures segment titled "Duck Dodgers Jr.", where he was accompanied by an apprentice named Marcia the Martian. He was also in a Taz-Mania episode and did a cameo in The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries ("What's the Frequency, Kitty?"). Marvin has also appeared in a number of video games. He served as the main antagonist in both the Mega Drive/Genesis game Taz-Mania 2: Escape From Mars and the Super Nintendo game Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions. He also appeared in Bugs Bunny Lost in Time for Sony Playstation where he was the boss of Dimension X, and in Road Runner's Death Valley Rally for Super Nintendo, where he was a common enemy in the Quantum Beep stages. He also made a brief cameo in the 2003-2007 CN Fridays intro.

Marvin was also cast as the referee in Space Jam, and then later had a major villainous role in Looney Tunes: Back in Action where he was hired by the ACME chairman, Mr. 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 foiled 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. He played 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. However, Daffy would not let him take Christmas off, and demanded he and the other Lucky Duck employees work on Christmas Day. After being visited by the Christmas ghosts, Daffy changes his ways, and 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 able to survive over centuries, since he mentions doing over a thousand years of research to create the Illudium Q-36 Space Modulator, and he is seen in Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century.

Melvin the Martian

Loonatics Unleashed revealed that Marvin has a descendant called Melvin the Martian who, like him, is an Officer in the Martian army (In this case though he is only a General and not a Commander) and possesses a dog called Sargeant Sirius who acts as his second. He also dresses similarly and uses Uranium Q-36 Explosive Modulators and Marvin's trademark quotes on at least 1 occasion each. However Melvin is portrayed as a more mild version of his ancestor in that he only threatened to attack Acmetropolis because of the accidental attack on his space station, he was willing to take Lexi only and if not only shrink Acmetropolis not destroy it. And in the end he only blew up Acmetropolis in fury at being foiled. He also showed a playful childlike side in his enjoyment of playing games e.g boardgames and puzzle games. His motives were very different in that he wanted compensation for a damaging attack and Marvin simply wanted Earth out of the way because it was blocking his view and would admit so casually.

Other media

Marvin the Martian appears in the South Park episode Imaginationland Episode III. Here he marches along myriad other evil fictional characters to battle against the surviving good characters. This version of him has a mouth filled with teeth. There are two other Looney Tunes "villains" in the evil character army as well: An evil eyed Gossamer and a possibly rabid Wile E. Coyote.

Marvin the Martian 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" (where he is waiting to have sex with Foxxy Love). He also appears in the FBI lineup in "The Springfield Files," an episode of The Simpsons.

Marvin the Martian appears in a background shot during the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind which is shown on a television in lead character Roy Neary's living room. The segment 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."

Future film

On July 29, 2008, Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment announced a live action/computer animated film starring Marvin. The film involves Marvin intending to destroy Earth during Christmas, but he is prevented when he is wrapped inside a gift box. Alcon compared the project to their other films such as Racing Stripes and My Dog Skip.

References

External links

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