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Schwarzenegger didn’t have to think long, as he recalled in a phone interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“My ultimate dream is to do more Conan movies and more Terminator movies. The one movie I think would be a fantastic sequel is Kindergarten Cop,” he recalled telling Lee.
Schwarzenegger was referencing his 1990 action-comedy hit in which he played a police officer going undercover as a kindergarten teacher.
“He kind of looked at me and says, ‘I really enjoyed that movie. That was fantastic. I loved the way you played with those kids and your communication with the kids, the fun you had,” Schwarzenegger recalled Lee saying. “Then he was wandering off with his eyes and his wheels were spinning.”
Not long after, Lee called up the former governor and asked what he’d think about doing an animated series that shared some similarities to Kindergarten Cop, but with a twist — the teacher would be a former superhero, and his students would be superpowered five-year olds.
Lee died in November at age 95, but his idea is living on. The result is the upcoming animated series Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten.The series is aimed at children, and centers on Arnold Armstrong (Schwarzenegger), a gym teacher who was granted superpowers and spent decades fighting crime as Captain Courage. Five years before the story picks up, he had to expel his powers to win a final battle with his nemesis Dr. Superior. He retired from public life, but returns after an explosion of superpowered particles rained down and kids with superpowers began surfacing. Now he works as a kindergarten teacher to help train these children.
“I have to teach them about everything. Teach them about health and fitness. Teach them how to be inclusive, not to be a bully, how to set goals for themselves. How to use their powers for good, not for evil,” says Schwarzenegger.
The series was created by Lee and is written by Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza. It is a co-production between Genius Brands, Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment, and Schwarzenegger’s Oak Productions. Schwarzenegger serves as co-executive producer. Genius Brands’ Chairman and CEO Andy Heyward, serves as executive producer along with POW! Entertainment president Gil Champion. Paul Wachter, CEO of Main Street Advisors, is also executive producing.
“Stan loved and admired Arnold as not just an actor, but a true hero in so many ways and always envisioned Arnold for this role,” said Heyward in a statement, adding, “What will be particularly unique about this series is that there will be an animated cameo of Stan Lee appearing in each and every episode. Just as his millions of fans look forward to seeing him appear in each Marvel film, they will look forward to his presence in each episode of this cartoon.”
Said Champion in a statement, “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten was near and dear to his heart, working with one of his longtime collaborators Andy Heyward, as well as Arnold, and we look forward to continuing the partnership with Genius Brands to bring Stan’s vision for this new adventure series to life.”
Schwarzenegger confirmed that Lee had spoken to him over the years about potentially playing a Marvel character.
“We have talked many times about various different ideas,” says Schwarzenegger. “I’m so happy that this is the one that we really clicked and started creating a vision as I was speaking about. It was phenomenal to see his brain working.”
No release plans have been set for the series.