After the successful Infinity Saga, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in an age of expansion in Phase 4, introducing new heroes and villains into the mix while also showcasing animated projects. What If...? served as the first foray of the studio into the realm of animation, telling a plethora of alternate universe stories featuring beloved MCU characters that ultimately led to a crossover.
The studio's exploration of the format in What If...? has been confirmed to be the first of many, with a lead executive from the studio teasing that more animated projects are on the way. In addition, Marvel Studios veteran executive Victoria Alonso, who has since been promoted to president of physical and post-production, visual effects, and animation production, also confirmed that the studio is "going to have (its) animation branch and mini studio", noting that "there will be more to come" from this new Marvel branch as well.
Ultimately, Disney+ Day 2021 revealed several new animated projects, namely X-Men 97, Marvel Zombies, and Spider-Man: Freshman Year. Now, it has been confirmed that more details about the animated branch of the MCU will be revealed at this year's San Diego Comic-Con.
Marvel Studios Highlights Animation in Key SDCC Panel
An official listing from San Diego Comic-Con's website revealed that Marvel Studios will have a dedicated panel for its animated projects on Friday, July 22, from 11:45 AM PT - 1:15 PM PT at Ballroom 20. This will be in addition to Marvel Studios' anticipated Saturday night panel expected to showcase upcoming live-action MCU movies and shows.
The 90-minute panel will be headlined by Marvel Studios head of streaming, television, and animation Brad Winderbaum, head of visual development Ryan Meinerding, and other special guests. The presentation is set to "dive into all things animation" while also unveiling exclusive looks at X-Men 97, Marvel Zombies, What If...? Season 2, and more.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige already confirmed that they will have a presence at the pop culture event, teasing that they will "talk about the future" of the MCU.
"Yeah, we'll be at Comic-Con next month, which we're excited about. The first time since we were on stage there [since] three years ago talking about this movie and many others. And now, I think almost everything we discussed three years ago has now been released. So yes, we're excited to go and talk about the future."
Predicting Marvel Studios' Animated Surprises at SDCC
Marvel Studios is going all-in with its animated branch. The fact that the studio will have a 90-minute panel essentially means that new footage and concept art will be unveiled alongside confirmed release dates for some of the shows.
Given that I Am Groot is set to premiere this August, there's a strong chance that its trailer will debut during the panel. The release date for What If...? Season 2 combined with a new teaser trailer could also be in the cards, giving fans what to expect in the next Multiverse-filled animated chapter.
Official first looks at Marvel Zombies and X-Men 97 are also expected to be featured. The absence of Spider-Man: Freshman Year in the official description could hint that the web-slinging show will not be part of the presentation, but there may be an update even if there's no trailer shown.
So far, the MCU's animated shows have taken place on different Earths, and not on Earth-616. It's possible that this panel will address their place in the MCU canon, and the executives could even reveal that one of the upcoming projects takes place on Earth-616.