Due to the release of new information related to this article, its title and News section has been updated.
Despite the coronavirus halting production for the majority of Marvel Studios' projects, work on the upcoming animated series What If...? was able to continue remotely, according to head animator Stephan Franck:
"I normally split my day between my home studio and the Disney lot for dailies and reviews, but now we’re just doing it all remotely...From what I hear across town, animation has been able to keep the shows in production with everyone safely working from home. Kudos to the studios for pivoting so fast to remote work."
UPDATE: ComicBook has reached out to Squeeze Studio, one of the animation companies behind Marvel Studios' What If...?, and has confirmed that the studio is not utilizing motion capture technology for the series. Squeeze Studios' motion capture work that was mentioned in Variety's initial report was in reference to a different project that the Canada-based company is developing.
Squeeze Studio Animation, based in Canada, are preparing to record motion capture for a project beginning in June. CEO Denis Doré said that “There’s a lot to take into consideration, but everybody is really anxious to start shooting again,” likely referring to the discussions he and other studios had with the Canadian government about safety conditions for reopening their facilities to cast and staff.
These conditions would include additional protective gear for performers and a limit of only 10 people on the motion capture facility set at a time.
WHAT THIS MEANS
Despite What If...? being announced last year in April and even having several clips and scenes animated when it was shown off at the D23 Expo in August, Variety is reporting that this will be the studios' "first motion-capture shoot," which is a bit odd. But, upon further research, Squeeze will only be animating five of the episodes of the series. Additionally, the studio was only recently hired to work on the series in March of this year.
Additionally, the earlier news of production continuing remotely was pertaining to Walt Disney Studios' work in California. So, it could be the case that Squeeze is still in early production for their episodes, but could very well be for later episodes or even the second season, since 20 were ordered in total with each season containing 10 episodes each.