In 2021, Marvel Studios brought its first fully-animated outing with the release of What If..?, delivering a thrilling round of alternate universe stories featuring the voice talents of nearly every on-screen actor in MCU history. This became the first of a number of animated outings set to arrive on Disney+ over the next few years, although a recent report may put those releases in danger.
Insider KC Walsh shared on Twitter that Marvel Studios Animation is dealing with a number of internal layoffs and that Marvel Studios won't green-light new seasons of animated shows without seeing positive results from those already in the works. This is largely due to the fact that animated shows take such a long time to develop, but that means that the MCU's new venture into animated storytelling could be over before it truly gets off the ground.
With those rumors in mind, here are five animated Disney+ that may be in danger of cancellation in lieu of these layoffs and cutbacks.
What If...? Season 3
What If...? Season 2 is already deep into development ahead of its release next year, set to feature new stories with characters like Captain Carter, Melina Vostokoff, and the Scarlet Witch. Marvel also announced at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) that development is already underway for Season 3, but there are no signs pointing to when it would debut on Disney+.
Season 3 will at least have a new writer developing the series, as A.C. Bradley confirmed she would be leaving her position after Season 2. But with so much time until these new episodes would likely come to Disney+, there's no way to confirm whether the series is truly safe from being canned after the news regarding Marvel Studios Animation.
What If...? Season 2 was announced to premiere on Disney+ in early 2023.
Marvel Studios confirmed that Episode 5 of What If...? Season 1 would spin off into its own full series, Marvel Zombies, which was first teased for fans at SDCC 2022. Following its initial announcement during Disney+ Day 2021, viewers have more than a dozen classic Marvel characters to look forward to seeing in this alternate universe, both as zombies and zombie hunters alike.
The first season of Marvel Zombies is already well into development, although it won't hit Disney+ for more than a year. There are no set plans for this scary series to continue into a second season, but with it confirmed to be the MCU's first-ever mature-rated show, fans are already hoping that the studio will continue building this more adult-oriented project.
Marvel Zombies is currently set to arrive on Disney+ sometime in 2024.
Spider-Man: Sophomore Year
Ahead of Spider-Man: Freshman Year making its debut on Disney+, Marvel confirmed that a second season was already in development for the web-slinger in this alternate universe storyline. This will be a different version of Spider-Man than the one seen in What If...?, bringing nearly a dozen of his iconic villains into the animated sphere; although there may not be more than one season for wall-crawling entry.
Although Spider-Man: Sophomore Year was announced at Comic-Con, the entire crew will be made up of different creatives than the ones that made its first season, potentially putting it in danger of being canceled. And with Freshman Year still more than 12 months from its arrival at the very least, this new season surely looks like the one that's most firmly on the chopping block.
Spider-Man: Freshman Year will premiere on Disney+ in 2024.
X-Men '97 is the most unique entry on this list, coming in as a direct continuation of the original X-Men: The Animated Series from the 1990s. Series writer Beau DeMayo shared how much passion he has for the story and how hard he's working to bring it to life, making it the first X-Men-centric project of any kind to debut under the Marvel Studios umbrella.
Although Season 1 is less than a year away from its arrival, no plans have been confirmed yet for a second season, even with many longtime fans thrilled to see the animated mutants returning. And with these new issues popping up behind the scenes, there's a real danger that this reboot could potentially only last for one 10-episode run.
X-Men '97 is set to premiere on Disney+ in Fall 2023.
Brian Kesinger's Unnamed Series
In September 2022, Disney animator Brian Kesinger announced that he had signed with Marvel to direct an undisclosed animated series with Marvel Studios this fall. He's best known for his work on Disney movies like Big Hero 6 and Zootopia, allowing for a smooth transition within Disney to the Marvel side of the equation.
While that announcement came straight from Kesinger himself some time ago, there have been no updates on the specific project he's working on or when it will go into development. If fans don't hear anything on this entry soon, there's reason to believe that it may be one that's left on the drawing board as Marvel makes drastic cuts to its animated department.
Marvel Studios certainly took a bold and unexpected step by moving into animated storytelling during Phase 4 of the MCU, although things aren't looking as promising as they once did due to this rumor about layoffs and other hard calls regarding development. Whether that changes as the franchise continues to grow is still a mystery, but the hope is that fans who love these entries get the opportunity to enjoy new content releases at the same rate as the studio's live-action counterpart.