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Between movie delays, season premieres, merchandise leaks, and more, The Direct Podcast is loaded this week with everything you need to know about the universes you love.

What If..? is here and Marvel Studios' first animated series has given fans a sneak peek into the vast multiverse. Episode one features Peggy Carter becoming the first Avenger in a re-telling of the classic Captain America story. What were the highs and lows of the first episode? What is to be expected moving forward in the MCU's first animated series? We break everything down in our What If..? review.

The biggest news of the week is another delay for Venom: Let There Be Carnage from September 24 to October 15. With concerns rising about the COVID-19 Delta Variant and shaky box office returns from comic book movies this year, Sony Pictures is giving their Tom Hardy sequel another few weeks to get as much as they can out of the theatrical release. What does this mean for the rest of the 2021 slate? Is Spider-Man: No Way Home in danger of delay?

On the flip side of that coin, Disney CEO Bob Chapek re-confirmed that Shang-Chi will continue as planned with a 45-day theatrical release on September 3. This will be an "interesting experiment" for Disney as they test the waters of theatrical releases among the fluid COVID-19 situation.

A great equalizer in these decisions is the Box Office. After The Suicide Squad underperformed early expectations in the books, what is the future of Box Office in the year 2021? We sit down with our Box Office correspondent David Thompson to navigate these uncharted waters.

All of that plus your top news, a Direct Discourse about world-building, and more on this week's The Direct Podcast.

TIMECODES

3:33 - Quick Question

8:41 - Sizzle Reel

10:57 - Venom 2 Delayed, Shang-Chi Stays

17:27 - New Spider-Man: No Way Home Merch

25:15 - The Suicide Squad's Box Office (w/ David Thompson)

37:50 - What If...? Ep1 Review

1:10:27 - The Direct Discourse: How Do Fans Value Projects? (w/ David Thompson)

1:39:45 - Weekly Recs

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