Last summer, the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe looked bright, with new movies and Disney+ shows slated to keep us entertained well into 2021. The coronavirus has halted productions around the world, forcing Disney to push back the entire MCU Phase Four schedule, but there's one exciting Marvel show that could survive the pandemic entirely unscathed and maybe even arrive early as a result.
What If...?, the first animated series from the MCU, is set to premiere on Disney+ in Summer 2021. The series stars Jeffrey Wright as the Watcher, narrating a series of alternate-reality one-offs exploring what would happen if the Marvel universe was just a little bit different. Episodes will explore what would have happened if Peggy Carter took the Super Soldier Serum instead, or if a fictional virus turned the Avengers into zombies. It will also feature voice acting from popular MCU actors.
That's all we know for now, but in a recent interview with Newsarama, What If's head of animation Stephan Franck revealed that work on the series is moving along rapidly despite the coronavirus pandemic.
"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," Franck said. "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."
Franck added that while plenty of live-action productions are struggling to stay on schedule, animation offers a bright spot in the industry
"It all happened literally within days," he said. "Unfortunately I’m also hearing about some projects in development or with more distant release dates being put on hiatus, but a fair number of people in animation are still at work from the safety of their home, which we are all grateful for."
Franck is perhaps best known for his work as supervising animator on The Iron Giant. He also worked on Despicable Me,
Production may be progressing on What If, but we probably shouldn't expect an early release for the Disney+ show. After all, cartoons take a long time to product (just ask any Rick and Morty fan what it's like waiting for each new season). That said, it's nice to hear that at least one piece of the Marvel Phase Four puzzle hasn't been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
As far as we know, What If... will still premiere next summer, but maybe, if we're lucky, Marvel will move this one up to make up for other Phase Four delays.