THE MARVEL UNIVERSE IS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FRANCHISE IN THE HISTORY OF CINEMA WITH OVER 22.9 BILLION DOLLARS GENERATED AT THE BOX OFFICE.
Marvel Studios’ recently premiered ‘What if…?’ on Disney Plus marks a major creative milestone for the production house. Fans will already know from the title alone that the series takes full advantage of the narrative possibilities of the multiverse established by ‘Loki’. Each episode explores a different storyline. Like Peggy Carter from “Captain America” taking the super-soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers. Or if T’Challa from ‘Black Panther’ had been kidnapped from Earth as a child instead of Peter Quill from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’.
The series also marks the Marvel Universe’s first foray into animation and it looks like it won’t be the last. As executive producer Brad Winderbaum explains to Variety, Marvel Studios already has multiple animated series in various stages of development for Disney Plus. In addition to a second season of ‘What If…’ and a series of photorealistic animated shorts centred on Baby Groot, which are already in production.
The company’s new producers declare that the inclusion of animation in the Marvel Universe productions gives them unimaginable creative freedom. A fact that, for the characteristics of the productions they are used to making, is an opportunity and an advantage.
In the case of the ‘What If…’ series, they have tried to create a unique aesthetic. And to do so, director Bryan Andrews collaborated with independent animation studios Flying Bark Prods (in Australia), Squeeze Animation Studios (in Canada) and Blue Spirit (in France) using an international production model in which they try to give opportunities to studios from all over the world.
For decades, animation used to be the only reliable venue for Marvel comic book adaptations. Many credit the popularity of the animated ‘X-Men’ series in the 1990s for proving that there was an audience for an adaptation of this genre. In a sense, Marvel Studios is in direct competition with rival DC Comics, which has been producing popular animated series for years.
The lengthy animation production process means that new series probably won’t start hitting the Marvel Universe’s crowded schedule until 2023. However, the directors confirm that they will be original ideas based on both titles and characters already explored in live-action and previously untapped sources from Marvel’s comic book library.
In addition, all productions will, as is typical, be connected to each other.