by Miller C. Lashbrook
We have officially had our first big Marvel panel of San Diego Comic Con 2022, with the Marvel Studios Animation panel. Now, I am not at San Diego Comic-Con, but thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was able to follow along with the news online. This panel focused on giving some news around five previously announced projects for Disney+: I Am Groot, Spider-Man: Freshman Year, What If…?, Marvel Zombies, and X-Men ’97. Here I will share my thoughts on the announcements.
I Am Groot – Coming August 10th
The panel kicked off with a trailer for the series of shorts, I Am Groot. For my thoughts on this trailer, check out this post: MCU: I Am Groot – Trailer Reaction
Spider-Man: Freshmen Year – Coming in 2024
Fans learned more about Spider-Man: Freshmen Year, which has only really gotten a logo on Disney+ day last year. Fans learned today that this show will follow be released in 2024. The show will follow Peter Parker in his freshmen year of high school as he figures out how to be Spider-Man. Originally when announced on Disney+ day, many fans assumed that the show would take place in the main MCU timeline and fill in the time after Peter got his powers, but before Captain America: Civil War. Today’s panel seemed to contradict this however by showing characters that we know could not have existed in the main MCU timeline already, in particular Norman and Harry Osborn.
A shot was shown of Norman Osborn in Peter’s apartment that looked very similar to Tony standing next to Aunt May in Civil War. This has made me and many other fans theorize that this show could possibly be a spinoff of a season two episode of What If…?, maybe titled something like “What if Peter Parker never met Tony Stark.” Norman and Harry appear to be designed to be Black in the show, which could mean that they will be played by Black actors in the MCU 616.
It was also revealed in this segment that Doctor Strange and Daredevil will appear in the show and that Daredevil will be voiced by Charlie Cox. Several suits for Peter were revealed along with some friends and enemies, including a very comics accurate Doctor Octopus.
The thing that I am looking forward to seeing the most in this show is the inclusion of one of my favorite underrated Marvel characters, Nico Minoru from the Runaways.
What If…? Season 2 – Coming in early 2023
Now, I predicted the other day that we would get a trailer for either X-Men ’97 or What If…? season 2, but we did not; apparently, however, fans at the panel were given an exclusive look at an episode of What If…? season two, “What if Captain Carter Fought the Hydra Stomper?”
Season 2 will be released in early 2023 and season 3 is already in development. Four episode concepts were revealed: a story featuring Hela, Odin vs The Mandarin, Captain Carter meeting the Winter Soldier, and Tony on Sakaar with Valkyrie and Hulk.
I really enjoyed What If…? season 1 and I am looking forward to seeing even more of the multiverse in seasons 2 and 3.
Marvel Zombies – Coming in 2024
Marvel Zombies was announced back at Disney+ Day. This show today was confirmed to be a spin-off of the What If…? episode, “What If… Zombies!” It appears that this show will expand the roster of zombie characters and survivor heroes. New heroes will include Jimmy Woo, Kate Bishop, Kamala Khan, Katy, Red Guardian, Death Dealer, Shang-Chi, Yelena Bolova, some civilians, and some Skrulls. New and returning zombies include Wanda, Captain America, Ghost, Clint Barton, Abomination, Okoye, Carol Danvers, and Ikaris. Possibly the biggest news to come related to Marvel Zombies though, was that the series will be the first Marvel Disney+ series to be rated TV-MA.
X-Men ’97 – Coming in Fall 2023
Finally, the panel finished with news about the revival and continuation of X-Men: The Animated Series, X-Men ’97. This part of the panel did not feature too much news but focused on showing the character designs from the series. The main cast from the original series is back, except Professor X. It was revealed that some fan-favorite secondary characters, Nightcrawler, Cable, Sunspot, Forge, Morph, and Bishop, will be joining the cast. The primary villains were revealed to be Val Cooper, Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Callisto, and none other than Mister Sinister. A reveal that got a big pop was that Magneto will be leading the X-Men in his purple look with the big ‘M’ on his chest. The original series will also be reordered to the story order on Disney+ for ease of viewing.
Overall, even though we did not get trailers for X-Men ’97 or What If…? season 2, the information we did get was very promising. All five of these shows look like a lot of fun and should expand the MCU in entertaining ways. Of all of these shows, I am most excited for Spider-Man: Freshman Year.