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SDCC 2022 Marvel Studios’ animation panel highlights: X-Men 97 season 2, Groot series, Spider-Man: Freshman Year, Marvel Zombies, What If…? season 2 & more

SDCC 2022 Marvel Studios’ animation panel highlights: X-Men 97 season 2, Groot series, Spider-Man: Freshman Year, Marvel Zombies, What If…? season 2 & more

SDCC 2022 extravaganza is off to a great thanks to Marvel Studios’ animation panel rolling out announcements on X-Men 97, I Am Groot, Spider-Man: Freshman Year, What If…? Season 2 and Marvel Zombies. The 90-minute panel unveiled a slew of character artworks as well as MCU adaptations in the Marvel shows, for instance, Charlie Cox is playing Daredevil in the Spider-Man spinoff prequel, Freshman Year series. So here is a highlight of all the announcements from Marvel’s presentation in Ballroom 20, including key reveals.

On Friday, 22 July, San Diego Comic-Con’s ballroom 20 was brimful with fans excited to hear out Marvel Studios’ streaming, television and animation head Brad Winderbaum preview their Marvel animation slate for the next two years. Winderbaum also addressed their team’s desire to produce more animation projects after the response seen for WHAT IF…? Season 1.

Marvel Studios, MCU, What If...?, Marvel Zombies, X-Men 97, Spider-Man: Freshman year

Marvel Studios Animation panel SDCC 2022

Before going ahead with the big unveil, the panel kicked off with I Am Groot trailer, it will be a 5 short series exploring Groot’s childhood. “Bath time, arts and crafts, playing dress up… but making it sci-fi.” Furthermore, Fast & Furious star Vin Diesel will reprise as the voice of Groot. I Am Groot will release begin streaming on Disney Plus on August 10.

Next up on the panel’s schedule was Spider-Man: Freshman Year and executive producer Jeff Trammell spoke about his love for the Spectacular Spider-Man series before revealing the first look at Peter Parker from Freshman. The friendly neighborhood superhero’s homemade costume was revealed too, confirming key details like Spidey’s dependence on a web fluid tank.

Harry Osborn, Amadeus Cho, Nico Minuro and a couple of other faces appeared on a character banner still titled “Peter’s Friends”. On the villain’s side, Scorpion, Doctor Octopus, The Rhino, Speed Demon and Tarantula are among the antagonist’s motley crew as seen in the image below. Other than the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, Doctor Strange makes an appearance too though it’s unclear if it will be played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Moreover, five other costume editions for Spider-Man will be explored in Freshman.

Another intriguing piece of info to come from the panel was Parker meeting Norman Osborn as his mentor instead of Tony Stark in the Freshman series. The show will premiere in 2024.

Coming to What If…? Season 2, attendees were delighted to know an episode will explore a periodic timeline set in 1602. For context, it’s an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s eight-issue Marvel comic run. Though that’s not all, A footage was displayed with interesting imageries of warriors from Shang-Chi world fighting Odin and Asgardians. Also, attendees were shown an episode “What if Captain Carter fought the Hydra Stomper”, taking up from where season 1 concluded with the Captain Carter episode – the star-spangled superhero will pit her against Winter Solider-type brainwashed Rogers.

Another artwork showed a racing-themed episode with Mad Max Fury-Esque setting taking place on Sakaar. Also, Avengers: Endgame’s wholesome moment of Peggy and Steve Rogers’s reunion will be explored in a separate episode as well.

Brian Andrews, the director of What If…? Season 1’s nine episodes confirmed that the Captain Carter killed off in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was not the same as What If..?’s version. Season 3 of the Disney Plus show is in development too.

Speaking of What if, the exceptional episode from season 1 which introduced fans’ favorite Marvel heroes as undead beings in post-apocalyptic earth will be further continued in the spinoff, Marvel Zombies written by Zeb Wells and a loose adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s Zombies comics for Marvel. Features Hawkeye, Captain America, Abomination, Ant-Man and The Wasp character Ghost, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther’s Okoye, Eternals’ Ikaris as the zombies.

The heroes fighting them will be an unusual motley crew consisting of Kate Bishop, Shang-Chi’s Katy and Death Dealer, Black Widow’s Yelena Belova and Red Guardian, Hawkeye’s Kate Bishop, WandaVision’s Jimmy Woo and Shang-Chi in his all his glory as well as Ms. Marvel. Marvel Zombies will also be TV-MA.

Last but not the least, X-Men 97 first look was rolled out with character introductions. Head writer Beau DeMayo also spoke about his excitement to see the X-Men back in their original home saying, “It’s an immense legacy, especially since the X-Men are back at the only mansion that counts, Marvel Studios.”

Starting with a full team reveal, Rogue, Beast, Gambit, Wolverine, Jean, Storm, Jubilee and Cyclops were shown assembled together. Nightcrawler Cable, Bishop, Forge, Morph and Sunspot will be a part of the team as well. Surprisingly, Sunspot is a new addition and was not part of the 90s series.  After the main ensemble display, Seb Shaw, Emma Frost, Calypso, Val Cooper and Mister Sinister’s character models were also showcased as part of X Men 97 following up with a brief footage screening.

The story theme for X-Men 97 will explore “why do we need the X-Men.” The team will be led by Magneto, a major twist that raises questions about if Professor X will appear at a later point in the series.

A first look at the X-Men 97 was shown at SDCC though it’s unclear when it will be released worldwide.  X-Men 97 will be available to stream on Disney Plus from fall 2023. In addition, Marvel Studios has already given thumbs up for season 2. An animatic was shown where the X-Men with Morph facing off Trask and the Sentinels, Rogue rips off one mutant-hunting robot head and throws it saying her iconic quip, “Heads up”. Also, Disney Plus will fix some of the continuity errors so it seems like Jean Grey’s mysterious disappearance and return will be answered.

What did you think of the Marvel Studios animation panel? Stay tuned for MCU’s big presentation on Saturday at SDCC Hall-H and in the meantime, check out the earlier recap on SDCC Day 1 and Day 2. Readers can also write to @RAKarthikPrasad on Twitter to discuss all things Marvel and DC.




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