Marvel Studios has conquered the big screen and the streaming networks but can it do the hat trick and conquer…animation? It remains to be seen if “What If,” which is the next series coming to Disney Plus, will be a hit or not. But all signs point to yes. So much so that Marvel Studios is opening its own animated studio branch.
Per Slash Film:
Speaking at this year’s NALIP Media Summit (via Variety), Victoria Alonso (One of Marvel’s highest-ranking executives) revealed that Marvel Studios is gearing up for even more animated fare in the years ahead. “We’re going to have our animation branch and mini studio, and there will be more to come from that as well,” she said. “We’re super excited about animation, which is my first love.”
If you’re wondering, “Hey, wait a second: doesn’t Marvel already have an animation branch? Didn’t they release all of those direct-to-video movies like Hulk Vs. and Planet Hulk?”, you’re not alone. I had the same thought. But it turns out those films were actually made by a company called MLG Productions, which was a joint venture from Marvel and the folks at Lionsgate that was in charge of an eight-picture deal that has since been fulfilled. What If?, the animated anthology series heading to Disney+, was created by an Australian animation company called Flying Bark Productions and a Canadian company called Squeeze Animation, neither of which is owned by Marvel.
But Alonso and the rest of the team know that animation remains, in the parlance of Alexander the Great, a world the studio has yet to conquer. Her comment about there being “much more to come” in animation makes me think that the company’s ambitions are not limited to future seasons of What If?, but that Marvel intends to bring many other stories to life in that medium as well.
This kicks open the door to not only multiple years of “What If” but Marvel can now take absolute Z list characters like Howard the Duck and give them their own animated show. And because its Marvel Studios and they don’t have refused to commit to something that is an offensive failure (jury is still out on the Eternals) people will eat it up.
And because they are owned by Disney, they have some of the best animators on the planet to cherry pick from…