Spider-Man: Freshman Year and X-Men ’97 are just the beginning

Though Marvel’s live-action projects are a big part of what’s got people hyped for this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the studio’s Hall H showcase today made clear that animation’s going to be a big part of the MCU’s future.

In addition to announcing its I Am Groot series, Marvel Studios head of streaming, TV, and animation Brad Winderbaum and head of visual development Ryan Meinerding took the stage in Hall H to discuss new details about Spider-Man: Freshman Year, X-Men ’97, Marvel Zombies, and upcoming seasons of What If…?

Like its first season, What If…?’s second and newly announced third seasons will once again focus on the Watcher (Geoffrey Wright) as he gazes across the multiverse upon the many different realities that now make up the MCU. Given how the Watcher became actively involved in people’s lives in What If…?’s first season, it’s likely that the rules will be a little different as the series progresses and continues to reimagine pivotal moments from previous MCU films.

Following What If…? season 2’s premiere in early 2023, there’s a chance that the universe of the original X-Men animated series will technically become part of the MCU as X-Men ’97 debuts and explores a number of “new stories in the iconic ’90s timeline of the original series,” according to a press release. Like What If…?, X-Men ‘97 has already been renewed for a second season, which doesn’t come as a surprise considering the series’ nostalgic appeal and the mutants’ impending arrival in Marvel’s movies.

Similarly unsurprising but still intriguing is the news that Marvel’s upcoming animated Spider-Man: Freshman Year series from executive producer Jeff Trammell will seemingly follow Peter Parker through his first few years (plural) of “becoming Spider-Man in the MCU.” Because Peter’s journey to becoming a full-on Avenger’s already been pretty well documented in Marvel’s previous live-action movies, Freshman and Sophomore Year are likely set in alternate realities where important details play out in drastically different, fascinating ways.

Spider-Man: Freshman Year is set to hit Disney Plus sometime in 2024.

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