In the two months since Marvel Studios announced that animation studio Squeeze (Cracké) was set to create five episodes of Disney+'s What If…?, the pop culture landscape changed dramatically in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Now that states and countries are beginning to roll back restrictions and studios are looking at revised production timelines, we're learning a little more about where production stands on Marvel Studios' 2021 animated series. In a Variety article addressing how animated series have adjusted to working from home while still maintaining consistent production schedules, Squeeze Studio CEO Denis Doré revealed that the studio was gearing up for its first motion-capture shoot for the series in early June. Doré explained that Squeeze and other studios in Quebec City and Montreal have been working with the Canadian government to develop a set of protocols that would allow the studios to open while still adhering to proper health precautions: "There's a lot to take into consideration, but everybody is really anxious to start shooting again."
Co-founded by Doré and Patrick Beaulieu in 2011, Squeeze has worked with companies such as Disney, Marvel, Universal, Illumination, WarnerMedia, and video game company Ubisoft. With studios based in Quebec City and Montreal, the company has a creative team of nearly 150 people working on 3D animation projects. For Doré, the fit is a perfect match between Marvel's vision for the series and the artists' creativity, "Marvel was looking for a world-class animation studio to come up with a fresh and unique style that would be in keeping with their brand essence. We really clicked, right from our initial talks in Los Angeles last year, and they loved our proposal. I'm thrilled that our artists' creativity and talent resonated so strongly in Hollywood."
At this year's Toy Fair 2020, Hasbro confirmed the release window for a number of upcoming Marvel series, including What If…?. In the above slide from the company's presentation covering Marvel's future television, film, and video game plans, we see that What If…? is currently on track for a 2021 debut. With the waves of production shutdowns that took place only a month later, most of those dates would need to have an asterisk next to them though What If…? could benefit from being an animated series (even with the needed motion capture footage).
From Paul Rudd and Natalie Portman to Chadwick Boseman and Hayley Atwell, here's a look at the cast – all under the "watchful" eye of Jeffrey Wright's (Westworld) The Watcher. Based on the popular and continually "reincarnated" comic book series of the same name and originally announced in April 2019, series looks at key main and supporting characters from Marvel's film and television worlds through an "alternative history" lens.
- Ant-Man: Rudd as Ant-Man and Michael Douglas as Hank Pym
- Black Panther: Boseman as Black Panther and Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger
- Captain America: Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, Atwell as Peggy Carter, Toby Jones as Arnim Zola, and Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Karen Gillan as Nebula, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Michael Rooker as Yondu, and Djimon Hounsou as Korath
- Thor: Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Portman as Jane Foster, Taika Waititi as Korg, and Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster
- Marvel Cinematic Universe: Josh Brolin as Thanos, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark