Loki season 2 isn't 2023's final MCU TV show as Marvel makes surprise What If? season 2 announcement

Uatu the Watcher looking shocked in What If? episode 8
What If? season 2 is set to debut on Disney Plus before 2023 ends. (Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Marvel has surprisingly confirmed that What If? season 2 will finally make its streaming debut before the end of 2023.

In a press release, Disney announced that the second season of Marvel Studios' animated anthology series will drop on Disney Plus "this holiday season". Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), then, will have some multiverse-style superhero adventures to watch during the festive season.

The reveal is all the more curious as What If?'s sophomore season wasn't confirmed publicly via the Disney subsidiary's social media platforms. 

Yesterday (November 6), a post on Disney Plus' X (formerly Twitter) account revealed the streamer's forthcoming lineup of Christmas-themed movies and TV shows. It's likely that What If? season 2 was left off this list, as it isn't a festive season project. Still, it's bizarre that Marvel didn't announce the show's return on its own channels. That said, it is gearing up for The Marvels' release on November 10, so the studio is clearly focusing its efforts elsewhere.

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The second season of What If? has been a long time coming. Originally, Marvel executive producer Brad Winderbaum suggested that a new season of What If? would arrive every year, beginning with season 2's launch in 2022 (per ComicBook.com). However, it was later revealed that the show would return to our screens in early 2023 (via What If?'s X account) until, as with many of Marvel's movies and TV series that were due to arrive this year, its release was pushed back.

It's unclear why What If? season 2 has faced numerous setbacks. It's unlikely to have been affected by the now-resolved writers strike and ongoing actors strike, with its scripts and voice-acting work being completed before 2023 began. Per Variety, work on the series' third and potentially final season started in July 2022, which suggests season 2's scripts and voice recordings – automated dialog replacement work in post-production aside – were completed prior to that date.

Regardless, What If? season 2 is finally on its way to being released this year, meaning Loki season 2 won't be the final Marvel TV show of 2023 amid multiple Disney Plus series delays. As mentioned, Marvel hasn't confirmed an official release date for the series' return, but a September 2023 edition of The Hollywood Reporter's Heat Vision newsletter claimed season 2 would launch around Christmas Day (December 25). At the time, many MCU fans took that report with a large pinch of salt, but it's now looking like a very plausible release date.

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Details are similarly scarce when it comes to What If? season 2's overarching plot. In its press release, Disney simply teased "The Watcher continues the journey as our guide through the vast multiverse, introducing brand-new and familiar faces throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe", so we're unsure what season 2's standalone stories and wider narrative will entail. 

According to MCU leaker MyTimeToShineHello (see the tweet above), however, the Marvel Phase 5 TV series comprise nine episodes instead of 10, with one entry held back for its third season. There are other rumors circulating online about season 2's episode titles and cast appearances, but we won't spoil the surprises ahead of time.

In our review of What If? season 1, we called it "a surreal Disney Plus anthology show with limitless potential", but, given its exploration of the Marvel multiverse and its supposed freedom to be as creatively absurd as it liked, the show's first season wasn't as weird as we expected. Here's hoping season 2 rectifies that, and helps What If? on its quest to become one of the best Disney Plus shows.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

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