What Is Marvel’s What If…? Series

Marvel Studio’s foray into the world of streaming has been flawless so far with their three live-action TV shows WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki. But their fourth project is something new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe entirely and for two reasons. If you’ve been seeing promotions for Marvel’s What If…? but you’re not exactly sure what it is or what to expect, I’ve got you covered.

What is Marvel’s What If…?

Let’s start with the basics, and explain what it is and where it came from. The title is pretty self-explanatory, this series poses questions of what would happen if something was different in the world of Marvel Comics. What if Peggy Carter took the Super Soldier formula instead of Steve Rogers? What if T’challa never became the Black Panther? What if he was picked up by Yondu and the Ravagers in Guardians of the Galaxy instead of Peter Quill? What if a Zombie infection broke out in a world populated by superheroes?

It’s actually based on a comic series that Marvel debuted way back in 1977. They’re published 13 different series around the What If…? model including some standalone and one-off issues. Now, the series is coming to Disney Plus in the form of an animated show.

The series will be narrated by Jeffrey Wright as Uatu the Watcher, an immortal cosmic being whose sole purpose is to witness the great events of the universe. Though the Watchers are forbidden to interfere in the affairs of the universe, there have been many cases when they have. Most famously, Uatu helps the Fantastic Four battle Galactus in his first appearance in March 1966 in Fantastic four #48. Will Uatu keep his hands out of the affairs of the new Marvel series? Only time will tell.

The Watcher (voiced by Jeffrey Wright) in Marvel's What If...? Series. Image Courtesy of Disney\Marvel.
The Watcher (voiced by Jeffrey Wright) in Marvel’s What If…? Series. Image Courtesy of Disney\Marvel.

How Does It Connect to the MCU?

This is the most interesting part about the whole series, it really doesn’t have to. The whole premise behind the series was that you could ask all kinds of crazy questions and explore the outcome as much or as little as you wanted in an alternate reality.

What if Tony Stark had died and Pepper Potts took up the mantle of Iron Man? Follow the story for as long as you want, end it, and move on. This series doesn’t have to have anything to do with the mainline MCU at all, especially because it’s animated and not live-action.

Yet with the events that happened at the end of Loki, Marvel has a perfect tie-in to explain that, yes, actually the events of What If…? do take place in the MCU through the lens of the multiverse.

The branching paths we saw in the sacred timeline are all the new decisions that have started to play out, maybe Gwen Stacey got bit by a radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker. Maybe Stephen Strange died in that car accident and was reborn as the Spirit of Vengeance, Ghost Rider.

Dr. Stephen Strange (voice by Benedict Cumberbatch) in Marvel's What If...? Series. Image Courtesy of Disney\Marvel.
Dr. Stephen Strange (voice by Benedict Cumberbatch) in Marvel’s What If…? Series. Image Courtesy of Disney\Marvel.

Anything Is Possible

At this point Marvel can explore any kind of story they want in this series and depending on how it resonates with the audience, could then seek to integrate it further into the MCU at large with a live-action show or movie appearance.

Marvel’s What If…? starts episode one off with the question of what if Captain America was never created. What if Peggy Carter took the super-soldier formula instead of Steve Rogers. Peggy becomes Captain Carter and Steve finds himself piloting an early Iron Man-like prototype referred to as a Hydra Stomper.

The series premieres Wednesdays on Disney Plus and will run for 10 episodes. Some of the characters are even voiced by their Marvel Cinematic Universe counterparts reprising their roles. Hayley Atwell returns as Peggy Carter and the animated series also includes Chadwick Boseman’s final performance as the voice of T’Challa.

T'Challa (voice by Chadwick Boseman) and the Collector in Marvel's What If...? Series. Image Courtesy of Disney\Marvel.
T’Challa (voice by Chadwick Boseman) and the Collector in Marvel’s What If…? Series. Image Courtesy of Disney\Marvel.

Other notable MCU actors reprising their roles include Michael B. Jordan as King Killmonger, Sebastian Stan as James “Bucky” Barnes, Josh Brolin as Thanos, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Chris Hemsworth as Party Thor, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton, Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster and Michael Rooker as Yondu.

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Feature Image Courtesy of Disney\Marvel.

About The Author

Robbie Landis Host of the CheckpointXP National Show, Other Identity comic book podcast and a Dungeon Master. Robbie Landis has been playing games since Yoshi's Cookie Factory was released on the NES. He enjoys RPGs, APEX Legends and World of Warcraft.

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