Marvel currently has a ton of new television series in development for Disney+, but only one animated series coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What If…? explores how the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be different in a multitude of ways, utilizing the company’s massive roster of actors and characters.
With What If…? scheduled coming later this year, let’s look at everything we know so far about the new Disney+ series.
What Is What If…?
What If…? is the first animated series from Marvel Studios since they became their own production company. This anthology series will show what would happen if different major events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films happened differently, and is based on the comic series of the same name.
What If…? is created by A.C. Bradley, who previously worked on the animated Netflix series Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia, and 3Below: Tales of Arcadia. Bradley will be the head writer for the series, with Bryan Andrews directing. Andrews has a deep history in both animation and with Marvel, as he has worked as a storyboard artist for most of Marvel’s films since Iron Man 2. He has also worked on such animated series as Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and The Powerpuff Girls.
While What If…? has yet to debut its first season, a second season is already in development. Both seasons will be ten episodes, and the ideas of each episode were handpicked by Kevin Feige. While it’s not clear if each episode tells one story or many stories, Bradley has said that multiple films and multiple characters would be represented in each episode, with the hope that throughout the season, most of the characters from all the Marvel Cinematic Universe films would be represented.
Who Is In What If…?
One of the most exciting aspects of What If…? is getting to revisit new versions of characters that are already known and loved. Many of the stars throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be coming back to voice their animated selves. Amongst those returning for What If…? are Hayley Atwell, Josh Brolin, Michael Douglas, Karen Gillan, Jeff Goldblum, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael B. Jordan, Natalie Portman, Jeremy Renner, Michael Rooker, Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo, Sebastian Stan, and Taika Waititi.
Despite how many actors are returning for What If…?, there are a few major names that haven’t been confirmed to be returning yet. Characters played by Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Benicio del Toro, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Brie Larson are set to appear in What If…?, yet it isn’t clear if the original actors will voice these characters. However, Jeff Goldblum did make it sound like Robert Downey Jr. would be coming back for the new series.
Westworld and Casino Royale actor Jeffrey Wright will narrate What If…? as Uatu, the Watcher. This will be the first appearance of the Watcher in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, although it seems that as narrator, he won’t be interacting with any of the show’s other characters.
What If…? is also notable for being the last time Chadwick Boseman portrayed T’Challa before his unexpected death at the age of 43. While this version of T’Challa will be significantly different from the version we’ve seen before, the series will be a nice sendoff to the actor that defined the role of Black Panther in film.
What Will What If…? Be About?
As the name implies, What If…? will show how different the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be if major changes occurred. While episode descriptions have yet to be released, the show has announced that the first episode will show what would happen if Peggy Carter took the super-soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers. The episode looks to turn Carter into her own country’s superhero, although it’s not confirmed if she will be playing Captain Britain in What If…?, despite having her own shield with the Union Jack placed in the middle.
The first trailer hints at what some of these other changes might be. One clip shows The Winter Soldier fighting what looks to be a zombie version of Captain America. Another shows Doctor Strange facing off against what seems to be an evil version of himself. But maybe the most interesting potential episode shows Yondu picking up a young T’Challa in Wakanda, instead of Jason Quill. We not only see an older T’Challa becoming Star-Lord, but it also looks as though he is introduced to Howard the Duck.
Yet considering that there are ten episodes in the first season, it seems as though this first trailer is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we’re going to see in the show.
When Does What If…? Come Out?
Marvel has yet to announce when What If…?’s first season will be released, only that it is scheduled for a summer 2021 release date. Considering that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier looks to premiere right after WandaVision concludes its run of nine episodes, it seems like Disney and Marvel don’t want any of their Marvel series to overlap. With Loki tentatively scheduled to premiere in May of 2021, it seems like the earliest we will see What If…? Is probably July of 2021. As for season two, it’s also unclear when that season will come to Disney+.