Marvel’s Most Useless Upcoming Series Needs To Be Canceled

Marvel Zombies, the spin-off of What If...? about a universe filled with flesh-eating monsters, has no actual reason to be made.

By Nathan Kamal | Updated

marvel zombies what if
Marvel Zombies

Marvel fatigue is a big topic in pop culture, which can essentially be boiled down to the question of “is there too much MCU stuff out there right now?” With the world-dominating franchise entering its much-promoted Phase Five and Disney+ being increasingly littered with shows like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (does anyone even remember that one?) and Moon Knight, something has to give. And of all the projects out there that Kevin Feige can, could, and should change, Marvel Zombies is right at the top of the heap to be canceled.

If you have forgotten under the barrage of announcements of various Kang-related crossover event movies and follow-ups to follow-ups like Vision Quest and Agatha: Coven of Chaos, Marvel Zombies is a planned spin-off of the animated Disney+ series Marvel’s What If…? It will take place in a reality in which Earth has been overrun by a zombie virus contracted from the Quantum Realm (which always seems to have something bad lurking in it) and is loosely based on the popular limited comic series written by The Walking Dead’s ​​Robert Kirkman (everyone’s go-to zombie guy) and art by Sean Phillips. But the real question here is not “what if?” but “why should Marvel Zombies not be canceled?”

Marvel Zombies worked as a single episode of What If…? precisely because it was that, a largely self-contained glimpse at another world in which things went terribly wrong, the Scarlet Witch became an all-powerful hunger beast (well, not that different from Earth-616, really), Black Panther got his leg eaten, and Ant-Man ended up as a head in a jar. It is a desolate look at a much worse reality than the one we have gotten used to in the MCU, but here’s the thing: it only works as a dark version of the status quo. 

Taken on its own, the darkness of Marvel Zombies has nothing to offer beyond the nasty thrill of seeing Captain America as a shambling monstrosity. While the best zombie movies, like Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later, at least have some semblance of social commentary, and others, like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, have subversive comedy, what can this show offer? If Marvel Zombies has nothing better than “watch out for Quantum Realm viruses,” it does not deserve to be saved from being canceled.

marvel zombies canceled

In order for Marvel Zombies to be effective (and not be canceled), it needs to be a reflection of the regular world in some way and thus needs some kind of lens to be viewed through. In What If…?, that was Uatu’s constant sifting through different realities and pondering on their differences. However, in this case, we already know what the difference is. The shock value is gone. It will just be the same “hey, look, this person is a zombie now” over and over again.

If that is all that the show can do, why not just have another episode of that show, instead of a whole series? What is there to be gained, other than to see heroes and villains all become the same flesh-eating monsters, then look for yet more flesh?  Better for Marvel Zombies to be canceled than just another twitching body on the heap of middling MCU projects.