The Only Characters Marvel’s What If…? Couldn’t Use

By Doug Norrie | 30 seconds ago

marvels what if

Marvel’s What If…? is set to introduce all manners of story-bending to the Marvel Universe with a whole run of new iterations of time-honored characters and stories. The very gestalt of the series (and the comic books as well) is asking that titular question around if things had just been a little different. But with the series, some out there thought we could see the introduction of new characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well, not just different plays on classic stories. In an interview with Collider (via Comicbook.com) executive producer Brad Winderbaum explained that there were some new characters the studio said were off-limits. 

In the interview, Winderbaum was asked point-blank about whether Disney and Marvel had told him and the rest of Marvel’s What If…? contingent if the X-Men and Fantastic Four were no-gos for this run of episodes. Winderbaum was honest in the response and the thinking makes a lot of sense. He starts by saying there were very few parameters when they were first putting together the series, but that keeping those two groups out was one of them. He went on to say “We wanted to make sure that the characters were firmly rooted in the MCU. And that had nothing to do with rights and had nothing to do with the future stories we wanted to tell…So we look – primarily – at the Infinity Saga.”

You can see the interview about Marvel’s What If…? series below:

What Winderbaum is saying here and Marvel’s adherence to keeping the altered storylines in Marvel’s What If…? around characters and arcs we had already seen, makes total sense. While this particular show would have been a cool way to introduce new folks into the mix, especially ones fans are jonesing to have up on the screen, this likely wouldn’t have been the most optimal way to do it. Instead, the show correctly focuses on those stories we’ve already seen play out with subtle (or major) twists to the characters. Heck, in the first episode we see Peggy Carter take the super-soldier serum and become Captain America instead of Steve Rogers. 

And since Marvel’s What If…? is set to explore a bunch of retroactive changes to previous stories, there really was no reason to jam in new characters like the X-Men or Fantastic Four. For starters, we don’t even have a good sense of who is playing any of these characters in the live-action roles so creating likenesses for them now would have been folly. Plus, adding them into any story now would have weirdly established some kind of baseline for the characters going forward even though Marvel’s What If is strictly around one-off stories in Multiverse-induced timelines. 

When we will finally get the X-Men and Fantastic Four is not totally clear. It certainly will not be in Marvel’s What If…?  this season. That is fine because we have more than enough cool stuff coming. This week we saw T’Challa actually become Star-Lord instead of Peter Quill. It was the last performance by Chadwick Boseman in the MCU prior to his tragic passing. And there are plenty of other stories as well with Marvel zombies, a new Avengers lineup, a different version of Hulk, Tony Stark becoming Iron Man in a whole new way, and much more. Plus we already know Season 2 is on its way as well. So no new MCU characters but plenty of altered looks at the ones we already know.