The MCU certainly isn’t lacking in narrative threads to mess with.
Update: The structure of this article has been minorly updated since the time of posting. Its content remains the same.
Released back in the late 70’s, What If? was an anthology series that investigated how the Marvel Universe could’ve looked if certain events had panned out differently. One issue, for example, speculates on what might’ve happened if Loki had found Thor’s hammer, which according to Slash Film is one of the storylines that will be adapted for the show. Promisingly, the eminent Kevin Feige is overseeing the series.
The MCU is complex enough for the show to experiment with a variety of styles and tones
First off, the What If? episodes won’t be canonical with the MCU, so whatever happens in the series won't be reflected in later films.
Like in the comics, episodes will be separate from one another, with each tackling a different Universe-bending scenario. Given that entire books could be written about the various timelines running through the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the animated series certainly isn't lacking in material to play around with, and it could really have fun playing off of the charisma Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Tom Holland have since brought to their onscreen characters. There's certainly enough material for it to really delight in the universe's weird side.
I’m particularly fond of issue two of the first volume, which explored what would happen if The Hulk always had Bruce Banner’s brain. The idea of seeing the towering green giant de-escalating fights with The Gargoyle and treating his beloved Betty Ross to candlelit dinner certainly has its appeals.
And so far, fans seem very on board with the idea of a timeline-breaking, cannon-shaking Marvel series, with several acknowledging the huge scope an MCU-based spin-off series has:
This could get crazy lmao— BlogBoy (@pakhattak) March 12, 2019
I HOPE they adapt "What If?" #44 from 1984, asking "What if Captain America were revived today?"— Mark Hughes (@markhughesfilms) March 12, 2019
It's among the best examples of what Captain America stands for & what he stands AGAINST, & I'd love to see @ChrisEvans do that story w/its powerful relevance for our nation today.
Crazy idea: Each episode has a live action opening with Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange introducing viewers to a alternate new tale. Kinda ties in with him already being able to see various “what-if” realities in Infinity War. pic.twitter.com/GVVuHBDO7Q— Fast & Furious Presents: Nick (@NickyFranchise4) March 12, 2019
As of yet, it’s unknown which (if any) other entries will be adapted for the series, and it’s been speculated that the studio could invent fresh ones. This is especially intriguing in the wake of Marvel’s recent releases – might we see an alternate timeline featuring Black Panther’s Erik Killmonger, or in which Peter Parker had never been bitten by that radioactive spider? Speaking of Spider-Man, how likely are the alternate spideys of Into the Spider-Verse to get a cameo in What If?
Though no actors are currently confirmed for the show, both Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen were reported in September to have signed on to play Loki and Scarlet Witch in two live-action shows also in the works at Marvel. Maybe that means there’s a chance we’ll hear some familiar voices in What If? when it releases at a later, undisclosed date.
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