Usually overshadowed by its live-action brethren, Marvel’s What If? was one of the earliest Disney+ series to be announced. Information on it has been scarce for the most part. We knew it was animated. Two of the plot concepts were made public (Agent Carter receiving the super soldier serum and T’Challa becoming Star-Lord). Each season would feature 10 episodes. Nearly the entire cast of the various Marvel movies would reprise their roles in the form of voice acting.
But other than that? Not much.
Now, along with the utter hailstorm of Disney/Marvel news from Thursday, we have a real deal trailer of the upcoming animated series, ready to hit Disney+ in the summer.
Check it out here…
Uatu the Watcher Joins the MCU
Jeffrey Wright plays Uatu the Watcher, a cosmic being who narrates the events of alternate realities where certain minor differences would cause massive ripples in history. The visuals are all over the place and rather than go chronologically shot-by-shot, I’m going to try and bunch them into what stories they appear to be telling.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHAT IF PEGGY CARTER BECAME CAPTAIN BRITAIN?
For some reason, Steve Rogers is deemed unfit to be experimented on and doesn’t become Captain America. Instead, Peggy Carter takes the serum and fights Nazis as Captain Britain. It looks like she has an easier time talking her way into fighting on the frontlines because it’s not like the American government is going to turn her into a singing, dancing mascot.
Also neat is that Howard Stark gets into the armor-making business by turning skinny Steve Rogers into the original Iron Man. While this twist for Steve isn’t from a specific What If? comic, it was a major part of the alternate universe storyline Bullet Points.
WHAT IF PRINCE T’CHALLA WAS STAR-LORD?
Instead of picking up Peter Quill, Yondu comes across a star-eyed Prince T’Challa. How fitting that the boy from a country known for keeping itself a secret and closing its borders from the rest of the world would break through all barriers and explore space itself?
In this universe, instead of becoming Black Panther, T’Challa becomes Star-Lord. The plot appears to take him to the Collector and his menagerie. Interestingly enough, his line of, “Give me the tour,” is being said in front of or to Howard the Duck.
This is going to be a rough one to watch as this will be Chadwick Boseman’s final performance as T’Challa. Fingers crossed for a happy ending.
WHAT IF LOKI RULED THE WORLD?
There’s an extremely brief shot in there of Loki going down a walkway in some kind of United Nations setup. Due to the amount of armed warriors with shields on the stage and following Loki, it appears that he straight-up rules Earth. Considering all the Asgardian followers (as opposed to the Chitauri), this would have to be based on the events of the first Thor.
So what happened? I think that’s best revealed in the other shots. We can see Thor during his rampage through SHIELD’s forces as he intends to reclaim Mjolnir. There’s also a look at Hawkeye, readying an arrow. The original scene was merely just a cameo to hype up Hawkeye for Avengers, but I’m thinking in this version, Hawkeye took the shot. The powered-down Thor wouldn’t even have the chance to test his worthiness.
With no Thor, what’s to stop Loki from simply taking over all the realms?
WHAT IF CAPTAIN AMERICA WAS A ZOMBIE?
Nick Fury is featured a couple times here, though with little to go on on his own. He gets a one-liner suggesting something bad was going to happen, he’s there when Captain America’s frozen ship is uncovered, and he looks at us while SHIELD agents fire at an unseen enemy. I’m feeling pretty confident that this footage comes from the same episode as that fight between Bucky Barnes and a zombie Captain America.
Simply put, I don’t think this version of Steve survived the crash. Or maybe he died from being frozen. Now SHIELD is left with the ultimate soldier in the form of a corpse. One of those SHIELD eggheads gets the idea to just reanimate the body and enough people think it’s a good idea and sign off on it.
Captain America and Bucky are reimagined as horrific shadows of themselves. One is a mindless monster while the other is a mindwiped tool of the enemy.
WHAT IF DOCTOR STRANGE MET HIS MATCH?
I’m not sure what to make of this one. Stephen Strange is shown studying magic and it gets a bit trippy, albeit in a different way than his movie originally showed. He’s making dozens of books levitate around him. He falls down a pit of magical symbols. He appears to be fighting in what just may be Hell itself.
More importantly, he takes on an evil version of himself. Okay, but why?
Perhaps that evil Doctor Strange is the Strange of this episode’s universe. Maybe, just maybe, the good Strange is the mainstream one. We know he’s going to be jumping around the multiverse soon enough in two different movies. It’s a longshot, but maybe this episode is an animated prelude to the huge can of worms we’re getting in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Spider-Man 3.
Captain Marvel is there. She could be doing a cameo for the T’Challa/Star-Lord episode, but there’s not enough to go on.
Then we see Tony Stark in two shots. Both of them come from Iron Man 2, where he’s given up on saving his own life and he’s chilling out on top of a giant donut. There’s no real indication on how that storyline is changing up its narrative.
What If? will arrive on Disney+ in Summer 2021.