Review | WHAT IF…?

Captain Carter and the Howling Commandos in Marvels Studios’ WHAT IF…? (Courtesy of Marvel Studios 2021)

Brace yourself, because the multiverse got kicked wide open on WHAT IF…?, Marvel Studios brand-new animated series on Disney+ that explores a world of endless possibilities and their ramifications in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Based on a comic book anthology created by Marvel in 1977, WHAT IF…? reimagines what would happen if certain important events throughout MCU history had either never happened or deviated, even in the slightest, from what was previously shown on the movies.

Narrated by the mysterious entity known as The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright), the series delves into previously unthinkable scenarios, such as what would happen if Steve Rogers had never become Captain America, to explores how some key moments would transpire and ultimately shape everything else.

A Huge Creative Jump for Marvel Studios

A one-of-a-kind project for Marvel Studios and the studio’s first animated series, WHAT IF…? was created by A.C. Bradley, and every single one of its nine episodes (originally ten, but due to COVID-19 the last one was moved to an already confirmed season 2) is directed by Bryan Andrews. Bradley, whose credits include the shows Arrow and Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia, also serves as the head writer.

Visually breathtaking and dynamic, the artistic work of Stephan Franck, head of animation, and Ryan Meinerding, head of visual development, is heart-stopping and the technique employed in the making of this show not only enhances the comic book aspect but makes it feel like the drawings are coming alive onscreen.

As the for the writing, the episodes are incredibly well-written, with very dynamic dialog, heartfelt moments, and the famous Marvel Studio wit. And having most of the original cast come back to voice their respective movie characters is a cake with the cherry on top, although only Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner return from the original Avengers team.

Hogun, Lady Sif and Loki in Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF…? (Courtesy of Marvel Studios 2021)

How Does it Influence Future Marvel Studios Projects?

The easiest way to answer this question is with an honest “we don’t know,” but if there’s something any Marvel Studios fan have learned over the past decade is that everything is connected, one way or another.

WHAT IF…? hits Disney+ on August 11, almost an entire month since the mind-blowing season finale of Loki, and as a direct consequence of the events shown on that last episode, where Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) find the truth behind the ominous organization known as TVA – Time Variance Authority – and its creator, the mad scientist from the future identified as He Who Remains (Johnathan Majors).

With the inevitable split of the sacred timeline and the expansion of the multiverse, the heroes, villains, and entities that abide an endless number of universes are free to play their part without any interference, whether good or bad.

The only witness to any of these infinite variations is The Watcher, an intergalactic being with the power to observe the entirety of the timelines, but without the authority to interfere in any of them. The Watcher is voiced by Emmy Awards-winner actor Jeffrey Wright (The Hunger Games and Westland).

And since the head writer herself already confirmed that WHAT IF…? is canon, fans would be wise not to skip this one if they want to know what the future holds for the MCU.

Another Win for Everyone

Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF…? is a blast from beginning to end, and a sure win for Disney and executive producer Kevin Feige. Bring back a stellar voice cast and ready to tell explosive, never before seen stories of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, WHAT IF…? kicks open the enigmatic multiverse and shows the adventures are only starting.

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