Changing the narrative in Marvel Studios’ newest series


Official Photo from “What If?” Facebook Page

Marvel Studios’ new series “What If…?” recently released on the streaming platform Disney+. Initially airing on August 11, 2021, each episode of the show typically runs a bit over half an hour.

Fans of either Marvel or DC’s comic universes or cinematic franchises may be familiar with the concept of alternate stories in which things happen a little differently, making for many interesting scenarios. This show is an animated take on that concept.

The greater concept of Marvel’s “What If…?” is to take the viewer through a tour of just some of the infinite possible scenarios throughout the Marvel universe. The series doesn’t generally follow one continuous story, each episode rather tells a spin-off story of what may have happened if just one detail were changed from the Marvel Cinematic Universe many know and love.

Viewers are led through this experience by a narrative voice known as “The Watcher” who makes occasional subtle appearances, rarely intervening. The Watcher follows a personal code, preventing him from ever interfering with these alternate realities for fear of doing unnecessary and irreparable damage.

Each episode offers a new and interesting question. First, in episode one we are shown a universe in which Steve Rogers never became Captain America, instead replaced by Peggy Carter after a disaster renders Steve unavailable. Interestingly, this same universe sees Steve Rogers become the first Iron Man rather than Tony Stark.

What if T’challa was abducted by The Ravagers instead of Peter Quill, or there was a zombie apocalypse with the avengers being the first to fall? These are just a few of the scenarios touched on so far.

While not very common for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “What If…?” is an animated show. While the change of pace may be strange for some, it seems to lend a certain charm to the characters, as well as allowing for over-the-top action and settings without huge production cost.

The scenes are beautifully animated, while feeling very true to the style that Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has cultivated over the years.

Being animated but retaining many of the MCU’s top actors, the show displays great voice work. Just a few of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s stars who reprise their roles in this show are Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Tom Hiddleston returning as Loki.

That said, the voice acting leaves nothing to be desired in this show, as well as the sound design knocking it out of the park.

I believe anyone, regardless of their understanding of Marvel’s greater backstory or cinematic universe, could enjoy this show greatly. The show displays a great deal of the lighthearted humor Marvel has become known for, as well as interesting concepts that leave you thinking hard about the greater mysteries of life.

Directed by Bryan Andrews, this is a show you’ll certainly want to give a shot if you’re interested in the concept of multiverse theory, or really enjoy Marvel’s heroes and simply want to see more of their exploits.