On Aug. 1, Marvel hosted a press conference for their new show on Disney+ “What If…?” Host Brandon Davis from ComicBook.com, Director Bryan Andrews, Head Writer A.C. Bradley, Executive Producer Brad Winderbaum and the voice behind The Watcher, Jeffrey Wright, were in attendance.
Premiering on Aug.11, “What If…?” shows fans alternate realities where one decision changes the whole course of a character’s life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Delving deeper into the multiverse, the animated series gives the audience a glance at Captain Carter, Star-Lord T’challa, zombie superheroes and more.
According to Winderbaum, it all started during a drive home from work. After a stroke of inspiration and a quick text to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feigi, the wheels were set in motion. From the beginning, the show was destined to be animated because of so many different storylines, characters and settings.
“It had to be in a medium that would allow us an infinite scope of whatever we could conceive of,” Winderbaum explained.
Bradley’s main job was to comb through all the alternate timelines of Marvel’s history. But for her, it wasn’t just about the aspect of “What If…?”
“What’s important is how we connect to [the characters]. So it was finding new ways to connect to Peggy Carter, to Thor Odinson, to Doctor Strange […] Luckily we have The Watcher to be our guide, because he too is looking for connection,” said Bradley.
The Watcher, as all panelists agreed on, is kind of like the biggest Marvel fan in history. Almost omnipotent, The Watcher has a front-row seat to all these timelines and goings on, but the character cannot, and will not interfere. Wright describes his character as an extension of all these characters put together.
“He’s defined by [the characters], his life’s passion to observe and connect with them; with their heroism with their flaws […] Without them, he’s nothing,” observed Wright.
Perhaps the biggest question all Marvel fans have is whether these new stories will be played out in actual movies in the future. In true Marvel fashion, fans were given a hopeful and vague answer.
“Obviously, we’re telling the story on a giant multiversal canvas, so you never really know who is going to pop up where and when. It’s very much an anthology, but there’s always opportunity for fun connections to be made,” Winderbaum explained.
The show also includes Chadwick Boseman’s last appearance as King T’challa. While discussing Boseman’s role in the show, Andrews choked up reminiscing about the late actor.
“He was a hero for real, you know? Working on the show to finalize it in post-production, we’re doing the score and the music and you know […] He had already passed since then, so we gotta make sure nothing goes wrong with this episode,” Andrews said.
“What If…?” debuts exclusively on Disney+ as Marvel Studios’ first animated show on the streaming service. Speaking of alternate timelines and variants, check out these one-of-a-kind comics Marvel came out with in honor of Captain America’s birthday here.
“We have a front row seat to ‘awesome,’ like, constantly. It’s perpetual radness,” beamed Andrews.