Marvel has already conquered cinemas and is currently storming into the streaming space, but now it also has its sights set on animation with a star-studded new series coming to Disney+.
Marvel’s What If…? will open the door to a number of parallel universes where iconic events from the history of the MCU occur slightly differently, prompting a butterfly effect that sets the world on a radically different course.
Whether it’s Peggy Carter getting the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers, or galactic scavenger Yondu choosing to abduct T’Challa rather than Peter Quill, prepare to see the unpredictable consequences.
Impressively, Marvel Studios has retained all of its big screen talent for this animated offering, ensuring consistency with the movies and establishing this as a very high-profile production indeed.
The first trailer dropped last month as part of Disney’s annual investor call, showcasing the slick animation and introducing Westworld star Jeffrey Wright as the show’s narrator: Uatu, The Watcher.
You can find out more information here about Marvel TV series on Disney+, as the shows look set to have a huge impact on the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
For now, here’s everything we know so far about Marvel’s What If…?
When is Marvel’s What If…? series on TV?
There’s no specific release date set for Marvel’s What If…? just yet, but the series is currently slated for a summer 2021 release.
To tune in, you’ll need a subscription to Disney Plus. Sign up to Disney+ for £5.99 a month or save 15% with the annual plan for £59.99 (savings based on 12 mo. of monthly subscription).
What is Marvel’s What If…?
Like the comic books of the same name, the animated show will delve into the MCU’s most famous moments and ask what would have happened if they transpired another way.
Importantly, the anthology show will not alter the existing canon in the mainline Marvel universe, so you need not worry about any permanent changes affecting your most beloved characters.
Rather, each story will be confined to its own alternate reality, in-keeping with the multiverse theme that will soon be carried over to the big screen in Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange sequel.
Among the questions that the show will answer, we’ll find out what would have happened if Peggy Carter took the super soldier serum and became Captain Britain, with Howard Stark building a primitive Iron Man suit for Steve Rogers.
The first trailer also hinted at some darker timelines to be explored, including one which appears to be inspired by the popular Marvel Zombies comic book series, where Bucky confronts an undead Captain America.
Another chapter sees Doctor Strange go up against an evil alternate version of himself, which might well be the toughest challenge that the sorcerer supreme has yet faced.
Who’s in the voice cast of What If…?
Rather than recast and risk spoiling their winning formula, Marvel Studios is bringing back the vast majority of its core cast to voice their respective characters in What If…?
Revealed at Marvel’s exciting Phase Four Comic-Con event in summer 2019, consult the list below to find out some of the biggest names involved in the project.
- Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
- Josh Brolin (Thanos)
- Tom Hiddleston (Loki)
- Natalie Portman (Jane Foster)
- Taika Waititi (Korg)
- Jeff Goldblum (Grandmaster)
- Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/The Hulk)
- Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury)
- Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye)
- Michael Rooker (Yondu)
- Karen Gillan (Nebula)
- Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
- Michael Douglas (Hank Pym)
- Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther)
- Michael B. Jordan (Killmonger)
- Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes)
- Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter)
- Toby Jones (Arnim Zola)
- Neal McDonough (Dum Dum Dugan)
- Sean Gunn (Kraglin)
- Djimon Hounsou (Korath)
- Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark)
The series was announced before the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman, but producer Kevin Feige has revealed that the actor recorded “numerous episodes” which will now be released posthumously (via Emmy Magazine).
More recently, series creator AC Bradley promised fans on Twitter that there will be “more than a few surprising MCU cameos” in the show, so expect the unexpected.
Spoilers! But I can say that there are more than a few surprising MCU cameos… and characters can and do pop up in more than one episode!— AC Bradley (the A stands for Ashley) (@TheAshBradley) January 3, 2021
Could Chris Evans or Robert Downey Jr be among them? There’s no word yet on whether the duo will reprise their roles as Captain America and Iron Man, after both characters were written out so poignantly in Avengers: Endgame.
Grandmaster actor Jeff Goldblum has claimed that Downey Jr will return for the series, but this has not yet been confirmed and it’s possible he was mistaken.
Goldblum told Buzzfeed: “I went to the Disney Studios and I recorded the Grandmaster’s voice for an episode of a show that’s going to be on Disney+ called What If…? where it’s an animated version of all the characters we know and love from Marvel.
“And this episode included the Grandmaster and Iron Man, so Robert Downey will do a voice in that.”
Who is The Watcher?
Marvel’s What If…? will see Westworld star Jeffrey Wright join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as as Uatu the Watcher, a celestial being who watches over the events of the MCU.
Uatu hails from a race of extraterrestrials known as Watchers, whose job it is to witness and record key events from across the various Marvel Universes, without ever intervening in how they are destined to unfold.
Wright will serve as the narrator of the series, with his authoritative voice performance being a highlight of the recently revealed trailer.
The Watchers made their first appearance in the MCU in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, where they shared a cameo with comic book legend Stan Lee.
It’s unclear whether Wright could reprise the role of Uatu in a live-action Marvel project, but if What If…? proves popular on Disney Plus then we certainly wouldn’t rule it out.
Marvel’s What If…? trailer
The first trailer for Marvel’s What If…? was released in December 2020, showcasing its sleek cel-shaded art style and a few of the stories it will unravel.
Marvel’s What If…? will be released on Disney+ in 2021. Sign up to Disney+ for £5.99 a month or save 15% with the annual plan for £59.99 (savings based on 12 mo. of monthly subscription). Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.