Marvel’s What If…? Review: An Animated Series Worthy of Endless Seasons

What If…? captures the magic of the Marvel movies with animation that jumps out of the comic book and onto the screen into bite-sized episodes that have you begging for more. Thank goodness the writers pitched a lot of stories.

What If…?, the new Disney+ show begins streaming on August 11th, with new episodes each Wednesday. The first season will consist of nine episodes. I say first because there is no way Marvel won’t continue this amazing show.

“We came up with 30 loglines and pitched them to Kevin Feige,” AC Bradley, the head writer said. “He picked 25 of them. That was big, because we knew we were on the right track. But then we had to narrow it down more, and eventually found our season.”

I doubt that many storylines are lost and forgotten 😉 It’s time to reboot Marvel Animation and get ready for a wild ride into the multitude of Marvel universes.

“We’re going to have our animation branch and mini studio, and there will be more to come from that as well,” Marvel’s Victoria Alonso said. “We’re super excited about animation, which is my first love.”

One of the things that stands out the most to me about the What If…? series is that the animation style allows limitless possibilities for scenes like battles that wouldn’t be possible in a live-action movie. It allows the audience to experience the story as the writer envisioned. Animation that mimics that of a comic book also adds a layer to the content as well. While the show is visually striking, the stories are even better. Captain Carter in Marvel's What If...?

The show is inspired by the What If…? anthology series from 1977. The first three episodes that I screened captured me so much that I watched them each three times. The first episode brings us back to The First Avenger. In this What If…?, Peggy Carter, voiced by the fantastic Hayley Atwell, chooses to become the super-soldier they need to win the war. If you thought a skinny kid from Brooklyn had it rough being the soldier he wanted to be, try replacing him with a woman. Captain Carter faces more hardships and challenges than Steve did. Steve also plays an important role in helping Carter in the war as Howard Stark (voiced by Agent Carter Stark Dominic Cooper) creates the Hydra Stomper (a close relation to the Iron Man Mark 1) for him to pilot. The duo fight in unison with their pay Bucky Barnes, voiced by Sebastian Stan, to take down Hydra.

T'Challa punches The Collector in Marvel's What If...?

Seeing Chadwick Boseman’s final performance as T’Challa was heartwarming. He embodies the character so well, and the second episode in the series is one that audiences will really enjoy. T’Challa is taken as a child in place of Peter Quill by Yondu’s team. This makes for an unlikely group of Ravengers who have big plans in the galaxy when facing The Collector (Benicio Del Toro). The team has heart in place of greed (and genocide) as members like Thanos (Josh Brolin), Korath the Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou), Yondu (Michael Rooker), Kraglin Sean Gunn), Nebula (Karen Gillan), and Taserface (Chris Sullivan), work together to save a planetary system (insert confused face).

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The third episode caught me off guard as Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) fails miserably to gather his team of remarkable individuals. The MCU is very shaken after this alternate timeline takes shape.

Each of the episodes includes moments that have you gasping, cheering, and tearing up. By the end of each episode, I found myself smiling at the possibilities and directions each setting and characters take.Nick Fury and Hawkeye in Marvel's What If...?

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled in each episode for The Watcher. He is always there, watching and learning, but never interfering. Voiced by Jeffrey Wright, he lends a bold, deep sound to an ominous character.

“It’s obviously pretty cool to be stepping into the MCU now—exciting place,” Jeffery Wright says. “But, of course, The Watcher has always been there really…watching.”

“What If… ?” features the voices of more than 50 MCU cast members who reprise their roles, including Andy Serkis, Angela Bassett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Benicio Del Toro, Bradley Whitford, Carrie Coon, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Sullivan, Clancy Brown, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Danai Gurira, David Dastmalchian, Djimon Hounsou, Dominic Cooper, Don Cheadle, Emily VanCamp, Evangeline Lilly, Frank Grillo, Georges St-Pierre, Hayley Atwell, Jaimie Alexander, Jeff Goldblum, Jeremy Renner, John Kani, Jon Favreau, Josh Brolin, Karen Gillan, Kat Dennings, Kurt Russell, Leslie Bibb, Mark Ruffalo, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Douglas, Michael Rooker, Natalie Portman, Neal McDonough, Ophelia Lovibond, Paul Bettany, Paul Rudd, Rachel House, Rachel McAdams, Samuel L. Jackson, Sean Gunn, Sebastian Stan, Seth Green, Stanley Tucci, Taika Waititi, Tilda Swinton, Toby Jones, Tom Hiddleston, and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor.

Directed by Bryan Andrews with AC Bradley as head writer, “What If…?” is executive produced by Brad Winderbaum, Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Bryan Andrews, and AC Bradley. Carrie Wassenaar is the producer, and the editors are Graham Fisher and Joel Fisher. Paul Lasaine is the production designer, Ryan Meinerding is the head of visual development and character design, and Stephan Franck is the animation supervisor.

Meghan Cooper
Meghan Cooper
Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.


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