What if Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four? What if Loki was given the hammer named Mjölnir instead of Thor?
Those are the kinds of stories Marvel Comics’ What If? series explored over the years. It offered a way for comic creators to tell experimental stories that simply couldn’t be told within the confines of the primary Marvel Comics universe. And now those stories are reportedly coming to the Disney Plus streaming platform in an animated anthology series that will feature many of the actors from the Marvel Cinematic Universe reprising their roles.
Initially reported by SlashFilm, Marvel’s What If? animated series will be brought to the screen by Marvel Studios and studio President (and MCU architect) Kevin Feige,. It will tell the sort of alternate-universe tales that made Marvel’s comic book series of the same name popular. According to the report, the reduced time commitment required for an animated series with a rotating cast makes it likely that many of the actors from Marvel’s live-action films and television series will be able to voice their characters for the show.
Although the series will tell stories featuring popular characters voiced by the actors who portray them in the live-action films and TV series, the alternate-universe, anthology format for the series means it won’t be set within the MCU.
As for the stories the series will tell, the report — which remains unconfirmed by Disney or Marvel Studios at this point — indicates that the plot of What If? #47, in which Loki finds Mjölnir instead of Thor, will be adapted for one of the episodes. Many of the other episodes could very well be entirely original stories, likely based on the events that have unfolded in the MCU rather than the Marvel Comics timeline.
Debuting in 1977, Marvel’s What If? series encompasses 11 volumes of stories, as well as multiple stand-alone comics published over the years. In many cases, the stories would begin by describing a well-known series of events from the comics, then explore how things might have turned out if a key moment transpired differently.
With nearly 200 issues spanning four decades of published stories, the What If? series has covered a lot of ground in Marvel’s universe, and in many cases, the stories sought to answer long-held questions from fans, or were aimed at settling arguments over characters’ powers or histories. Some were simply unique, one-off stories, like the popular issue that explored what would happen if Iron Man found himself trapped in the time of King Arthur.
Among the intriguing questions the series explored over the years are “What if Captain America was elected President?” and “What if Spider-Man’s Aunt May had died instead of Uncle Ben?” Other stories explored what might happen if Jessica Jones joined the Avengers, or if Captain America had never disappeared during World War II.
The What If? series joins an already impressive lineup of Marvel Studios live-action series on Disney Plus. Previously announced projects include a Loki miniseries starring MCU veteran Tom Hiddleston, as well as a series focusing on Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and another on Scarlet Witch and Vision.
More information on What If? and other Disney Plus series is expected to be announced during the April investor conference or later in the year when convention season kicks off.