Marvel’s Disney+ series have brightened up this year, and we’re all coming in 2021! Of course, whatever happens in these series, Loki will be hard to surpass. It has opened up the multiverse to expect the arrival of many alternative realities and character variants. What are they going to be like? Well, is this going to give us a taste of What If…? In that animated anthology series that asks in its title what would have happened if this and this hero or story hadn’t turned out the way, we learned on the main timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the reality of Earth-616. The series debuted on Disney’s streaming service on August 11. In the first episode, we got to know an alternative version of Captain America: The First Vengeful Act, in which Peggy Carter became a superhero and Steve Rogers remained second fiddle, even though Howard Stark, Iron Man’s father, gave him something literally percussive. In the next episodes, we can expect even steeper variants.
Of course, what if…? it didn’t quite come out of the minds of Marvel Studio’s creatorS, lead writer A.C. Bradley and director Bryan Andrews, but it has a comic book base that’s not exactly a contemporary play: the series was launched in the mid-1970s, courtesy of Roy Thomas. According to the format, Uatu, the mysterious alien, or The Watcher, tells the stories and connects them to his introduction and conclusion since he views parallel universes. But he also states in the animated series that he (for the time being) cannot intervene, whether the stories end well or badly. But who is this Watcher? What kind of stories is unfolding in What If…? volume pages? We’ll look into this by covering the following topics:
- The What If…? origin story in Marvel comics
- The What If…? most memorable stories
- Who’s the Watcher who explains the episodes?
- The MCU What If…? Captain Carter and the others
- Which actors appear in What If…? from the MCU?
The What If…? origin story in Marvel comics
The What If…? Its creator, writer and editor are Roy Thomas, who’s name is even associated with stories such as The Defenders, Iron Fist and Conan, the barbaric comic book transcription. The first issue was released in 1977, and the series was launched at the same time. Thomas originally intended the series episodes not merely as “what if” or “what if” stories but as alternatives to the main timeline and the reality parallel to the main marvel universe location, Earth-616.
“I’ve decided that my series will hopefully be the main (if not the only) terrain for Marvel, where such parallel universe stories can unfold for a while. To make the series even more acceptable for myself and others, I imagine the wonderful Watcher is the narrator of each story. In this way, as surely everyone has already realized, these really do happen, although not in our dimension or time stream, in worlds that coexist with our own,” Thomas commented on the very first issue.
The What If…? Its first classic series unfolded between 1977 and 1984, and the mysterious Uatu, the Watcher, brought the stories together. Uatu kept an eye on the Earth and alternative realities from his base on the moon, so he learned of all the forks. That’s why stories are structured with the Watcher describing what’s happening in the main timeline and then showing how it’s changed in the parallel universe or reality. He was not always the narrator, and others replaced him in the second phase (1989–1998).
The What If…? from an early age, he revealed some very tumultuous stories to comic book fans, starting with Spider-Man joining the Fantastic Four team. Then came stories like Bruce Banner’s ability to preserve his intelligence and identity from the beginning, when he was transformed into the Hulk, so we shouldn’t have waited for Professor Hulk to appear. In fact, the question even came up as to what would have happened if Spider-Man’s secret identity had been revealed, which, after all, had happened in Spider-Man: Away at the end of MCU.
The What If…? most memorable stories
Marvel until the late 2010s with several exciting What If…? He came up with a story, which included Spider-Man joining the Fantastic Four or Jane Foster becoming a female Thor under the name Thordis, and Bucky surviving World War II and Spider-Girl being just the tip of the iceberg. On some level, all of these alternatives were included in the mainstream. Negative heroes often became heroes and vice versa, and important characters (Gwen Stacy, Karen Page) survived events. Others were out of the picture. For example, Spider-Man’s joining the Fantastic Four resulted in Sue Storm, the Invisible Girl, leaving the team.
Indeed, only creative fantasy could limit what stories could have unfolded in What If…? in. Iron Man became a traitor, Daredevil appeared in feudal Japan under the name “The Devil Who Dares”, Captain America fought the mysterious character White Skull in the 19th-century American Civil War, Thor became a messenger of Galactus. Norman Osborn (the Green Elf) conquered Asgard. But it was also a fascinating development that in one of the alternate realities, Wolveres itself became the vigilante Punisher, not in the present, but in Chicago in the 1920s, during Prohibition.
The total of 13 volumes is worth it. What If…? he mapped out alternative versions of several other stories, including civil war and infinity in the movies and the Avengers versus X-Men team. One version, What If? Infinity: Dark Reign (2015) says Norman Osborn and the Dark Avengers have taken the Infinite Glove, which you can imagine the consequences of.
One of the craziest, however, is the Fantastic Four story, which was published in August 1982 and which shows members of the title character team bananas. Yes, you read it well, bananas: Reed Richards, aka on the main timeline, Mr Fantastic discovers four bananas in his spaceship who have acquired special abilities. Sue, Johnny and Ben both existed in this world, but their only “job” was to hold the fantastic bananas in their hands.
Who’s the Watcher who explains the episodes?
“I know everything that exists, in most cases, everything that existed and will exist. Furthermore, through several windows, I have a view of the parallel worlds that show what could have been,” says Uatu in the very first issue, who joins the what if…? Stories. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the character, first appearing in The Fantastic Four in issue 13 (1963). Uatu belongs to an ancient extraterrestrial species called The Watchers, whose members control the multiverse, but their name is precise because they cannot interfere. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ve never done that. There have been crises that have required intervention. Uatut was specifically assigned to oversee the Earth itself and the solar system and its variants in various parallel universes.
Uatu himself could not remain a simple passive bystander, liked both the inhabitants and heroes of the Earth, including meeting the Fantastic Four during one of their adventures. Not only did the Watcher allow them to know and remember its existence, but it also helped the team outright. He intervened several times in conflicts affecting The Earth, thus to the point where Galactus first tried to consume the planet. Of course, his fellow racers could not ignore this and excluded him from their ranks since it was incompatible with their principles to reveal their existence. He was later rehabilitated and continued to operate, including helping Earth’s defenders, for example, predict the imminent dangers.
Uatu and the Watchers don’t just look out of their heads, and Uatu can intervene in events for a reason, as they all have special, mainly psychic or telepathic abilities. In this way, they can fly, establish long-distance contact through the mind, manipulate energy, create energy fields, create illusions, and most importantly, simultaneously pay attention to several parallel events. Uatu solves fast travel by temporarily taking on a special form of energy that allows you to move easily and efficiently through hyperspace and time. The Watcher is practically immortal, but his life could end if he wants to.
The MCU What If…?: Captain Carter and the others
A.C. Bradley, lead writer and showrunner, and director Bryan Andrews, marvel studios have created an animated series, What If…? which, of course, follows the trends of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far, i.e. it is not a textual adaptation. Still, its creators have created quasi-original stories scattered in 9 episodes of the anthology series. Even from the first part, it became apparent that marvel studios would develop alternative versions of the films produced by Kevin Feige and the meaningful stories outlined in them. What if…? seasons because there will definitely be a second season.
In the first episode, we learned about the story of Captain America: The First Avenger from a different perspective, in which Peggy Carter became a super-contingent instead of poor Steve Rogers, who remained a skinny but more enthusiastic and courageous warrior. Bradley and Andrews and the studio’s primary goal were to make sure that the characters would be recognizable and consistent with their mainstream selves even if they changed the basic lineups. That’s why the Spider-Man mutation reminiscent of the David Cronenberg film The Fly couldn’t have materialized with Peter Parker, or Loki, who lifted Mjölnir and raised Mjölnir into a giant spider-man hybrid. Of course, there will be some really overcast stories, so we can get to know T’Challa, the zombie-turned-Captain America, who will also be cast in the Marvel Zombies comic book series What If…?, and Loki will also be introduced as the king of Asgard.