Featured as it is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, What If is a series that didn’t really have a choice in its development when it came to medium. Because each episode proposes the titular scenario based on one of the franchise’s existing movies, filming in live-action would have essentially meant creating miniature, alternate versions of the high-budget blockbusters, and that simply would have been impossible. That being said, it’s also impossible for fans not to wonder if we could eventually see elements of the stories in the show brought to life – and when I asked Marvel Studios producer Brad Winderbaum about it recently, he definitely didn’t do anything to dismiss the potential of the idea.
With What If set to premiere on Disney+ next Wednesday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Winderbaum during the show’s virtual press day this past weekend. Our conversation broached many subjects (keep an eye here on CinemaBlend for more stories in the coming days/weeks), but one of his most intriguing answers was about the possibility of seeing original parts from the series someday rendered in live-action. Said the filmmaker,
I mean, obviously we chose animation because of all the places and people and costumes and sets and locations and props and everything we wanted to revisit from the Infinity Saga. But every time we created something, we want to see it in live-action. Like I remember the first time we showed the Hydra Stomper design to Kevin [Feige], he was like, 'Oh, great. Now we're going to make this.' It's hard not to imagine or to fantasize about that. But when and how and why, those questions are still to be determined.
Based on the reactions we’ve seen to the other Marvel Disney+ shows, including Loki, WandaVision, and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, it shouldn’t take very long for What If to build a movement demanding to see parts of the show brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. After all, the very first episode ponders what would have happened had Agent Peggy Carter gotten the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers, and it very likely won’t be enough for fans to just hear Hayley Atwell’s voice in the premiere; we’re going to want to eventually see her in the Union Jack-patterned suit.
It’s obviously not just audience demand that could make it happen either. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is clearly laying the groundwork for a deep dive into the multiverse, and What If is a significant part of the build; each episode takes place in its own alternate universe that runs parallel to the one that we’ve seen develop over the last 13 years. There is heavy expectation that upcoming movies and shows, like Doctor Strange And The Multiverse of Madness and Loki Season 2, will be exploring the idea of dimension hopping, and if that’s true it is absolutely possible that we could someday see Captain Carter or Zombie Hunter Spider-Man go from streaming animation to live-action on the big screen.
Like the multiverse, the possibilities feel infinite – and it all starts with the premiere of What If. The new Marvel Cinematic Universe series debuts its first episode on Disney+ next Wednesday, August 11, and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend, as we’ll be posting not only more from my interview with Brad Winderbaum, but also head writer A.C. Bradley, director Bryan Andrews, and star Jeffrey Wright.