The coolest thing about Marvel’s newest Disney+ original, What If, is the limitlessness of possibilities. Every episode features a slight tweak in the way things play out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the story tracks the cascading after effects – but there are an infinite number of those tweaks to make, and an infinite way that things can change.
All that being said, there are still natural limits of what can be featured in a 30-minute animated television program, and What If head writer A.C. Bradley discovered that while pursuing an attempt at the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s homage to Homer’s The Odyssey.
When I interviewed A.C. Bradley and director Bryan Andrews last week during the virtual press day for What If, I asked the filmmakers if there were any stories that they really loved during the development of the series that they ultimately couldn’t get across the finish line. Bradley explained that she had hopes for creating a Greek-style epic with characters and locations from the known Marvel Universe, but lamented that the scale of the storytelling didn’t gel with the real estate of the given medium. Said Bradley,
I didn’t have time for a follow-up (and I doubt she would have told me if I had asked), but there’s definitely a lingering and exciting mystery in that concept as far as who the two characters would be. Thinking about the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it, and the romantic relationships within it, my first thought is that it could be an Iron Man and Pepper Potts story circa the beginning of Avengers: Endgame – with Tony Stark and Nebula perhaps going on a series of Odyssey-esque adventures on their way back to Earth from Titan as an alternative to being stuck in space and being rescued by Captain Marvel.
Thanks to the aforementioned narrative infinitude of What If, however, anything is possible, and maybe instead A.C. Bradley wrote it as a story between Rocket and Groot.
Sadly it sounds like we won’t be getting to see Bradley’s ode to the Odyssey in the new Marvel Disney+ show, but she added that, as wild as they got, her ideas got support from the producers at Marvel Studios, including Kevin Feige. Furthermore, there is still the possibility that any ideas that didn’t get made for Season 1 could wind up in Season 2.
Adding to that, director Bryan Andrews noted that it is in the filmmakers’ best interest not to share too much because of future possibilities. Said the director,
Launching with the question, “What if Agent Peggy Carter got the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers?” What If premieres its first episode this Wednesday August 11, and it has a number of great stories set to debut in the coming weeks. Look for new episodes on Disney+ every Wednesday at midnight PST/3:00am EST, and to get a preview of everything else that Marvel has set for the small screen in the coming years, check out our Upcoming Marvel TV guide.
NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.
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