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How An Unused Captain America Film Setting Was Repurposed For Marvel's What If

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What If…? allows Marvel Studios the opportunity to introduce some fresh and wild new concepts to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or multiverse to be more specific). Star-Lord T’Challa and evil Doctor Strange are only a few of the variants fans have been introduced to thus far. Of course, one also can’t forget Captain Carter, who valiantly took down HYDRA in place of Steve Rogers on the show’s premiere episode.The story changed up a number of things from 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger and, in the process, it actually repurposed a setting that was cut from the original movie.

Now, most folks will likely remember that one of Captain America: The First Avenger’s defining sequences takes place when Steve Rogers saves Bucky Barnes and the Howling Commandos from the HYDRA facility. A similar situation occurs in What If…? but, when I recently spoke to series production designer Paul Lassaine about his work on the show, he explained that he and his team used a deleted version of the location for their story:

The factory, they would call it the HYDRA factory, in Episode 1, where Captain Carter comes in with the motorcycle. We expand that location quite a bit, too. That location was designed for the movie, and it was cut from the movie, from Captain America [:The First Avenger]. So you don’t ever see it, but it was designed. So we got the designs, and we had to really build that courtyard out a lot more, we had to make it make a lot more sense. So that stuff gets pretty complex, and it’s an action sequence, too, so that makes it complex also because you have to know where you are.

In Joe Johnston’s film, the factory we see is much more enclosed and doesn’t have much exterior room for action. But the setting used in What If…? is much bigger and, as Paul Lassaine mentioned, the courtyard is much bigger, which allows for way more action. The sequence that shows Peggy Carter barging in with her motorcycle is very impressive, and the setting also served as the perfect testing ground for Steve Rogers’ HYDRA Stomper armor.

Captain Carter and the Howling Commandos

This location was only one of the change-ups present in What If…?’s take on The First Avenger. Aside from allowing Peggy Carter to take the Super Soldier serum, the story also sees the Red Skull summon HYDRA’s true champion. It also gives us a Bucky Barnes that didn’t become the Winter Soldier. Those still pining to see how the events actually unfolded, though, can stream Captain America’s original MCU movie on Disney+, which you can sign up for using this link.

There are still plenty of stories to be told on What If…?, and you can bet that much of the Marvel faithful will be all ears when the Watcher is ready to spin another multiversal yarn. And hopefully, at least one of them includes the return of Hayley Atwell’s fantastic Captain Carter.

What If…? drops new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.

Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.