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Things We Saw Today: Marvel Studios Will Create a “What If” TV Show for Disney+

Marvel's Thor What If one-shot comic

What If? comics have long been a beloved Marvel Comics tradition—reimaginings of our heroes’ well-trod trajectories. Now Marvel Studios is set to bring these canonical fever dreams to life in a series on the planned Disney+ streaming network.

Last year, Marvel introduced a new and ambitious run of “What If” comics, that included such delicious plot-scrambles as Spider-Man going the Punisher route, Flash Thompson becoming Spider-Man, and Thor raised by the Frost Giants (to name a few). The ongoing fan interest in “What Ifs” likely made the pitch for an animated show a sure deal.

While “What Ifs” are fun to read, they tend to be brief—only an issue. An animated show would conceivably allow the story to dive even deeper, letting us spend more time with the alterna-version of our favorite heroes and villains.

/Film reports in an exclusive that the animated “What If” show will be overseen by Marvel Studios co-president Kevin Feige for the studio, though the resulting episodes, with all their twists and turns, will not be considered part of the MCU proper.

Like the comics, this animated anthology series will provide stories that explore how the Marvel Cinematic Universe might have unfolded if key moments in its history had not occurred as they did in recognized canon. For example, one of the episodes will adapt What If? Vol.1 #47, which explored the idea of “What if Loki had found the hammer of Thor?”

While the show might not be MCU canon, that doesn’t mean we won’t get to hear some well-known voices revising their roles.

The idea is that they could potentially have some of the main actors from the live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe movies reprise their roles in the animated series, which would imagine alternate possibilities from another dimension. The time commitment for voice acting is a whole lot less than for live-action productions, which could accommodate some of the biggest Marvel talent. The series would function as an anthology, just like the comic book series, with each episode tackling a different premise.

Potentially, even stars whose characters are “dead” in the MCU could still return to voice the AU version of their character, alongside people whose film contracts are finished. Who wouldn’t want the chance to chew some vocal scenery?

Since the show is reported to be in an anthology format, it would be incredible if each episode ended up being animated in a different style, as an homage to the original comics art or to allow the creativity of the animators to run wild. It’s currently unclear how many storylines will derive from existing comics and how many will be original, but this sounds like a great way to break superheroes out of their usual rote characterization.

(via /Film, image: Marvel)

  • Speaking of What Ifs, consider funding this funky fiction anthology of speculative tales about some guys named John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles will feature stories from the likes of Spider Robinson, David Gerrold, Gail Z. Martin, Cat Rambo, Jonathan Maberry and more, with essays by Nancy Holder and Janis Ian. (via Kickstarter)
  • Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 30th anniversary of the world wide web! Tim Berners-Lee did good. I think. Jury may still be out. (via Google)
  • David Tennant claims he won’t be in the third and final season of Jessica Jones. I hope he’s a lying liar who lies. (via io9)
  • All four stars of The Craft (finally) reunited. The Craft came out in 1996, if you want to feel well-aged today. (via Bloody Disgusting)
  • Sophie Turner discussed the “altercation” she had with an unnamed X-Men actor on the Dark Phoenix set. (via Screenrant)
  • Could Jack the Ripper have actually been … Jill the Ripper?! Someone tell Alan Moore, I need a From Hell update. (via Longreads)
  • “Alamo Drafthouse Hosting ‘Slut-Only’ Screenings of Slut in a Good Way” (via Slashfilm)
  • Oh my god. oH mY gOd?

What did you see out there today, Mary Suevians?

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.