Marvel's What If...? series has marketed itself as an anthology series about different timelines of the new Marvel Cinematic Multiverse, and variant versions of the Marvel superheroes within it. However, behind the scenes, there's been growing evidence that What If...? is in fact as interwoven into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise as any other film or series. When Comicbook.com got a chance to talk to the makers of Marvel's What If...? we had to ask how they balanced making the series against other MCU Phase 4 projects like WandaVision, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and of course, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness.
The first episode of What If...? was a fairly self-contained story, which saw Peggy Carter end up becoming a super-soldier instead of Steve Rogers. However, as stated, there are multiple factors that have already been seeded in What If...? or outright spoiled by the series' merchandise. Without spoilers: it seems that What If...? could end up telling a larger interconnected story, that also sets up the next wave of events in Phase 4.
The connections between What If...? and other MCU projects have already been established - starting with the fact that it was Marvel's Loki Disney+ series that literally and figuratively opened the door to the alternate timelines of What If...?. When ComicBook.com spoke to What If...? executive producer Brad Winderbaum, he explained that when it came to planning out this first deeper look at the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse, the What If...? team indeed had to huddle up with the teams form both Loki and WandaVision:
"We met with the Loki team and Stephen Broussard and Kevin Wright and I would have many conversations about the Multiverse and how it functions and branch timelines, nexus events," Winderbaum explained. "Same with Mary Livanos on WandaVision. And I think we not just establish how these things would be connected, but also the rule book for all the stories that we tell in the Multiverse moving forward. I mean, it's thrilling, we're in the middle of it. I'll tell you that. We are in the middle of it now."
Winderbaum doesn't say outright, but his explanation certainly seems to indicate that there was a major collective meeting about the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse amongst all the creators attached to creators involved in it. That includes WandaVision, Loki, Doctor Strange 2, Spider-Man 3, and the pivotal introduction to this concept, through What If...?.
Right now, there are a lot of Marvel fan theories that predict that characters and/or developments of What If...? could make the jump from the animated series to the live-action universe. While Brad Winderbaum wouldn't make any big reveals (naturally), he did leave fans with this tantalizing possibility about What If...? characters coming to live-action:
"Yeah. I think there's always a chance. And it's animated, sure, but it's part of the MCU. And as you well know, once you're in the sandbox, anyone can play with that toy."
The Marvel Cinematic Multiverse format has made nearly any and everything possible for the live-action franchise. "Captain Carter" is already gaining Stans who want to see Peggy's superhero variant in the main MCU - so if nothing else, What If...? is giving Marvel Studios new uses for toys it already owns.
Marvel's What If...? is now streaming on Disney+. New episodes are released every Wednesday. Get immediate in-depth recaps on ComicBook.com's Phase Zero podcast, every Wednesday. Watch our full interview with Brad Winderbaum above!