Marvel's What If...? debuted on Disney+ last year and took the Marvel Cinematic Universe in all sorts of new directions. Not only was it the first animated project from Marvel Studios, but it also dealt with alternate universes and realities, diving deep into the concept of the Multiverse. What If...? snagged several Emmy nominations, including a nod for the episode centered on the evil Doctor Strange.
The heartbreaking episode followed a version of Stephen Strange that lost Christine Palmer instead of his hands, and scoured the multiverse for a way to bring her back. During an interview with Deadline, director Bryan Andrews opened up about the episode and why he felt it deserved the recognition.
"It's a very strong episode, but we also felt that it just kind of ended darker. We knew even before we had a full story that we wanted to do something dark with Doctor Strange," Andrews said. "We wanted to do something where he messes up and fails at the end. AC was able to find an in that really worked based on some personal experiences that she went through dealing with loss – to have him be unable to deal with that loss mixed in with Doctor Strange's built in hubris.
"There's a lot of other episodes that were really great, but this one overall had such an emotional core. It just made the whole thing really strong and cohesive, but I think the strongest thing is the ending. He blew it and it marks a pivotal point in the whole season where The Watcher actually is looking at the guy and the guy could actually see The Watcher and they have a slight dialogue. That's the first tease that a connection like that could be made."
Andrews went on to compliment the performance of star Benedict Cumberbatch, who elevated this evil version of Doctor Strange long before he played the character in live-action for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
"Another reason is that Benedict Cumberbatch did an amazing job playing evil Doctor Strange, and that was long before Multiverse of Madness was really getting started," he continued. "They had kernels of ideas, so Kevin had them watch our stuff and was like, 'You guys better watch out, cause this shit's good.' And they came out of that meeting just going like, 'Oh my God, what are we gonna do for a movie?' I think they borrowed a lot from what we were trying to do in that episode, which is crazy."
The first season of Marvel's What If...? is streaming on Disney+.