We're nearly halfway through the first season of Marvel's What If...? and twice now, fans of the animated series have seen a tentacled beast face off against the show's ensemble of protagonists. The unnamed beast's first appearance came in Episode 1 and it appeared once again this week in the Doctor Strange episode. With rumors that a similar tentacled beast — the legendary Marvel villain Shuma-Gorath — could be appearing in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a popular theory is that the character's actually making their debut here. What If...? is, after all, the first Marvel Studios series to directly traverse the multiverse.
We recently caught up with What If...? character designer (and Marvel Studios visual development maestro) Ryan Meinerding to ask a simple question. Is that beast we've seen in What If...? Shuma-Gorath?
"I probably can't speak to anything that has to do past the episodes that you've seen," Meinerding tells us. "I think Bryan Andrews, as a director, has been very influential in this series in a lot of ways. His cinematic storytelling style. The action is all him, as being an amazing storyboard artist and director."
Meinerding adds that Andrews asked for a Lovecraftian-inspired character, so he got to work on something similar to Cthulhu.
"But so much of his aesthetics come through too. And he always loved the idea of Cthulhu beasts," the artist says. "So the idea of the huge tentacle monster is coming from him. I don't know if there's plans for it to represent something else. But so much of that really came out of his love for that type of ... I can't even say what ... is it horror? Is it sci-fi?"
The first four episodes of Marvel's What If...? are now streaming on Disney+.
What What If... storylines do you hope to see in the series? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section or by hitting our writer @AdamBarnhardt up on Twitter to chat all things MCU!
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