What if... you could watch the animated version of a live-action Marvel Studios movie? What If...?, the first animated series from Marvel Studios, is like "watching one of the movies," says series creator A.C. Bradley (Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia, 3Below: Tales of Arcadia). Like the anthology comic book series of the same name, What If...? puts a twist on the characters and stories of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: in one episode, it's Peggy Carter (voice of Hayley Atwell) who is empowered by the Super Soldier Serum to become Captain Carter; in another, T'Challa (voice of Chadwick Boseman) of Wakanda becomes the legendary outlaw Star-Lord.
"I do joke that I'm writing very expensive fan fiction," Bradley told Total Film in its latest print issue. There are "more than a few surprising MCU cameos" across the 10-episode first season, which Bradley says will have audiences feeling like they're "watching one of the movies" within 30 seconds.
Characters like Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) are faithfully recreated in the cel-shaded animation style that boasts an expansive cast that includes returning Marvel stars like Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. Jeffrey Wright will voice Uatu the Watcher, the show's narrator.
Describing Marvel's What If...? during Disney Investor Day 2019, Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige said the animated series would "feature a different moment from the MCU and turn it on its head." Bradley later clarified that the series would not dedicate a single episode to every film in the MCU canon — currently 23 — but that its objective is "to hopefully see the majority of characters from all 23 movies. You'll see multiple characters in an episode."
"Kevin said that we will be exploring every movie in a new way, but not every episode is about one movie if that makes sense," Bradley told Discussing Film in 2019. "On the reel [shown at D23 Expo], there is this image of a Star-Lord T'Challa because we wanted to see what if the worlds of Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy collided? That was taking two universes, two to three movies, kind of twisting them in new ways."
Marvel's What If...? is expected to premiere this August on Disney+.
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