What if…? always felt as an outlier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe television sphere.
The first Marvel animated series to exist within the MCU, it’s also the first series on Disney + not to directly address the franchise’s tangled continuity.
What if…? does not seem to take place next WandaVision or The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – in fact, the show doesn’t even happen in the same universe. Considering that, this might look like an optional watch for Marvel fans, but a new interview with Loki star Tom Hiddleston reveals there’s more to What if…? that it seems.
In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Hiddleston teased his episode of What if…?, about a universe in which Odin did not adopt Loki and make him Thor’s adopted brother. In this alternate reality, Loki instead becomes “Party Thor”. It sounds like a hilarious premise, but what Hiddleston said next raised eyebrows, “And then that sets up a bunch of things in the MCU that I don’t know anything about.”
Even though Hiddleston claims ignorance of how to table the episode for future events in the MCU, the idea of What if…? impacting the franchise in this way has major implications. How do these structurally more important aspects of What if… end up showing up in the series?
In the trailer for What if…? lies a clue to the glorious purpose of the animated series. Aside from snippets from various episodes showing Captain Carter, T’Challa as Star-Lord, and Guardians of the Galaxy as Avengers, the trailer is narrated by someone identifying themselves as “The Watcher. “.
For Marvel Comics fans, this identified the series narrator as Uatu, the Watcher. Uatu acted as Rod Serling-esque host in the What if…? comics, serving as the guardian of parallel universes linked to a vow of non-interference.
This character offered a window on other universes which remained closed to the main continuity of the comic book. This Disney + series, however, could find Uatu setting in motion events that impact the rest of the MCU.
If Uatu is related to the multiverse – or perhaps is a more peaceful variant of Kang the Conqueror – the narrator could present each episode as a variant of the universe in the multiverse that Sylvie created by killing the One Who Remains.
This could result in all of these worlds colliding within Marvel’s main multiverse, resulting in a tangle of varied universes that could set up incoming Marvel movies like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
In terms of orchestrating more multiverse chaos, given where Loki just ended, What if..? do not ask the question of if, But when.
What if…? premieres on Disney + on August 11.