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Marvel's "What If..?" And The Road To The Multiverse Of Madness

AFA's resident superhero guru Jeremy Harrison looks forward to Marvel's What If..? the first animated series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and wonders how it might play into the future of the MCU as a whole.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers for LOKI and AVENGERS ENDGAME

The next show to premiere on Disney Plus will be Marvel's "What If", arriving weekly from August 11  and as a huge fan of animation, I'm looking forward to it. It's one of the shows confirmed by Marvel that's building to the newest Dr. Strange movie: Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. This title was teased in the Loki show by Miss Minutes an A.I. used by the TVA (Time Variance Authority) which is very similar to the type of A.I. used by Spider-Man of 2099 "Lyrate lifeform Approximation". Spider-Man 2099 called her or it "Lyla" for short.

Remember that Loki asks "Are you alive or are you a recording?" and Miss Minutes answer "Umm, a bit of both, I suppose." A lifeform approximation, perhaps?

Interesting to note that such technology comes from what the comics designate as Earth-928. Which leads me to a big problem that I have with Loki. There being only one SACRED TIMELINE business. As a fan of the comics and the movies, it left me with more questions than answers. Answers that I hope Marvel will answer in Dr. Strange 2. 

But here's are the main three: 

1) If there's only one timeline why is the Marvel Cinematic Universe designated as Earth-199999?
Why not just Earth Prime? or Earth 1 or Earth A? No need for such a big number or any number if there's only one timeline.

2) Endgame specifically states that traveling to the past creates a parallel reality. Captain America created a parallel reality when he went back and married Peggy Carter. This is confirmed by the director of the movie and if Cap was living out 70 to 80 years in that reality then the TVA didn't prune it.

2a) If you tell me that the TVA pruned it after Cap left that timeline you're telling me that they had to prune now 3 or 4 generations worth of people that had Super Solider Serum running through their blood? So sorry that doesn't work for me,

3) The Avengers were supposed to go back in time according to the TVA. Meaning by the rules set up in Endgame, they created multiple parallel realities. 

So this One Sacred Timeline nonsense doesn't work at all. But logic aside, I did really love Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson's acting. They had terrific chemistry together and I hope to see more of them in season 2.

What If seems to follow on from Loki showing the viewer possible scenarios of how things might have played out if the movies, choices and everything had gone differently. I always had a love-hate relationship with Marvel's What if series. 

While I think the stories a What if series can tell can be more exciting than the canon stories the problem is that most of them are one-shots. Imagine reading a What if and being like ... damn I wonder what happens next? and Marvel is like "Sorry, that's all you get" which can lead to 'blue balls' of the highest order. 

However, sometimes, a What if story might be so popular that Marvel will continue it. This is exactly how Spider-girl (Peter Parker's Daughter) became a thing. She first showed up in "What If 

Sometime later, she had her own book and I get the feeling that might happen with the What if series coming to Disney plus that some of the "skits" for lack of a better word will become their own shows if they become popular enough. Sadly, the most popular one might be the Chadwick Boseman episodes but since the actor died, it'll probably be the last we see of him in any form.

But nevertheless, it'll be exciting to see some of these episodes ... characters ... plot points play again later in live action and add to the Marvel Universe proper. 

And I've noticed 3 things in the trailer that might do that 

1) Captain Carter 

2) The Marvel Zombies

3) Spider-Man as the Sorcerer Supreme

Let's Put a pin in Captain Carter for now. Marvel Zombies were first introduced in Ultimate Fantastic Four 22 and thanks to the Fantastic Four they appear to be dimension-hopping Marvel Zombies. The Marvel Zombies are connected to the Fantastic Four and they can leave their own reality to infect another reality. 

It would be my guess that a variant of Kang who is a descendant of Reed Richards has weaponized the Marvel Zombies and is using them to attack different parallel realities. I fully expect the Marvel Zombies to reshow up again later in live-action as demon minions that our new heroes will have to fight. 

Moving on to the next two points: Spider-Man as the Sorcerer Supreme and Captain Carter. Everybody knows about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse but what they might not know of Spider-Man is that it was teased that his powers might come from magic. 

See,  Peter Parker's Spider-Man met a man named Ezekiel that had all the powers of him but without the irradiated spider part

Ezekiel came to warn Peter of a new villain named Morlun, an energy vampire, and he had been feeding off the energy of Spider-MEN for centuries. And it forced Peter to ask the question... did Peter get his powers from magic or science?. Being the science nerd he is Peter bet on the science. Irradiating his blood even further causing it to be poisonous to Morlun.

Peter talks about how the Spider evolved with the radiation and that he was now stronger and different from any of the previous Spider-Men that Morlun had fed off before. And that was one reality, but with a multiverse, you have infinite possibilities, and maybe on Earth-616 our Peter chose the science. But who's to say on another Earth? What if he chooses Magic instead? Maybe both? Now it was revealed a bit later, Morlun was from a parallel dimension of vampires that feed off of Spider-Men from across realities and one of the sanctuaries for Peter was a place for Captain Britains. (yes, plural with an "S") This was the true plot, (comics version) of Spider-verse.

The Captain Britain Corps? I hope people can see a resemblance to Captain Carter's uniform?

At first glance, you probably think she's supposed to be Steve's replacement in her universe but to me she's an amalgamation of Captain Britain from the comics and Steve Roger's Captain America. And as I'm trying to point out, one of Captain Britain's jobs is to guard the multiverse. 

I strongly believe that with  Captain America (Steve Rogers version) now out of the MCU, this will be a good way to bring this version of Peggy Carter into the main MCU hence the rumors that she will appear in the Dr. Strange sequl Unfortunately, I think this means that the Spider-Man Sorcerer Supreme will die and will not cross over into live-action his death will add an emotional weight to the What If series that most of us probably won't suspect from an animated series. But as someone familiar with the What if series if you don't have beloved characters there 'just to die' or 'poke fun of'... just to troll the audience, what are we even doing? 😈  


Till next time true believers, see you all for season 2!

Marvel Studio's What If ...? Streams Weekly from August 11 on Disney Plus.