Exclusive: Marvel Studios Producing 'What If' TV Series For Disney+

We have exclusively learned that Marvel Studios will be producing a new television series for the Disney+ streaming service based on the popular What If comic book series. The new animated show will be overseen by Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios, but the stories will not be canon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hit the jump to learn more about the What If TV series.

What If TV Series Coming To Disney+

Like the comics, this animated anthology series will provide stories that explore how the Marvel Cinematic Universe might have unfolded if key moments in its history had not occurred as they did in recognized canon. For example, one of the episodes will adapt What If? Vol.1 #47, which explored the idea of "What if Loki had found the hammer of Thor?"

The idea is that they could potentially have some of the main actors from the live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe movies reprise their roles in the animated series, which would imagine alternate possibilities from another dimension. The time commitment for voice acting is a whole lot less than for live-action productions, which could accommodate some of the biggest Marvel talent. The series would function as an anthology, just like the comic book series, with each episode tackling a different premise.

I have confirmed the information above with three separate sources. Currently, it's unclear if they will use any other storylines from the comics for inspiration other than the one mentioned above. It's possible that many of the scenarios will be entirely new, and we know that they will be based on what we have seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and not the comic canon.

The Crazy and Ridiculous World Of What If?

The What If comic book series launched in February 1977 and has continued in runs off and on since then, accumulating almost 200 issues in its 9 volume run. Some of the concepts were interesting ways to tell literally impossible stories (like, What if the X-Men died on their first mission?), some were fan service to solve great nerd arguments (like "what if Venom possessed The Punisher?"), and others were just so insanely weird and ridiculous (like "what if Iron Man was trapped in the time of King Arthur?"). Here are some examples of premises from comic books:

What if Captain America hadn't vanished during World War II?  What if Spider-Man didn't become a crimefighter? What if Thanos joined the Avengers? What if Captain America was found in 1983? What if Professor X had become Juggernaut? What if Wolverine had killed the Hulk? What if The Hulk always has Bruce Banner's brain? What if the Avengers defeated everybody? What if Flash Thompson, Betty Brant, and John Jameson had been bitten by the radioactive spider instead of Spider-Man? What if Phoenix had not died? What if the Fantastic Four hadn't gotten their powers? What if Captain America was elected President? What if J. Jonah Jameson adopted Spider-Man? What if Cable had destroyed The X-Men? What if the world knew Daredevil is blind? What if Namor grew up on land with his human father? What if Daredevil became an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.? What if Elektra had lived? What if Spider-Man Had Rescued Gwen Stacey? What if Aunt May had been killed instead of Uncle Ben? What if Jessica Jones had joined The Avengers? What if the Avengers had become pawns of Korvac?

I used to love to read these comics as a kid. For an example of how ridiculous it could actually get, one issue imagined What If The Original Marvel Bullpen Had Become The Fantastic Four?, showing a scenario where Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Flo Steinberg, and Sol Brodsky became the Fantastic superhero family. You can see the cover of that issue pictured above.

The Future of Marvel on Streaming Is Bright

When I talked with Kevin Feige a couple of weeks back while he was promoting Captain Marvel, he excitedly told me that the platform of Disney+ would allow them to tell MCU stories differently:

"So it's pretty exciting to be 10 plus years into the MCU and have an entirely new outlet to tell stories with new characters, with existing characters. And the way we like to do nineties action movie, political thrillers, heist movies, you hear us talk about this all the time, and now we get to do play with a medium even more in a multi-episode arc, which we're excited about."

The potential of the What If tv series will allow Marvel to tell even stranger and more out of box stories that couldn't ever be accomplished in live-action. I think this is what will make it interesting to both hardcore MCU fans and even the more casual fanbase.

The future of Marvel television on streaming is looking pretty great. Disney has formally announced that Loki is getting his own mini-series on Disney+ with Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as the god of mischief. And while it's yet to be officially confirmed by Disney, we know that Kevin Feige will also be producing a couple of other live-action television miniseries for the service, one focusing on Falcon/Winter Soldier and the other about Scarlett Witch and Vision.

Last month it was revealed that Jeph Loeb would be overseeing new Marvel series on the Hulu streaming service, including Marvel's M.O.D.O.K., Marvel's Hit-Monkey, Marvel's Tigra & Dazzler Show, Marvel's Howard the Duck,  and a crossover special Marvel's The Offenders with a list of very talented writers and producers including Kevin Smith, Patton Oswalt, Chelsea HandlerErica Rivinoja, Dave Willis, and more.

We have no further information on who is creatively involved in the What If television series, but I expect that an announcement will be made either at the Investors Meeting on April 11, 2019, or maybe later in the Summer at San Diego Comic-Con International, which runs July 18-21, 2019.