While anything is possible in Marvel’s upcoming Disney+ series What If…? including the assembling of some Avengers, the project is assembling quite a crew of its own with talented creatives who are bringing the stories to life.
Executive producer Brad Winderbaum (Thor: Ragnarok, Black Widow), head writer A.C. Bradley (Arrow, Tales of Arcadia franchise), and director Bryan Andrews (Avengers: Endgame, Samurai Jack) make a dream team that’s bringing familiar Marvel Cinematic Universe tales to life in a new and interesting way.
“I hope people are just ready to have a good time,” Winderbaum muses, warning that they’ll both “laugh and cry” during the animated series’ rollout which includes Jeffrey Wright‘s narrator The Watcher. Some of those tears will definitely be designated for Chadwick Boseman as the late Black Panther actor makes his last MCU appearance as T’Challa in the series. As previously revealed, Boseman lends his vocals to four of the season’s installments.
“It was so fun to watch actors who had portrayed these roles before in live-action, come in and realize that they could wash their hands of what they did before and do something brand new,” Winderbaum continues. “There was a certain level of euphoria that came with that, and I think everyone had a really good time knocking down their sandcastle and rebuilding it.”
One character he’s particularly excited for viewers to meet is a version of Chris Hemsworth‘s God of Thunder. “Just wait until you meet ‘Party Thor,’” Winderbaum enthuses. “That character is unbelievable.” These are just a few of the fan-favorite characters who are making animated appearances as several MCU stars reprise their roles.
Bradley recalls getting collaborative with Samuel L. Jackson as she asked him to come up with an outgoing voicemail greeting for his character Nick Fury during one of the recording sessions. “He laughed, and he went, ‘Okay, I got it. I got it.’ And it was, ‘You know who this is, you know what to do.’”
“I was like, ‘Why did I not take my phone out and record this?’” Bradley says with a laugh. She also teases that she got Michael Douglas to say something interesting during his recordings for Hank Pym’s What If…? appearance. “I did awkwardly ask the legend, Michael Douglas, to say, ‘that goth kid,’ she reveals.
The animated What If…? continues to expand upon the multiverse concept that has been permeating the MCU through its last several titles including the most recent series, Loki, which saw the God of Mischief (Tom Hiddleston) and his female counterpart Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) free the timeline.
The splintering of various timelines opens up favorite stories to new interpretations starting with the First Avenger. Instead of Steve Rogers taking up the Captain America mantle, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) has her moment in the spotlight as Captain Carter, the first super-soldier.
“Each episode set out to be its own story. Its own genre. Have its own tone. So we have comedy, we have drama, we have a spy thriller,” Bradley shares. “Hopefully, there’s something for everyone. And one of our goals is also to include as many MCU beloved characters, locations, and iconic moments as possible.”
Helping achieve the familiarity through visuals is Andrews who teases: “It’s fun being able to play with the something that we all know and recreate that image,” he says. “I’ve played around a lot with the action in the Marvel movies that I’ve worked on. It has been a lot of fun bringing new action to the [MCU].”
Whether that new action will extend beyond animation will remain to be seen, but Winderbaum isn’t shutting the possibility out. “All I can say is that the potential is always there,” he says of the chances some What If…? characters could pop up in other Marvel projects. “It’s still part of this giant narrative and just like any project that’s come before, could eventually ricochet with another project. That potential exists in What If…? as well.”
See what all the hype is about when the series debuts on Disney+ and stay tuned each Wednesday for new episodes.
Marvel’s What If…?, Series Premiere, Wednesday, August 11, Disney+