Legend has it that the folks at DC Comics wanted Christopher Reeve’s Superman and Michael Keaton’s Batman to meet in a movie. However, this crossover was ultimately rejected because the executives didn’t believe audiences would understand the film, especially since they must have seen both the Batman and Superman film series. Fast forward to 2021, and we’re at a point in the general acceptance of comic book storytelling where we’re reaching the deconstruction stage. From stories like Watchmen To The boys To Invincible, we get adaptations of “What if superheroes weren’t good, really?” stories. by marvel What if…? is similar, but rather than deconstructing the history of superheroes, it shows just how versatile they are.

First of all, a little cleaning. We’ll have reviews for each episode on the day they release. These reviews will have spoiler-free introductions, then delve into the episode in subsequent sections. This review, of the first three episodes, contains precisely no spoilers and is more of a guide to the concept of alternate reality comic book storytelling. Marvel Studios expects its audiences, including mainstream moviegoers, to not only follow the film’s continuity, but also the idea that there are endless alternate realities where the same stories play out in very different ways.

Thanks to Marketing for Marvel’s What if…?, we know there will be some serial continuity as well. Still, the real beauty of this series is that it can give the canon-obsessed even more continuity or just be unique and enjoyable 30-minute MCU adventures. At the very least, like the last Marvel appearance by the late Chadwick Boseman, the What if…? the series is a gift for that alone. However, this series does not disappoint. In fact, it shows that Marvel’s dominance can continue for a long time, as their stories are very remixable.

How Marvel What if…? Arrived at

Image via Marvel Studios

The seed for this show was planted in the Marvel Bullpen in 1975. Former Marvel editor Roy Thomas envisioned the show for a bit of freedom. Since then there have been many volumes of What if? comics, including stories and characters that have found their way into the continuity of the mainstream of Marvel. (So ​​the chance for an MCU figure variant to debut on this show and return in a movie is very high.) Yet what these stories give fans are very high stakes, and, incongruously, none. real tension about their favorite characters. It’s also a place where Marvel storytellers can have fun.

Like Thomas said SyFy.com:

“I found another way to deal with the main characters without having to coordinate my stories with those of others, which I wasn’t particularly in the mood for at the time…. With What if?, I would have a different cast, even a different artist practically every issue, and the regular continuity of Marvel would not be affected…. I included the idea that the Observer would be the narrator, as that would tie into the ongoing Marvel Universe.

What Thomas created was something very strange. He could tell a story about Spider-Man, and it didn’t “count” as “real,” in terms of what was going on in the Spider-Man books at the time. However, when something terrible happened to her, it would still be as shocking and disturbing as it would have been in a regular comic book.

Is the show part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Marvel's What If Nick Fury Hawkeye Jeremy Renner Series Image via Marvel Studios

As everything that Marvel Studios produces has been part of the MCU, this series is no different. It includes actors reprising their roles, sometimes exactly, movies. And thanks to the events of the Season 1 finale of Loki, we know the Marvel multiverse is alive and well. So while these stories don’t fall into the once-sacred timeline, they are part of the MCU, or perhaps more accurately, the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse. What makes this exciting is that like the comics that inspired it, we can get spinoffs or crossovers in the live-action side of things. Just like in the comics, Marvel’s What if…? is a testing ground and an incubator of excellent ideas for the future.

Not only that, it may already be in the works. We know the Marvel Zombies Universe is going to appear in What if…? Maybe during Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, which began its life as a “horror” film, will find there the good Doctor disembarking for a sequence of the film! Maybe one way to bring back original Avengers actors like Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, or Robert Downey Jr. in their costumes would be to introduce a variation on them in a future movie? The point is, while the possibilities were pretty limitless before, they are even more so now.

Yet the episodes I screened have already shown that they are just as much a standalone experience. We see different versions of familiar stories from the movies that don’t need a follow-up no matter how rewarding future stories can be. If only you like Captain America: The First Avenger and poke fun at the rest of the MCU, there’s a What if…? episode for you.

What if…? debuts on August 11, 2021 with new episodes to watch every Wednesday on Disney +.

What do you think of Marvel What if…? Do you like alternate reality stories or do you think it’s too much looking back for phase 4? Share your thoughts, theories, reviews and the stories you hope to see in the comments below.

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he’s loved this medium ever since. He is the galaxy’s greatest star pilot, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book “What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More” is available in print on Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.