Can the charm be retained when things go "big picture"?
Marvel’s What If…? debuted 44 years ago as a comic. Exploring the precedence of things taking a small turn with significant results, What If…? tales were often set up by Uatu the Watcher (remember those guys from Guardians of the Galaxy 2?) introducing the shifted alternate premise, different from what fans have come to know.
While the idea of something as wildly explorative as What If…? making it to television has seemed unlikely, apparently anything’s possible on Disney+.
Except for maybe Star-Lord coming face to face with Luke Skywalker…
What If…? follows hot on the heels of Loki’s multiverse spawning incident, creating room to explore the consequences of Sylvie’s actions. And while the idea of the multiverse was known to be a big part of Phase 4 given that the Doctor Strange sequel is titled “In the Multiverse of Madness,” What If…? adds a substantial amount of weight to these alternate universes.
It’s a fair argument that much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) time on Disney+ has been building up to What If…?
Outside of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the MCU’s television presence has largely dealt with the idea of a fixed reality. Wanda’s actions in WandaVision, and her comic history, both lend heavily to the idea that reality, as we have known it, may no longer be the same with the MCU. And if her reality-bending wasn’t already a sign of impending doom, the revelations of Loki makes it clear that things may soon be a tad beyond Nick Fury’s pay grade.
After all, the official synopsis for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness reads:
After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Dr Stephen Strange continues his research on the Time Stone. But an old friend-turned-enemy puts an end to his plans and causes Strange to unleash unspeakable evil.
But beyond all of the cool and impressive big picture stuff, the real magic of What If…? lies at the heart of each individual episode. Delving into the moments where a differentiating decision is made, the significant outcome of seemingly minor choices is blown into interesting explorations of alternate realities. And if that isn’t the coolest part of being a comic fan, then what is?
What If…? is now available on Disney+ for your viewing pleasure!
Spoiler free review ends here… Proceed to the next page at your own risk. You’ve been warned.