Season 2 of Marvel Studios' first animated series, What If...?, may still be a ways from hitting Disney+, but thanks to leaks, rumors, and pieces of merchandise that have been put out early, fans have a loose idea of what the season will be about.
Meet Kahhori, an Original MCU Character
The official Marvel website issued a press release regarding a new superhero debuting in What If...? Season 2. Kahhori is a young Mohawk woman who comes across the Tesseract back before the colonization of America. Check out an image of Kahhori below:
Marvel Studios worked closely with members of the Mohawk nation to ensure that Kahhori's tale was respectfully done and historically accurate. This includes historian Doug George, who praised the episode, calling it "remarkable" and "exceptional."
"“It tells a remarkable story from a Native-Mohawk perspective which is truly unique and historical, and will give the viewers a new, challenging and entertaining perspective on this land's first peoples. The story is dramatic, the characters fully realized, and the action sequences are breathtaking. The episode is exceptional in another sense--it is done with the complete cooperation of the Mohawk people from dialogue to adornment.”
The episode's writer Ryan Little also weighed in on the character and her story, noting the significance of the meaning Kahhori's behind name: "she stirs the forest."
“I had a wonderful writing mentor who worked extensively with the Indigenous community in upstate New York, and I was excited to draw on that experience to build an entirely original corner of the MCU with storylines for new Indigenous heroes written from a place of respect for past generations and optimism for future ones. Kahhori, pronounced ‘KAH-HORTI,’ is a real, Wolf Clan name, meaning ‘she stirs the forest’ or is someone who motivates those around her. In her debut adventure, Kahhori will have to live up to her name to recruit powerful allies into the fight to save her people and change the course of history forever.”
It's interesting that Little specifically said that the What If...? episode is Kahhori's "debut adventure," meaning the character could be primed for more storytelling in What If...? and possibly beyond.
Kahhori is the first hero to wholly originate in the MCU, without any ties to the comics. While May Calamawy's Layla El-Faouly aka Scarlet Scarab from Moon Knight was partly original, she was still inspired by the comic-originated Marlene from pages of the comic books.
Will the MCU Invent More Characters?
Typically, Marvel Studios chooses to draw from the comics for its characters and stories. But every once and a while, the MCU introduces a brand-new character who never appeared in publishing.
The most notable and obvious example of this is Phil Coulson, the SHIELD agent who was prominently featured back in Phase 1. Other original characters include Sylvie, Luis, and Xu Xialing. Plus, as mentioned above, although there is a Scarlet Scarab in the books, the version seen in Moon Knight, is, for all intents and purposes, a hero created specifically for the MCU.
With What If...? bringing in Kahhori, it's interesting to ponder whether Marvel will fabricate additional superheroes for the animated series, and perhaps do the same for their live-action offerings.
The comics are undeniably rich with an incredibly diverse cast of characters, but sometimes, the studio might need to utilize their own creative juices in the event that there's no one from the books who fits the bill for the story being told.
Marvel Studios' What If...? is currently without a release date, although rumors point to it dropping in early 2024.