The year 2021 has been a big one for the MCU as Marvel Studios has proved its ability to tell stories in a serialized format on Disney+ due to the success of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
And even though Loki, Marvel's third live-action Disney+ series, is set to debut on June 9, live-action isn't all that Marvel has planned for the mouse house's streaming service.
What If...? is Marvel's first animated series for Disney+ that intends to revisit familiar stories from the studio's 23 film library and explore what could happen if a single story element is changed.
As promotion begins to ramp up ahead of its summer release, fans are finally learning more about the origins of this unique series.
KEVIN FEIGE UNDERSTOOD THE POTENTIAL FOR THE WHAT IF...? SERIES
In the Summer 2021 issue of Disney’s D23 Magazine obtained by The Direct, Brad Winderbaum, the executive producer of What If...? who has previously worked on Marvel Studios movies like Thor: Ragnarok and Ant-Man, shared that the show was one of the first greenlit for Disney+ and that the chance to make Marvel shows for the streaming platform "really got [their] creative juices flowing."
"I've been primarily a live-action film producer, but about three-ish years ago, when Disney+ was a glint in the studio's eye, Kevin told us we might have an opportunity to make shows for the service. And that, obviously, was very exciting to all the producers at Marvel. It really got our creative juices flowing."
Windrbaum revealed that it was his initial idea that the What If...? comic book series could and should be adapted for television. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige reacted very positively to Winderbaum's pitch and "instantly understood the idea and how cool it could be."
"I thought, 'We can revisit some of the most iconic scenes we've done in the films, reimagine them, and see how events could play out differently if you knocked a different domino over.' Once I pulled into my driveway, I started texting Kevin about how it should be an animated series and why it was so exciting. His answer was, 'All right. Let's talk about it tomorrow.' And the rest is history. Kevin instantly understood the idea and saw how cool it could be."
Winderbaum also contacted storyboard artist Bryan Andrews to help with ideas for the show to which those at Disney+ "received very positively."
"We threw some ideas against the wall and we created an animatic, which almost became like a pitch reel for the show. And then Kevin and I showed that to the folks at Disney+, where it was received very positively."
WHAT IF...? IS THE ULTIMATE CREATIVE OUTLET FOR MCU STORYTELLING
Even though What If...? was the first series approved for Disney+, an animated show is a whole other undertaking in comparison to live-action.
Details have been few and far between, but fans have received one trailer for the series, as well as images featuring Doctor Strange, Agent Carter as Captain Carter, and more.
The storytelling potential is limitless considering the ever-growing MCU library. A show such as this opens the door for creative choices and alternative character exploration without interfering with MCU canon and its overarching story.
What If...? is set to release on Disney+ in August 2021.