The MCU Multiverse has been blown wide open. What ultimately started in Loki in Summer 2021, when Tom Hiddleston's trickster and Sylvie broke the scared timeline, is now the playground in which Marvel Studios find themselves playing.
Projects on the way such as Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are confirmed to involve the Multiverse in some way, and the recently completed Season 1 of What If...? bet big on the potential of these new infinite realities.
The Disney+ animated series introduced fans to characters like Doctor Strange Supreme and Captain Carter, and it brought together a band of heroes to take on a Multiversal threat in Infintity Ultron. The project debuted to great success and just saw the arrival of its Marvel Studios: Assembled episode that broke down how the show came to be.
It is not a stretch to say that the Multiverse is going to be an anchor for the MCU for years to come, and the Marvel brass are just as high on that protect as fans.
Winderbaum Loves the Multiverse
In the What If...? episode of Marvel Studios: Assembled, series producer Brad Winderbaum spoke on the potential of the Multiverse, saying it presents a "whole new idea of what the physical reality of the universe is." He also explained that it will be something that going forward will "be explored in other ways" in the MCU:
"What If...? gives us an opportunity to tell stories with a whole new idea of what the physical reality of the universe is. That is something that's going to be explored in other ways moving forward in our films."
Diving into Season 1 of the animated Marvel project, Winderbaum brought up that the team thought "it might be [their] first and last season" so they needed to "tell a complete story in those ten, now nine, episodes:"
"We set out to make Season 1 believing that it might be our first and last season, so we wanted to tell a complete story in those ten, now nine, episodes."
The producer went into the difficulty of telling stories in infinite realities, revealing that when they "got greenlit for that second season," they had to really nail down "why [they] would keep telling stories in this fashion."
He admitted that the team is really trying to nail down "that central thread" to "make it feel like essential viewing for the MCU," citing the "relationship between Captain Carter and The Watcher" from season one as an example of something they will strive to hit again in season two:
"When we got greenlit for that second season, we had to really look at the characters and really justify why we would keep telling stories in this fashion. Obviously, you can spin out any number of these stories, and it's exciting to do so. But we're searching for that central thread that could make it feel like essential viewing for the MCU, and what emerged was the relationship between Captain Carter and The Watcher, which is something that evolves in a grand fashion in the second season of the show."
Marvel Studios' Good Intentions
It is good to hear that Brad Winderbaum and the Marvel Studios brass are really thinking about the Multiverse and storytelling within it.
With infinite realities, it could be very easy to tell any story and not have any of the stakes feel real. However, Marvel seems to be taking a much more deliberate approach with their Multiversal adventures in the MCU. They need a reason for telling the story they are going to tell rather than just pumping them out to hit some arbitrary number.
One portion of Winderbaum's quotes here that is exciting is the mention of that vital Captain Carter/the Watcher relationship found in Season 1 of What If...? and how they will continue to strive for more storytelling like that.
With the vastness of the Multiverse, a lot of stories can feel very inconsequential, but the Marvel Studios team is really pushing to create new things that truly feel essential to the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon. From this, it is not hard to see that these characters introduced in What If..? may not be stranded in the animated series.
Fans have yet to see in what way What If...? should be considered "essential viewing," but now knowing the mindset that the minds behind the project are working with, then one can glean that this would not be the last time we see these characters or feel the repercussions of the events that transpired in the series.
What If...?'s Marvel Studios: Assembled episode is available to stream on Disney+ now.