Disney+ has done wonders for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the various streaming series’ that have been made because of it, incredible and special stories have been told which may not have seen the light otherwise. But besides the increased frequency of content, there was another big milestone achieved: Marvel Studios’ first animated show, What If…?.
The show took full advantage of the Multiverse that had just been opened up wide thanks to Loki and showed audiences multiple timelines where the events in the MCU went a little differently. Guided by the cosmic being The Watcher, fans were able to witness the stories of Captain Carter, T’Challa as Star-Lord, Infinity Ultron, and plenty more.
The reaction to the show was hit or miss, but there’s no denying how unique the new venture was for the MCU.
Thanks to Emmy submissions being revealed, it now seems that Marvel Studios has officially chosen which episode of What If…? is it’s favorite of the bunch: “What If… Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?”
What If...? Up For Emmys Consideration
In an interview with Variety, composer Laura Karpman discussed her work on Marvel Studios’ What If…? and what made the Doctor Strange-centric episode so special.
While working on the series’ score, the composer revealed how she used many of the original characters’ themes from the films. However, for the show, she ”filtered” them through her own harmonic language—after all, they had to be similar, yet different, for the Variants holding the spotlight:
“Somewhere between modernism and contemporary film scoring… these things exist in the MCU, but we find a different angle, a different way to tell the story.”
Marvel Studios revealed it will be submitting the big Doctor Strange episode for Emmy consideration as the show’s strongest installment. In that reality, Stephen Strange loses Christine Palmer instead of his hands like in the MCU movie. Despite trying as hard as he can to reverse it, he can’t—in fact, he dooms his entire reality.
Karpman noted how the Doctor Strange episode “is the most personal [and] poignant of the bunch:"
“That particular episode is the most personal, poignant… he uses his powers to undo the mistakes, so it’s a tragic love story. My job was to try and capture what it is to love and not ever be able to find that love.”
As for some more methods to her musical madness, Karpman revealed how The Watcher is represented musically by the sounds of shattered glass and a choir singing phrases backward—such as “what if”, “Marvel”, and “Stan Lee.”
All of the categories in which Marvel Studios submitted What If…? for consideration can be found below:
Outstanding Animated Program
- Brad Winderbaum, Executive Producer
- Kevin Feige, Executive Producer
- Victoria Alongso, Executive Producer
- Louis D'Esposito, Executive Producer
- Bryan Andrews, Director and Executive Producer
- A.C. Bradley, Executive Producer and Head Writer
- Carrie Wassenaar, Producer
Individual Achievement in Animation - Character Design:
- Ryan Meinerding, Head of Visual Development and Character Design
Individual Achievement in Animation - Color
- Kristina Vardazaryan, Art Director
Individual Achievement in Animation - Production Design
- Paul Lasaine, Production Design
Individual Achievement in Animation - Storyboard
- Aram Sarkisian, Storyboard Artist
Individual Achievement in Animation - Background Design
- Cynthia Halley, ASsistant Art Director / 2D Layout Lead
Casting For a Drama Series
- Sarah Halley Finn, CSA
- Jason B. Stamey, CSA
Character Voice-Over Performance
- Chadwick Boseman (Star Lord T'Challa)
- Jeffrey Wright (The Watcher)
- Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter)
Single-Camera Picture Editing For a Drama
- Graham Fisher
- Joel Fisher
Main Title Design
- John LePore
- Peter Eszenyi
- Ryan Uhrich
- Bryan Andrews
- Doug Appleton
Music Composition For a Series (Original Dramatic Score)
- Laura Karpman
Original Main Title Theme Music
- Laura Karpman
Sound Editing For a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) And Animation
- Mac Smith, Sound Supervisor
- Bill Rudolph, Sound Editor
- Alyssa Nevarez, Sound Editor
- Cheryl Nardi, Sound Editor
- Anele Onyekwere, Music Editor
- Tom Kramer, Music Editor
- Shelley Roden, Foley Artist
- John Roesch, Foley Artist
Sound Mixing For a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation
- Scott Lewis, Re-Recording Mixer
- Danielle Dupre, Re-Recording Mixer
Writing For a Drama Series
- Matthew Chauncey
What If... Doctor Strange Is the Best?
It’s no surprise that the Strange Supreme What If...? episode got the pick by Marvel Studios. Not only did it center on one of the most popular MCU characters right now, who is currently the star of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but it was truly one of the most personal and focused installments in the series.
Even fans reacted well to the tale, with many citing it as one of their favorites. The only other one that would likely be in the running is Infinity Ultron’s introduction.
But could What If…? actually win an Emmy? Well, leaning into the nature of the show, anything’s possible. With this being Marvel Studios’ first animated project, there’s no previously set precedent to go off of.
For fans who loved the first season, they’ll be happy to know how the second set of episodes should arrive at some point this year. While no release window has been given, a premiere sometime after She-Hulk finishes could be a good bet—there’s a fairly large content gap at the end of 2022 that could use some filling up.
All episodes of Season 1 of What If...? are streaming now on Disney+.