Marvel is reportedly working on a new animated series for the upcoming Disney+ streaming service based on the What If series of comics that explored the bizarre alternate versions of the Marvel universe, according to SlashFilm.
The What If comics were one-shot adventures that lived outside of the comics canon, posing questions like “What if Loki had found the hammer of Thor?” The Disney+ series will operate under a similar anthology conceit, and each episode will offer a new take on how the events of Marvel’s existing 21-plus movie canon might have altered.
One of the big issues with Marvel’s TV shows like ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is that they were always forced to be reactive stories to the far more important canon of the films, and they were never able to take any big swings in the overarching story because it would interfere with the bigger plotlines of the movies. Moving over to a hypothetical “what if” framework would allow Marvel to get as weird as it wants without ruining the next Avengers film.
The animated format could also allow for some of Marvel’s bigger stars to make appearances due to the lower lift of recording voice lines compared to the cost and time constraints of getting stars like Robert Downey Jr. on TV show sets for a week or two.
Like the already-announced Loki series (starring Tom Hiddleston) and the rumored Vision / Scarlet Witch and Falcon / Winter Soldier shows, the upcoming What If series is said to be developed by Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios. It’s the same division that handles the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films (as opposed to the ABC and Hulu shows, which are under the Marvel Television group), so that should help it get a boost when it comes to working with the existing Marvel films.