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What…If? (2021) – First Three Episodes Review – A Fun New Marvel Show With Lots of Potential

August 10, 2021

Quick Thoughts  – The first three episodes of What If…? prove the show is a fun experiment that opens up the MCU world to different storylines. 

After watching the first three episodes of What If…? I’m definitely excited to see more because I love what Marvel is doing with the show, and how they’re handling the aftermath of the Loki finale that opened up a world of timelines. There is a freedom to the episodes, as creator A.C. Bradley is able to tell thousands of the different stories that feature characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s also cool that many of the actors do the voicework, which makes everything seem more official and part of the canon. It helps the Marvel boss Kevin Feige is onboard making sure the actors, creators, and animators get as much support as possible to make this an A+ product. Here’s how creator A.C Bradley breaks down the series

“When it came to creating these episodes and which characters we wanted to make sure we gave them diversity. I was not allowed to do just 10 episodes of Tony Stark, although I could’ve. It was kind of making sure we represent as many of the first three phases of Marvel as humanly possible and giving room for cameos while bringing back as many of the actors. The only other mandate was, “Don’t do what’s in the movies,” and “Have as much fun.” Show Marvel and show the fandom how big and vast and weird the multiverse can get.”

The first episode focuses on what would happen if Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) took the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in Captain America: The First Avenger. It’s a lot of fun to watch Carter battle Hydra, and see what happens when a woman takes a super serum that was meant for a man. You can tell that Bradley has an affinity for her as she’s said “She’s (Carter) the woman who was not supposed to be in the room. She’s the woman who is supposed to be on the sidelines, pining for Steve Rogers. And we’re like, “No. We’re gonna show a woman who knows her worth, and sees how that changes the world.” It’s a neat idea, and there is a welcome dose of wish fulfillment in seeing Carter take the hero role and get her time to shine as a superhero.

 It would be a shame to spoil the other episodes (the trailers have already shown way too much), just know that they involve surprise cameos, a decent amount of destruction, and some really cool moments that tweak and change what we’ve seen so far in the MCU. When you think about it, it’s a brilliant idea because everything can be canon because they exist in the multiverse. This idea gives the episodes more importance because they aren’t unofficial “what if” scenarios that feel like fan fiction, they are official MCU approved stories that utilize the voicework of most of the actors. 

To top everything off, the animation by Stephan Franck is excellent, as he drew inspiration from Lady and Tramp (1955), Norman Rockwell, and Tom Lovell to create a look that is “kind of heroic, hyper-realized, super-idealized look that feels iconic” while not being “pushed or cartoony.” Also, they went out of their way to make the 3D animation look like 2D animation, and the end result is unique and somewhat old school. 

Final thoughts: The first three episodes of What…If? are a lot of fun, and it will be neat to see where this series goes (a second season is already confirmed!). Let’s hope Luis (Michael Pena) gets his own Ant-Man spinoff episode!

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