We’ve spent the past 13 years neck-deep in the increasingly convoluted reality of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As time and stories have carried forth, we’ve delved deeper and deeper into the habit of theorization. We’ve pored over every tiny clue and proverbial Easter egg to determine the parameters of possibility within this enchanting reality. But the latest venue from Marvel Studios will be, if nothing else, a little break from routine. The animated series What If…? will itself exceed the bounds of the MCU’s established canon. Everything we see onscreen will operate outside the franchise’s ongoing story. And although this may mean little room for grander theories, it does suggest that things will get weirder. Which is always nice!
The first trailer for What If…? sets familiar characters in unfamiliar situations. We see Tony Stark rescued from a warhead by a superhuman Killmonger. We see Stephen Strange fall into a physics-warping void. And we see T’Challa teaming up with none other than Yondu. (Not quite the match we would have anticipated, but that’s the point of the series, isn’t it?)
As the trailer’s voiceover informs us, “Every universe is different. Each one unique.” A little redundant, but we get the picture. Basically, the trailer establishes What If…? as a peek into the infinite parallel realities that encompass our favorite Marvel characters; we’ll earn this peek thanks to the Watchers, the cosmic voyeurs who document all of reality across time, space, and beyond.
Even more exciting, we’ll get to spend some time with comic book fixtures who haven’t claimed stardom in the MCU just yet. Namely, Howard the Duck, whom you can spot quickly just shy of the trailer’s 1:00 mark.
More than anything else, What If…? looks to provide Marvel Studios an opportunity to experiment with stories a bit too strange, silly, or otherwise risky for their usual brand. Not that we’d mind getting kookier on the big screen. But we’ll take What If…? for now! The animated series, complete with the voice talents of the MCU cast, will hit Disney+ on August 11.
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