Picture this….billionaire industrialist Tony Stark is riding in a covered Jeep through a foreign desert, when suddenly, bullet holes begin piercing the side of the vehicle. He bails, and watches his car explode. He tries to call for help, but is interrupted by the arrival of a missile hitting the sand — with the logo of HIS OWN COMPANY printed on it. That’s when his life is saved….by Killmonger??
In the 1980s, Marvel began publishing a series called “What If…?” It was used to explore alternate outcomes to storylines that had just ended, or explore what characters would do under different circumstances. The host was a spectral being called The Watcher, who does what his label says…he watches the multiverse, and observes many variations of events, but is not allowed to interfere.
The What If… series was printed through the 1990s and asked a lot of questions. What if Spider-Man never abandoned the “Alien Costume” that became Venom? What if Professor X was Juggernaut? What if Wolverine was Lord of the Vampires? In some cases What If… stories were strong enough to blossom into their own series. What If… #105, which wondered what would happen if Spider-Man had a daughter that took after his profession, was spun off into the Spider-Girl series that went on for over a hundred issues.
Now the MCU is deep and rich enough that we can start spinning What If… tales about it, and that’s just what Disney is doing. Like the comic, the What If… animated series will explore a different life path for a superhero or team of heroes every episode, and The Watcher will tell the tale. What if the Guardians of the Galaxy saved New York instead of the Avengers? What if Peggy Carter was Captain America? What if Howard the Duck….well, we don’t know yet, but we saw him.
Marvel’s What If…? will begin streaming on Disney+ August 11.