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Marvel’s “What If…?” Interview: Making the Multiverse

Marvel Studios is releasing their very first animated series What If…? The show is an exciting twist on the traditional Marvel characters that we all know and love. Dive into the multiverse and watch What If…? August 11 on Disney+!

Brandon Davis of comicbook.com sits down with some of the What If…? cast and crew to talk about the series!

Here’s the scoop on Marvel’s What If…?!

What If…? Cast and Crew

Captain Carter
Captain Carter in Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF…? exclusively on Disney+. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Jeffrey Wright is the voice of “The Watcher”. Fans will know Wright for his work on Boardwalk Empire and The Goldfinch.

Bryan Andrews is the Director of What If…? Andrews has also worked on other Marvel Studios productions like Avengers: Endgame and Guardians of the Galaxy.

A.C. Bradley is the Head Writer for What If…? Bradley has also worked on the DC show Arrow.

Brad Winderbaum is the Executive Producer of What If…? Winderbaum is also known for his work on other Marvel productions including Thor: Ragnarok and Black Widow.

The Inspiration For What If…?

Dr. Strange
Doctor Strange in Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF…? exclusively on Disney+. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Brandon Davis asks, “What inspired “What If…?” and why is now the time to dive into an animated multiverse story like this, on Disney+?”

Brad Winderbaum laughs, “It was a stroke of inspiration that happened on the drive home from work one day. And I found myself in my driveway just texting with Kevin Feige, back and forth, about what this show could be.”

Winderbaum explains that, “It was obvious from the beginning that it needed to be animated.” This is because of, “All the locations and sets and characters and elements” from the MCU they wanted to revisit.

Brad adds, “It had to kind of be in a medium that would allow us an infinite scope of whatever we could conceive of.”

Meet The Watcher

The Watcher
The Watcher (voiced by Jeffrey Wright) in Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF…? exclusively on Disney+. ©Marvel Studios 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Jeffrey Wright plays The Watcher in Marvel’s What If…? and introduces us to his character. He says The Watcher first appeared in a 1963 Marvel comic that described him as, “something like the most dramatic being in all the known universe.”

Wright calls The Watcher a, “Fairly dramatic guy. He’s a fairly powerful guy. He’s kind of overseeing, uh, the entire, uh, MCU.” Jeffrey Wright also says, “He plays somewhat of a Rod Sterling role, uh, here. Kind of narrating, kind of not.”

Wright adds that The Watcher is, “Just kind of living vicariously through these characters, these stories, this mythology.”

What Fans Can Expect From What If…?

Nick Fury & Hawkeye
(L-R): Nick Fury and Hawkeye in Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF…? exclusively on Disney+. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

What If…? Director Bryan Andrews tells fans that “It’s an anthology” adding, “just like those Twilight Zones back in the day.”

Andrews adds, “You might get an episode that’s comedy, you might get an episode that’s kind of dramatic and serious, like, super emotional, full of action.”

Bryan Andrews explains that, “This gave us an opportunity to apply a little taste of a variety of genres into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you know what I mean?  So, one can maybe goes a little bit darker.  One gets, like, a, even funnier, you know what I mean?”

He excitedly talks about how much freedom there is with the series. He says,

It’s written in the book itself.  Just what if?  You know, what if this, what if that?  Things are so different, so weird, so crazy.  It just opens the floodgates.  We can do whatever we wanted to, and that was quite exhilarating, you know, to be able to play in that way.

Bryan Andrews

Brad Winderbaum also adds that What If…? takes place after Loki so, “The multiverse has now erupted in every possible direction.” He adds, “What If…? gives us a chance to explore that.”

Finding The What Ifs

Marvel's What If poster
©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Head Writer A.C. Bradley shares her process for creating stories in What If…? She says, “When it came to creating an episode, like, figuring out the story of “What If…?”, the last thing we thought about was the what if.”

She explains, “I think what we all looked for was what’s the heart behind the hero?  How do we get behind the shield?  What’s a part of the story we haven’t told before?” Bradley adds,

For me, these characters are iconic.  We recognize their silhouettes.  We recognize their tag-lines.  But what’s important is how we connect to them. “

A.C. Bradley

Bradley says, “Luckily, we have The Watcher to be our guide ‘cause he, too, is looking for a connection.  ‘Cause that’s really what it-drove everything, was character.  And then we kind of figured out the what if.”

Remembering A King

Marvel's What If poster
©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Chadwick Boseman voices T’Challa in an episode of What If…? Remembering the late actor, Bryan Andrews says, “It was amazing being able to work with him.”

He shares that the What If…? team only worked with Boseman briefly since the episodes are short compared to full length movies. Still Andrews says, “We had him for a little moment, to do our thing, and we’re so grateful for it.”

Andrews gushes, “We were so excited ‘cause we really, really, really wanted to work with Chadwick and we just loved Black Panther. And we love him.” Bryan explains that, “None of us knew what he was going through at the time, of course.” He adds that Boseman, “Was excited” to play this version of T’Challa because “he could lighten it up, he could get a little bit more jokey with it.”

Jeffrey Wright comments on Chadwick Boseman as well. He says, “What we all discovered, um, was that the kind of mythic quality that he brought to these performances, kind of paled, in some way, to the mythic quality that was his life.  In terms of, uh, um, the way that he was goin’ about doin’ this work, um, the grace, the dignity, the power.”

Return To The Marvel Cinematic Universe

captain carter
Captain Carter (center) and the Howling Commandos in Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF…? exclusively on Disney+. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

The voice cast features many of the original actors from the MCU. Bryan Andrews shares that with scheduling conflicts it, “Was tough, but we were able to get so many back. It’s fantastic.”

He explains that the actors enjoyed playing these characters in a slightly different way, getting to “riff on the character a little bit.”

He says, “It’s like, these characters they already know and love, now they get to see on a slightly different adventure, and maybe, uh, coming from a slightly different point of view, that they didn’t think they had before.”

Catch all of your favorite characters facing navigating the multiverse in Marvel’s What If…? Stream it on Disney+ August 11!

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