When Marvel first started sharing trailers for What If…?, we had questions. Mostly, we really wanted to know whether or not the series would have a direct link to the MCU. Not only is What If…? animated, but it also explores alternate realities from the ones we have seen on screen. It was easy to assume that What If…? would only be an outlet for creative writers to delve into fun stories that might not otherwise fit in the MCU. But between Loki’s season finale and comments from Marvel, it’s clear that What If…? is just as important as any other MCU entry.
At a recent press conference (via /Film), What If…? executive producer Brad Winderbaum made it clear that the upcoming Disney+ show will connect to the MCU:
“It’s no coincidence that the show picks up right after Loki. The multi-verse has erupted in every possible direction. What if…? gives us a chance to explore that. Without going into great detail, I can tell you that What If…? as a project [and] as a story that exists in the MCU is as important as any other. It’s woven into that same tapestry. So, there’s a lot of potential.”
How will What If…? connect to the MCU?
Spoilers for Loki ahead, but in the season finale, Sylvie kills He Who Remains (aka a variant of Kang the Conqueror). This opens the door for the countless variants of Kang the Conquerer to restart the multiversal war. Presumably, this will be the impetus for the timeline-altering stories we see in What If…? So not only will these stories take place as a direct result of the events in Loki, but the events of What If…? will affect the future of the MCU as well. Also, Marvel boss Kevin Feige confirmed back in December 2019 that What If…? season 2 was already in the works.
All signs point to the final episode of Loki season 1 being monumentally important in setting up Phase 4. We will no doubt see the fallout of the multiverse breaking apart in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But in the meantime, What If…? could be our gateway into the next phase of the MCU. The series is an anthology, but as Winderbaum said, “there’s always opportunity for fun connections to be made.” If you’re a fan of Marvel and you were considering writing this one off as a pointless cartoon spinoff, you might want to reconsider.