When Marvel announced the What If…? anthology a few years ago, I immediately added it to the bottom of the MCU Phase 4 pile. It had an interesting premise, yes. What If…? would tell familiar MCU stories, but with unique twists and endings. Many of the same actors would voice animated versions of our beloved heroes, but What If…? episodes seemed to be standalone stories that would have no impact on the MCU storyline. But then, a few weeks ago, something amazing happened. The Loki finale unleashed the multiverse.
I said at the time that the final episode of Loki made What If…? the most exciting thing to watch in the MCU. All of a sudden, things were clear. What If…? will show us different worlds from the multiverse. Then Marvel confirmed it all — the What If…? stories take place in the MCU multiverse. The animated characters might one day interact with the live-action variants from the movies and TV shows. If that’s not enough, then the following detail should make the What If…? even better for Marvel fans.
Even though there’s a bigger purpose for the What If…? TV series, the episodes still feel incomplete. That’s because there’s no overarching storyline to tie things together. We move from one universe to the next to explore things that went wrong. The only thing that stays the same is Uatu The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright).
What If…? has an overarching story of its own
As The Watcher observes in every What If…? installment, it’s the tiniest of actions that might chart a different course for the variants of our beloved Avengers. What If…? episode 4 is the best example of that. The Strange episode is easily the best of the series so far. On top of that, it might have massive implications for the MCU going forward, including in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But how does it link up to other What If…? episodes?
We’ve yet to figure out that mystery. But we’re at least getting much closer. There is an overarching story for What If…?, and this isn’t just another MCU rumor. What If…? production designer Paul Lasaine confirmed it all to Murphy’s Multiverse:
Obviously, with it being an anthology series, each episode is a standalone. But there is an overarching story which will become more.. [pause] ..without giving spoilers, you’ll see that there is a big storyline going on.
That is one exciting What If…? spoiler. Then again, Marvel cheekily hinted that some of the characters we see in all these episodes might interact with each other. Let’s not forget that Marvel already confirmed What If…? season 2. Having all these different characters interact somehow will improve the What If…? experience.
Alas, Lasaine has not revealed how these separate stories connect, so we’ll have to wait for more clues from The Watcher. Hopefully, the next What If…? episode will provide some hints about the bigger storyline. Episode 5 premieres on