Marvel Studios is reportedly developing a What If animated series for Disney Plus, based on the comics that explore alternate Marvel timelines. While the studio has yet to announce their film release slate beyond this July's Spider-Man: Far From Home, it's been confirmed that they are currently developing multiple TV series for Disney's upcoming streaming service (which launches in the fall). Among the live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe TV shows that are actively in the works for Disney Plus are series about Loki, Vision and Scarlet Witch, and Falcon and Winter Soldier.
However, of all the properties that Marvel has yet to adapt as either an MCU movie or TV show, the What If comics are one of the most intriguing. First published in the late 1970s, What If explores how life would've changed in the Marvel Universe, had key moments in history played out differently than they did in the main canon. The comic books have explored everything from what might've happened if Peter Parker's Spider-Man had managed to save Gwen Stacy's life to how things would've changed if the Fantastic Four had gained alternate super-abilities. Now, it appears that Marvel Studios is adapting the premise for an upcoming television series.
According to /Film, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is overseeing the development of an animated What If series for Disney Plus. As one would expect, the stories on the show will not be canon to the larger MCU timeline. However, they will explore relevant stories to the MCU, including What If Vol. 1 #47, which examined what could've happened if Loki had wielded Mjolnir rather than Thor.
/Film further reports that the plan is for live-action MCU actors to reprise their roles in animated form on What If. This helps to explain why the show will be animated, rather than live-action. For starters, recording a voice role requires fall less time than a live-action one (either for TV or film), so that'll make it easier for Marvel to work around its cast's busy schedules. Beyond that, What If will be able to explore scenarios on a large scale that would require a far bigger budget and time commitment to realize in live-action, but are easier and quicker to bring to life via animation. It might not be exactly what comic fans had hoped for from a What If adaption, but it's a good compromise that makes the comics' concept more practical to adapt.
Needless to say, What If should be very different from the other MCU Disney Plus series in the pipeline and may hew closer to The Twilight Zone, in the way that it examines (sometimes bizarre) ideas across a range of tones and genres, but within the MCU. It's also the latest addition to Marvel's upcoming group of animated series that features stranger and/or obscure comic book properties, including the Howard the Duck and Offenders TV shows that are being developed for Hulu. We're still awaiting either a formal confirmation or denial that a What If series is happening, but we'll be sure to let you know as soon as we get one.