Marvel stole the show in the recently concluded San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) where it gave us more than we the fans could have anticipated. The crowd at Hall H was visibly overjoyed as Marvel Kevin Feige kept on introducing new shows for Disney’s new streaming platform, Disney+ and movies for phase 4 of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). There were many announcements that made fans go crazy including movies like ‘Blade‘, ‘Thor: Love and Thunder‘, ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness‘, ‘Black Widow’ and shows like ‘Loki’, ‘Hawkeye’ and ‘WandaVision‘.
But there was one title that flew relatively under the radar. Marvel announced another show named ‘What if…?’. Die hard Marvel comic book fans were over the moon with this announcement but average joe’s took it with a detached optimism. Well, you can’t blame them. They are not really familiar with the term ‘What if…?’ in the context of Marvel Comics. But those who know it will really look forward to the exciting things the show will bring.
What Could What if… be About?
Marvel introduced the series ‘What If…?’ as experimental timelines. There are 13 series along with many standalone issues dated back to the 70s that have contributed to the popularity of this concept. In a nutshell, they played with possibilities. And boy, are those some of the wackiest possibilities! Marvel reimagined its canon and historical events in a ‘what if’ scenario. That is, they played with the idea that some of the events in history that occurred, didn’t and instead, some alternate events changed things in every way possible. The very concept of this experimental scenario paves the way to nearly limitless possibilities, combinations, and storylines. Well, this ‘What If…?’ series that Marvel introduced also stayed clear of Marvel’s original canon and fans read it as the portal to their wish-fulfillment and fun adventures that they otherwise wouldn’t have witnessed.
Let me give you some examples from Marvel comics that will help you form a useful image of ‘What If…?’. The first volume was titled “What If Spider-Man had Joined the ‘Fantastic Four’?”. That’s it. You get the whole thingy from the title itself. The first volume toyed with this idea. It also followed the story of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ and brought ‘What if Gwen Stacy Lived?’. There are alternate stories like ‘What If? #200’ that deals with the possibilities of Norman Osborn winning the Siege of Asgard and the Watcher killing Galactus, ‘What If?: Avengers vs X-Men‘ that pits the Avengers against the X-Men over Phoenix and ‘What If? Secret Invasion’ that deals with the fact that Skrulls kill Reed Richards before he could expose them.
Few other examples that showcase the diverse nature of ‘What If…?’ are ‘What if X-Men Died in Their First Mission?’, ‘What if Thor and The Avengers Fought the Gods?’, ‘What if Iron Man Had Been a Traitor?’, ‘What If the War Machine Had Not Destroyed the Living Laser?’, ‘What If: Spider-Man vs. Wolverine’, ‘What If?:Spider-Man: House of M’, ‘What If?: Planet Hulk’, ‘What if Daredevil had killed the Kingpin?’, ‘What if the Punisher had killed Daredevil?’, ‘What if the Avengers lost Operation: Galactic Storm?’, ‘What If: Spider-Man: The Other’, ‘What if Aunt May had died instead of Uncle Ben?’ ‘What if the X-Men lost Inferno?’, ‘What if Doctor Doom became Sorcerer Supreme?’. These are just a few and I haven’t even started scratching the surface yet. Marvel also did a ‘What If..?’ story that is loosely connected with the mid-credit scene of recently released ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’. Basically, the list is exhaustive because the possibilities are.