Marvel Studios: Assembled (2021) s01e05 Episode Script

The Making Of What If

THE WATCHER: The galaxy.
To your eyes,
a hundred billion points of light.
But where you see light,
I see worlds
and the countless stories that fill them.
What you call destiny is just an equation.
The product of variables,
right place, right time,
or in some instances,
the wrong place at the wrong time.
What if one choice changed everything?
What if every reality
came down to one single moment?
Join me. Explore the multiverse
and ask the question,
"What if?"
MAN: Perfect. Thank you.
KEVIN FEIGE: We were looking at
how to grow, how to expand,
how to evolve post Endgame
and into Phase Four.
And we had tons of ideas
for features and for follow-ups
to existing characters,
and introducing new characters.
But it was Disney Plus
and the idea of Disney Plus
that really allowed us
to do things we hadn't done before.
We had to think what ideas
are worth doing in animation
that we couldn't do anywhere else.
And it was Brad Winderbaum
who came into my office and said,
"What about doing a What If?"
"We have so many fans now,
"we have so many people that have watched
our movies multiple times,
"everybody knows how things happen,
"how Iron Man became Iron Man,
how Cap became Cap,"
that the What If? series from comics
was always such a great way
of putting a spin on it.
What If? as a concept
and as a comic book
is something that would
always come up in conversation.
Uh, I can think back
to the earliest retreats.
We would think about What If?
just in terms
of not necessarily adapting it,
but how many great stories
came out of the comic book.
And how so many of those stories
actually became canon
within the main continuity
of the Marvel Comics universe.
Speaking from my own personal experience,
and this is something
that other people have said as well,
What If? was a bit of a gateway
to different comics
you won't normally pick up.
You know, I loved Ghost Rider growing up,
and I think
the first Ghost Rider I picked up
was the "What if Danny Ketch's sister
became Ghost Rider instead of him?"
Then I was like, "This is awesome!"
And then I'd read all that Danny Ketch,
Ghost Rider run. You know?
And I think a lot of people
had a similar experience of What If?
It introduced you to characters
you wouldn't normally read.
In kind of abstracting them,
it made them new.
So there was a lower barrier of entry.
You didn't feel like you needed to read
the 60 comics leading
up to that one storyline.
It was its own unique thing
that you could experience as a newcomer.
I remember when I was a kid,
getting some of the comics
and whether it's like,
you know, Conan in New York
with Howard the Duck,
or, you know, crazy stuff.
It was almost like
it was Marvel's Twilight Zone of the time.
And I think its heyday was really
in the '70s, a little bit in the '80s.
It still has gone on, but those
were the ones to really remember.
I think it was a testing ground
for certain stories,
certain possible ways they can possibly go
with various characters,
you know, trying it out, you know,
safely in this little one-off comic.
And then if it struck a chord,
they can run with it.
So, for example, like,
"What if the Hulk was smart?"
and that eventually
became a whole storyline of its own with,
like, Smart Hulk and all this business.
And that's happened with, actually,
quite a few of the What If? titles.
So, um, there is a lineage there,
but for our show,
we're not borrowing anything
that was pre-done in the comic.
We just came up with new stuff,
since it's born directly
out of the MCU specifically.
So we're not just riffing
on the comic characters per se,
we're riffing on the Marvel movie
cinematic version of those characters.
I got visual on the intruder.
He's a Caucasian male, mid-20s with
really great hair.
Excuse me?
We had been working with Bryan Andrews
for many years at Marvel Studios.
He had boarded
some of our most iconic action sequences.
I worked with him on Ant-Man 1
when he designed
Scott Lang's first descent into
the quantum realm
at the end of that movie.
And he had taken a big hand most recently
as part of the story room
that cracked the finale of Endgame,
which was a combination of storyboard
artists and Chris and Steve, the writers.
And frankly,
when I pitched What If? to Kevin,
and things were happening so fast,
I just called Bryan, who I knew, and said,
"Hey, dude,
do you wanna work on this together?"
And his response was,
"Well, yeah, man, of course."
ANDREWS: You know, my brothers and I
grew up loving all kinds of animation,
but we also grew up loving Marvel.
I mean, we had
How To Draw The Marvel Way, you know?
We were huge fans of the paintings
of Frank Frazetta and the rest of it.
But it's all in that
same kind of action-y, adventure,
you know, bigger-than-life mythos stuff,
and the Marvel comics
were definitely an inspiration, you know.
Certain artists
would rise above others in our minds,
whether it's, like, you know, Kirby, or
[INHALES] or whoever else.
It's like there're certain
artists that just captured
your imagination in those drawings,
in those panels.
And, um, to think that
so many years later,
working in
the live action stuff, it's like,
"Oh, I used to draw all those characters
when I was a kid."
But here I am, working on it now
for the Cinematic Universe,
which is already kind of, like,
"Well, that's an amazing dream."
But then, now also
doing it in an animated show
that's revisiting those characters,
and it's, like, that's like, "Wait, what?"
It's pretty amazing.
WINDERBAUM: One of the interesting things
that happened
in the development process
of What If? is
how many ideas just come up,
and we're still coming up with them.
You almost can't stop thinking about it.
WONG: What are you doing?
Tinkering with time can weaken
the very fabric of the universe.
WINDERBAUM: The key to the stories
that were chosen
is that they were all
character-based stories,
and they all drove at the human heart.
Which is why we hired
Ashley Bradley as our EP
and head writer of the show.
If you look at her work
on Trollhunters and 3Below,
you see a writer who,
no matter what the big,
crazy sci-fi circumstance is,
is always trying to find
the core of the character
and creates conflicts that really
challenge who those characters are.
And that's something
we always try to do in the movies,
and each episode of What If?
is gonna try to do.
For a minute, I really thought
it was you and me against the world.
We're not fighting the same battles, Tony.
The first few weeks, it was basically
me and the other executive producers
which is Brad Winderbaum
and Bryan Andrews. And it was camp.
It was two weeks of
"What stories do we want to tell?"
There's obvious ones.
"What if Thor was never banished?"
"What if Ultron won?"
ULTRON: I'm going to bring about
peace in our time
BRADLEY: And once we got those out of our
system, we started then playing more with
"What if Yondu kidnapped
the wrong kid instead of Peter Quill?"
What happens next?
Whatcha doing out there
all by yourself anyway?
Exploring the world.
Sounds fun.
But why stop at one world, huh?
When we can show you all of them?
Once you realize what the show can be,
it's almost impossible not to ideate.
You just Your brain just starts
to explore every corner of the universe.
That's something that made
the whole development process
of this series so euphoric,
was that you get in a room with people,
and it was just idea,
idea, idea, idea, idea,
'cause almost every event
could be reconceived
and remixed into
its own What If? story.
And we realized very quickly that
you could come up with a cool idea like,
"Oh, what if Peggy Carter
got into the Project Rebirth chamber
"and became a Super Soldier
instead of Steve Rogers?"
But that was only the beginning.
It wasn't just "what if,"
it was also "then what?"
So every pitch that we came up with,
every idea that we conceived of
had two parts.
It had the "what if," which was
essentially the inciting incident,
and it had the, "then what,"
which is the actual story.
What in heavens?
And as we developed
the stories in the series,
the "then whats" became the real emotional
bedrock of the stories we were telling.
You're my hero, Steve.
I mean, you're a hero.
You're my hero, too.
The heart of the characters
always has to remain the same.
If T'Challa is in Wakanda or chilling
with the Ravagers in outer space,
he is always the once and future king.
Should we be bowing?
I feel like we should we bowing.
I mean, unless we should be kneeling.
- Neither is necessary.
- Please.
BRADLEY: It doesn't matter
where in the world Tony Stark is,
Pepper Potts is his North Star.
Lot of people come around looking to get
their moment in the sun with Tony Stark,
and it's my job to sniff out exactly
what it is they want with him.
And what do you smell?
Nothing. And that's the problem.
BRADLEY: Steve Rogers, whether
he's in his Captain America uniform,
whether he's Skinny Steve or not,
he will go to the ends of the earth
to do what he believes is right.
Hey, I need a hand! Come on,
help me get him out of here!
No. You gotta get me in the suit.
That's where we always kind of start with.
Like, we go in different directions,
but we stay true to the characters
as much as possible.
I believe that in this universe,
as in every other, hope never dies.
FEIGE: One of the things
we're exploring in Phase Four,
which we've talked about,
is the Multiverse.
And What If? as almost every episode
is narrated by the character, the Watcher,
a very important character in the comics
that we've never really
seen much of in the MCU.
Briefly, we saw some Watchers,
there's a little cameo with Stan Lee
in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Anyway, before I was
so rudely interrupted
We know the way it worked
in the movies we watched.
He's showing us
other ways it could have gone.
In a multiverse of infinite possibility,
is your destiny determined by your nature
or by the nature of your world?
We knew that we were gonna do the Watcher.
The Watcher is a big part of What If?
We needed this guide to help us
navigate these vast new realities.
And the voice we all heard in our head
was Jeffrey Wright from day one.
I am the Watcher.
Where humans see chaos,
I see the crucible that would transform
this collection of individuals
into a team of heroes.
WRIGHT: The Watcher kind of serves
as a Rod Serling to The Twilight Zone.
Kind of narrating the events,
but also a sometimes-passive-
sometimes-not participant.
Oh, you're so close.
The answer is right there.
WRIGHT: The Watcher is a celestial,
extraterrestrial being.
And I think he was introduced,
if I'm not mistaken,
in a Fantastic Four comic in 1963
where we discover him on the moon,
and he's introduced on the cover
as "The Most Dramatic Being."
Humanity, so eager,
so willing to face the impossible,
yet blind to the bigger picture.
The language is very cool,
and it kind of sp
You know, it speaks to a certain tone.
He's obviously
got to have a kind of strength
and a kind of, you know,
gravitas and power and all that stuff.
It's more than a linear path.
It's a prism of endless possibilities.
I like the idea of doing animation,
um, of using the voice really as,
you know, from my perspective,
as, you know, the whole character.
I'd really just pretty much
do what I do with any script though,
in anything, is just try
to find the music that's on the page
and figure out if I can play it, you know?
I am the Watcher.
I am your guide
through these vast new realities.
Follow me and ponder the question
"What if?"
It was a really organic and kind of,
you know, methodical process
of talking it through at first
and trying to give some ideas about,
you know, how I'd like a,
you know, a character like this to sound.
I think often
when you have a character like this in,
you know, in kind of the history of,
you know, shows and movies,
we make these certain assumptions about
what that character
should sound like, you know?
Very often it's some, you know, old
You know, when we think
of power and wisdom and all of this,
we think, well,
we go to the UK for some reason.
We think of Brits.
It's, like, well, you know, um
I don't know
if the British necessarily have,
like, the monopoly on all those things.
So, how can we find
some other tones and rhythms and things
that bring all of that, um,
that power to the character
but are grounded in maybe some different
rhythms and some different notes?
And that was a fun conversation to have.
A genius battled
his demons both inside and out,
while the world
met the monster hiding in the man.
And a godly Prince fell to Earth.
He's both the the guardian,
but also the observer
of what happens across the Multiverse.
There's a running joke in the comic books.
He says he'll never interfere.
Wait five pages,
and there he is in the middle of it.
ANDREWS: And in the comics,
he got downright goofy at times
and involved all the time.
We're going to acknowledge those things,
but slowly over time.
Maybe not the goofiness.
But we want to play with the conceit
that the being is mysterious
for the first initial episodes,
and we start seeing more and more
of him as the episodes play out.
Uh, so by the end
he's actually full-figured.
We really see him. We really know like,
"Here's this alien being,"
and he might actually
get involved for the
For him, what might be the first time.
You want me to say it?
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
I wanna hear you say it.
I can't believe I'm about to say this.
I see now.
I need your help.
The visual aesthetic and the storytelling
really begin with Bryan Andrews.
He is designing every frame of the show
and working with a story team
of talented board artists
to create the cinematic flow
of this series.
And he's working
so closely with Ryan Meinerding
to figure out
what these characters look like.
BRADLEY: Ryan is amazing.
He's been the head
of Marvel Visual Development,
I think since Iron Man.
He's brilliant, and we've been
so lucky that he's been wanting to,
like, come and play in our sandbox.
MEINERDING: I've always been a fan
of J.C. Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell
and a lot of the older
American illustrators.
And when Bryan and Brad pitched the notion
of using that as a basis
for the style of the show.
I mean, that's my bread and butter.
I love that stuff. So, trying
to find a way to create visuals
for this project that are gonna
turn that illustrative style
into an animated style
using our characters
is just, it's been really a lot of fun.
It's a good look on you.
Really? You think I could pull it off?
Maybe you'll grow into it.
I was trained that there's no difference
between animation and live action,
even though clearly
there are things that are different.
But, at its core,
it's just all visual storytelling.
It's composition within the picture frame.
It's it's emotion. It's character.
Uh, and those things exist regardless
of whether you're doing a stop-motion,
a 2D animated thing,
3D animated, live ac
It doesn't matter.
[SMACKS LIPS] And I've felt personally
that animation hasn't quite gone
as cinematic here
in the States as it could.
And Brad was in agreement,
and we felt like, here's a way
that maybe if we play our cards right,
if whatever we do,
whatever is in our brain,
if we can get it out there onto the thing,
maybe we could achieve that.
Maybe we can, like,
move the bar a little bit,
which would be awesome.
Just for our own
personal love of the stuff.
And so part of that style
we're chasing is something that is,
you know, atmospheric and cinematic
and something
that borrows from live action,
photography, cinematic sense
and really apply it to animation.
FURY: Looking for directions, sir?
Because you seem to have lost your way.
You would do best to kneel before a God.
We don't really do that here.
The stories that they're doing
are so great and so concise
that the direction that I'm getting is,
like, sort of like, this is the character.
This is the, you know,
the costume they would be in,
we wanna twist it in this way.
We're able to do some work that
hopefully is gonna land pretty quickly.
It's also not only about character design
in sort of a live action sense of,
like, "How is this character different
than what we've seen before?"
But also, since we're trying
to develop a new animation style,
sort of, like, how can we turn these
characters into animated characters
in a way that still represents
the character from the film
but gives them a new life
in sort of an animated form?
PEGGY: Steve Rogers sent me.
The name's Captain Carter.
Another big decision for the show
was that we were gonna chase character
likeness as opposed to actor likeness.
And it's a hard thing to define
because the two things
are so intrinsically linked.
But we wanted to capture the spirit
of the character in the same way
that the actor would capture the spirit
of the character on screen.
And knowing that you're never gonna
It's not a photorealistic medium.
So the questions became, like,
"Well, what is Doctor Strange?
What is Tony Stark?"
How to depict them in terms of their
evolution as a character on screen?
I'll say this for the new guy,
he certainly makes for good TV. Right?
A lot of this stuff is fun
because you can do pencil sketches
and have them be
relevant for the projects,
so starting with Skinny Steve
and, um, a version of Captain Carter.
You know, just started trying
to find things that were interesting
about the characters' faces
from the live action setting
and try to simplify them.
Um, you know, going forward from there
into finding like a look for a dark Thor.
Oh, do me, do me.
[CHUCKLES] Yes, you do me.
You do me and you too.
Oh, you guys really get me.
But yeah,
this is sort of the starting point,
and I haven't sketched
all of them on paper.
But I have done some of them.
And then transitioning into the computer,
being able to color
and sort of refine them.
[CHUCKLES] Oh, here we go. Here we go.
ANDREWS: We definitely want to stand out.
And there is a variety of animated product
being made these days,
and a lot of it tends to be CG
and sometimes even,
I guess they call it
two-and-a-half-D or 2D-3D,
where it's like, it's 3D,
but it's made to look 2D.
So you might have
your traditional backgrounds painted
and the characters look as if
they're cel-painted on, but they're not.
We're exploring a variety of techniques
and whatever is going to help us achieve
the look we're going for, we'll use.
But we wanna kind of hide it a bit
and make sure that it doesn't jump out.
And, in our opinion, it felt like a lot of
the things that we were seeing,
that stuff just jumps out, you know?
And sometimes the 3D maybe isn't working.
There's aspects that were pros and cons,
so it seemed like the best way
to achieve what we wanted to achieve,
which is to buckle down,
have some really hard discipline,
just make something rad 2D,
so that we would have the artistic freedom
to have it look as rich as we wanted.
Packs quite a wallop, does it not?
WINDERBAUM: The earliest conversations
I had with Bryan Andrews
were all about light.
And quality of light
and how the light would kind of blow out
and the atmosphere of the show itself.
Bryan was searching
for this cinematic style,
using bokeh lenses and anamorphic lenses
or emulating them in an animated space
to try to give the world of What If?
a real cinematic quality, um,
that we rarely see in animation.
ANDREWS: Play with light and shadow,
play with Play with focus.
Play with the fact that's like,
even though it's animated
and we didn't shoot it
with an anamorphic lens,
maybe we're making it look like we did,
because that has a voice
and that has a language.
We've grown up
watching movies shot a certain way,
and now it's become second nature.
So now when we see things
that are speaking that language,
without even realizing it,
we'll start relating to that.
- Charge!
ANDREWS: Cinematic storytelling
is becoming a thing
where you don't have to just go to a movie
to see cinematic storytelling.
We're actually seeing it on the streaming
screen and the small screen,
and there's so many shows
out now that are just borrowing
the cinematic language.
So they are, even though
they're quote-unquote episodes of a show,
they feel like, in a way,
mini movies when they do it right.
Wakanda forever!
It's pretty exciting when you,
you know, see it all come together,
and the laying on works,
and everything layers
together well in this
really beautiful, kind of,
richly cinematic quality to the animation.
And there're some wonderful
sound effects that are used too,
at times with the voice.
And to see it all come together,
these kinds of diverse perspectives,
diverse range of heroism and villainy.
I think it's gonna be, uh,
pretty exciting stuff.
THOR: You will listen to me.
My mother is coming.
ALL: Frigga?
And she is not happy.
Right off the bat,
there were some ideas that we had
that became episodes in the show.
Peggy Carter becoming Captain Carter
was a very, very early concept.
Also, right on the heels of that,
in the "then what" half of the story was,
well, then what happens to Steve Rogers?
He stays skinny.
She gets the Tesseract early.
Howard Stark's there.
Maybe he builds an Iron Man suit.
What powers it? Maybe the Tesseract.
Suddenly, the HYDRA Stomper is born.
ROGERS: Hey, Peggy! Now you owe me one.
WINDERBAUM: And then we get to tell
that story of the tragic love affair,
this dance that Peggy Carter
and Steve Rogers have through time,
where they don't ever
get to fulfill their relationship
without some event that gets in the way.
You owe me a dance lesson.
Yes, Saturday night.
BRADLEY: Oh, it's a great story
because it is exploring
the relationship between Steve and Peggy,
with this time Peggy
being the Super Soldier.
And it's also nice because
we get to have a female hero, superhero.
And what does that look like in the 1940s?
How is she treated?
What's the battles that she has to fight
that are singular to her being a woman
that Steve never had to deal with?
Where have you been all my life?
HYDRA GUARD: The Allies must be desperate,
sending in a fragile
Fräulein to fight for them.
- Exactly.
WINDERBAUM: Another idea that was super
early on was T'Challa as Star-Lord.
We knew we wanted
to do something with T'Challa
because Chadwick
was so amazing to work with,
that it just felt like
he would embrace the idea
and wanna do something fun.
At a certain point, we realized
he was around the same age as Peter Quill.
And that the Ravagers,
who were a bunch of buffoons,
had accidentally gotten off course.
WINDERBAUM: And what if they kidnapped
T'Challa instead?
- Ravagers!
- ALL: Ravagers!
It quickly became
one of our super favorites.
Just the idea of, like,
if T'Challa was out there in the universe,
how much can he actually change
just by him being awesome?
And everyone just wanting
to be part of his awesome.
Wait. You are the Star-Lord.
You saved my home world
from a Kree invasion.
All in a day's work.
No, it took several days.
Six, in fact. Let us take a picture.
BRADLEY: The reason we love T'Challa is
he's always a character of high morals,
of knowing what's right,
of doing what's right,
and he's always regal.
He was a man born to be king,
[CHUCKLING] even if he's with
the Ravagers, across the galaxy,
he still has that presence
of a natural ruler.
So his costume is a little bit cleaner,
he's a little bit more poised.
The Ravagers are less space pirates
and more space Robin Hoods.
You know as well as I,
no treasure is worth as much
as the good that can be done with it.
YONDU: [CHUCKLES] That's my boy.
WINDERBAUM: So you get Yondu,
but you get a slightly different Yondu.
A Yondu that was influenced by T'Challa,
who had grown up in Wakanda.
You get a Nebula who was changed
by her relationship with T'Challa,
who she calls Cha-Cha,
which is very funny.
Something Karen Gillan came up
with on the day during the record.
And, most exciting, you've got Thanos.
T'Challa here showed me there was more
than one way to reallocate
the universe's resources.
Sometimes the best weapon
in your arsenal is just a good argument.
Aye, aye, Commander.
FEIGE: Chadwick loved the idea of doing
the voice to T'Challa in the series.
We sent him the scripts.
He loved the voice of T'Challa.
It was slightly different
than it was in the first film.
He really was excited about evolving
and seeing where the character could go,
and he loved the swagger that
the Star-Lord version of T'Challa had.
And he came in numerous times
and did four episodes for us.
YONDU: You may be the soul of this ship,
but I am still the Captain.
We are Ravagers.
We do not back down from a fight.
In watching this, the over-riding thing
for me was just hearing his voice,
um, as that character again.
Um, just the mysticism of the character,
and really a kind of mysticism
that has become his life.
It's a really
It's a really wonderful blend.
Nice to hear him again.
I was the one who told you
I wanted to see the world.
All you did was show me the universe.
One of the first What If? scenarios
we came up with early on is,
what if Thor was never banished?
What does that look like?
And actually,
it was in my initial meetings with Marvel,
they pitched that to me.
They're like, "We're trying to figure out,
"what does an evil Thor look like?"
And my response was,
"I don't think he looks evil.
"I think he looks like a douchebag."
You're Thor? [CHUCKLES]
As in Thor, the Norse god of thunder?
I don't know anything about horse gods,
but I do know how to bring the thunder.
- Uh
- [CHUCKLES] Huzzah!
ALL: Huzzah! Thor! Thor! Thor! Thor!
BRADLEY: He's just taking over planets,
throwing a party,
trashing the place, not paying his bills.
Just basically, everything is Saturday
night at 1:00 in the morning.
Release the foam.
They finally had to press the button.
It's done.
BRADLEY: And call in Captain Marvel
to clean up the mess.
You know, there's a Midgardian word
for women like you.
Party pooper.
[SIGHS] Okay, this one's for Fury.
ANDREWS: In these episodes, we want them
to hit different genres, in a way.
And for the Doctor Strange one,
that was the one
that we wanted to really lean into, like,
you know, the horror, the macabre.
So bringing in aspects of, you know,
H.P. Lovecraft's sensibilities into that
and really going there
with some of the magic
and some of the, like,
monsters and the frightfulness.
Those beings have what I need.
O'BENGH: Is she worth the pain?
A man does not suffer
like this for his own glory.
Every moment of it.
Doctor Strange basically
becomes obsessed with his own power
and creating more and more of it.
It's a mixture of, like,
Dorian Gray and Voldemort.
And basically, he becomes
this H.P. Lovecraftian version of himself.
The fun twist in the episode is,
a version of Doctor Strange earlier in the
timeline is the one that has to stop him
because the Lovecraftian Strange
is gonna destroy the world.
You need to let go.
[DISTORTED] I've gone too far
to turn back now.
What If? gives us
an opportunity to tell stories
with a whole new idea of what the physical
reality of the universe is.
That is something that's gonna be explored
in other ways moving forward in our films.
You, you can stop this.
You, more than anyone else,
should understand that meddling with time
and events only leads to more destruction.
No. No!
It's kind of interesting
that for me that, you know,
the Watcher is compelled in a new way
by Doctor Strange's decisions.
Uh, so I guess we kind of overlapped
in our interests there.
But I just found it to be, um, uh
really complex
and moving and tragic
and powerful bit of animation there.
Yeah, that one got me. That one got me.
One life, one choice, one moment
- Christine.
- can destroy the entire universe.
FEIGE: What If? also gave us
a way to do a big fan favorite
that we've not done before,
which is Marvel Zombies.
When Hank Pym went down
to the quantum realm to get Janet back,
she had been infected
with this zombie virus.
And when he brought her back,
he accidentally infected the world.
- Holy What the Hank!
- FEIGE: And fans know
that Marvel Zombies
is a great, great comic series
where you get to see the zombified
versions of all of our heroes.
WINDERBAUM: Marvel Zombies
can stand on its own as a story,
but it was always a parallel universe.
It was always its own
"what if" scenario, actually.
It was a spinoff
of the ultimate run in the comics,
and it always existed
in its own bespoke reality.
So, we felt like we could use
the What If? structure
to sneak in our first foray
into the Marvel Zombies universe,
based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Oh, no.
Oh, I'm gonna vomit.
of the Marvel Zombies comic series,
you'll see certain similarities
and Easter eggs
that allude to the original run.
The state in which they find
T'Challa being a big one,
certain people's heads in jars.
SCOTT: Ta-da! See for yourself.
- Wait, who said that?
- Was that ghost?
SCOTT: Oh, damn.
Hey, would somebody turn me around?
We messed up my entrance.
You know, I need to get
this thing motorized. Hey!
As we were developing
the Marvel Cinematic Universe
and all the projects that went
into creating this big tapestry,
it was a very, you know,
specific house of cards, in a way.
In What If?, we get to take
a baseball bat to that entire structure,
and just shatter it into a million pieces
and see what's left and rebuild in our own
mutated, interesting, unexpected forms.
THE WATCHER: We've seen this before,
a universe
in the final days of destruction.
But this particular story
This, this one breaks my heart.
I think in some ways,
everything is surprising about the series,
that's what's wonderful about
this concept, this What If? concept.
We have these known stories,
these known characters, these known arcs.
Doesn't matter. Anything can be explored.
And so in some ways,
surprise is the whole point.
WINDERBAUM: In the story of season one,
the Watcher makes it very clear to us
that he is not gonna get involved.
THE WATCHER: He's on the wrong path.
I could warn him, intervene,
but the fate of his universe is not worth
risking the safety of all others.
But it just so happens
that there is a story
that culminates our first season
that requires the Watcher's intervention.
We reimagine a world
where Ultron got the Vision's body
as he meant to do
in Age of Ultron, the film.
And when Thanos inevitably comes
to get the Infinity Stone
from his forehead, he defeats Thanos.
all six Infinity Stones.
Once he does that, he's able to wage war
against the entire cosmos
and create an entire
universe devoid of all life.
So devoid of life that he can actually
hear the voice of our narrator.
THE WATCHER: Basking in
the boundless silence of his universe,
Ultron ascended to a previously
unattainable level of consciousness.
He became aware of another.
He became aware of the
I see you.
he's aware of the Watcher,
he can break through the universal wall
and wage war on the Multiverse itself.
Which forces the Watcher into a position
he's never been in before,
which is to defend the very thing
that he's sworn an oath to only observe.
And it just so happens,
the perfect cocktail of heroes
that he needs to defeat
this Multiverse-destroying bad guy
happen to be the same heroes whose stories
we've been watching all season long.
And they become
the Guardians of the Multiverse.
- To the Guardians of
- THOR: Yeah.
- ALL: The Multiverse.
- the Multiverse.
The Multiverse. [ECHOES]
I really believe that deepening
fictional mythologies
is a way to appreciate them more,
is a way to understand them more,
look at them in a different way.
And they've got now two seasons
of What If? ideas underway
that's some of the best
storytelling we've ever had,
and you may see spin into other mediums.
But it's really
the most uniquely beautiful
animated series I've seen in a long time.
We set out to make season one,
believing that it might be
our first and last season.
So we wanted to tell a complete story
in those ten, now nine, episodes.
When we got greenlit
for the second season,
we had to really look at the characters
and really justify
why we would keep telling
stories in this fashion.
Obviously, you could spin out
any number of What If? stories.
- And it's exciting to do so.
THE WASP: Bucky!
But we were searching
for that central thread
that could make it feel like
essential viewing for the MCU.
And what emerged was the relationship
between Captain Carter and the Watcher,
which is something that evolves,
uh, in a grand fashion
in the second season of the show.
You'd rather return to another time.
Haven't I earned my happy ending?
Trust me, that world, that time,
needs Captain Carter.
I love how richly invested
fans are in these stories
and the characters and the films.
One of the things about Marvel fans,
I think, is that they have
Marvel universes in their heads as well.
They have what exists on film,
what exists in the comics,
but then in their heads,
they have these other,
you know, imaginings
and stories that they tell too.
And I think that's all a part
of the storytelling universe.
And so the opportunity
for us to begin to explore
these alternate realities in ways
that might touch on some ideas
that fans have had, or don't,
or surpass those expectations,
is gonna be really cool.
And it also opens the door
and a series of doors
to other endless possibilities.
THE WATCHER: You, your stories,
they are everything to me.
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