[ExI] Marvel’s What If? review: How to break the MCU in all the right ways

John Grigg possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 18 06:54:31 UTC 2021

I loved Marvel's "What If" comic as a boy, and am overjoyed that a
television show has been adapted from it. The first episode was excellent...

"Created by screenwriter and producer A.C. Bradley and inspired by the
comic book series of the same name, *What If?* devotes each episode to a
particular moment in the MCU timeline and explores how easily it could have
unfolded differently, as well as the ripple effect that small difference
would have had on everything that came later.

For example, the first episode of the series reveals how easily SHIELD
agent Peggy Carter (who previously headlined Marvel’s live-action *Agent
Carter* series) could have ended up with the super-soldier serum that
turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. However, even with all of the
superhuman abilities the serum bestowed on her, Peggy finds herself waging
a battle against Hydra as well as the misogyny of a WWII-era military
structure that can’t imagine sending a woman to war. Peggy isn’t the only
MCU character to experience a new story arc, either, as Steve Rogers,
Howard Stark (Tony’s father), and other characters head in a new direction
thanks to the emergence of “Captain Carter” instead of the Captain America
we know.

The second episode of the series then explores what would have happened if,
instead of inheriting the mantle of Black Panther, Wakandan prince T’Challa
ended up becoming the cosmic adventurer known as Star-Lord instead of Peter
Quill. What might initially seem like an inconsequential replacement ends
up having massive implications on subsequent MCU events, as T’Challa’s
perspective on life and experiences on Earth result in a much different
version of Star-Lord — along with a much different Guardians of the Galaxy
roster around him.
[image: T'Challa as Star-Lord in a scene from Marvel's What If? series.]
to look ahead

While the stand-alone, alternate-timeline stories presented in *What If?* offer
plenty of surface-level entertainment that mixes up Marvel’s roster and
then pours it out in new, intriguing combinations, what the stories reveal
about some of the big-picture elements of the MCU and its characters’
strengths and weaknesses might be the most fascinating aspect of the show."

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