Marvel’s What If…? is off to a dynamic start with the premiere episode now available to stream on Disney+. For the next eight weeks, fans will be gearing up for the wildest ideas that the MCU can’t pull off in their mainstream films, including an episode where some Avengers are turned into zombies and T’Challa becomes Star-Lord.
Director Bryan Andrews (Youth & Consequences) and head writer A.C. Bradley (Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia) revealed to Vanity Fair even wilder ideas the team had for potential episodes, including Captain America heading Hydra and a grotesque Spider-Man.
The writers entertained the idea of another retelling of the Captain America story. This time, the question was: what if Steve Rogers had fallen off the train instead of his friend Bucky Barnes?
“My idea was, if Steve fell off the train, we would jump forward in time,” Bradley told Vanity Fair. Steve Rogers’ iteration of the Winter Soldier would be less sly like the original and more aggressive and openly pursue Hydra’s agendas. “Steve Rogers is the kind of man that when he believes something is right, he goes to the ends of the Earth to do it. But he actually is not a very good soldier. He doesn’t follow orders.”
In the potential episode, Rogers would have ascended to the highest ranks in Hydra. Peggy Carter, Howard Stark, and Bucky would join forces with an unlikely ally in the Red Skull to take down Captain Hydra. The episode was scrapped due to some elements being too close to the Captain Carter premiere episode.
An unbreakable restriction that the team had on What If…? was avoiding stories on characters that were already getting the spotlight through their own shows such as Loki, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and WandaVision. However, Andrews had pitched to Kevin Feige an idea on what would happen if Loki was worthy for the hammer instead of Thor.
“At first it seems superficial, but how do you get to that point without changing who he is?” Andrews told VF. The distinction of a trickster like Loki being worthy of a hammer that Thor went through trials to be worthy of was what made the idea so appealing. “You’re given a thousand questions to answer. It’s like, Oh, did he stay a Frost Giant? Was Odin not a dick and taught him better? You know what I mean? There are so many aspects of that life you can explore,” Andrews said.
Another idea would’ve twisted the origins of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The question posed what would happen if Peter Parker’s radioactive spider bite turned him into a grotesque spider monster instead of the superhero we know him to be. The story would’ve been the likes of a dark, intense horror story. However, the idea was a flat no from Marvel execs.
With all the crazy ideas that What If…? brings, more episodes will tell the infinite stories of the multiverse, and a second season is set to be in development.
What If…? streams every Wednesday exclusively on Disney+.