What If …? Season 1 has six episodes aired on Disney+ and the series is seen taking quite chancy turns and directly ridiculing some of MCU’s main concepts. But there may be a justification to this approach.
Season 1 of Marvel’s What If …? is taking a satirical approach towards certain events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This has given rise to public disagreement. While the show portrays some of the franchises’ characters in an incredible setting by using alternate realities and timelines, it drives a wedge between fans and their adoration for the original timeline. We’ve seen the audience in a daze while trying to figure out the tone and the intention behind such an approach.
What If…? Directly mocks MCU’s major moments
What If…? uses distinct, contrasting settings and scenarios that sometimes rebut the original universe, but that is what makes it stand apart from the rest of Marvel movies and shows. In the six episodes aired so far, we have seen various characters being placed in excellently altered realities, which is unlike their usual known surroundings. For instance, episode 6 of What If…? features Eric Killmonger saving Tony Stark in Afghanistan. After this event, Tony Stark is never seen becoming Iron Man. Instead, he dies in the latter half of the episode. This event forces us to entirely reassess Phase 1, which leads to a number of major events later never shaping up into reality. And we’re aware of how this, in turn, affects the MCU in a grave way.
The storylines involved in the show do churn some engrossing speculative ideas for us, but while doing so it also seems to be weary and apathetic of the original storyline. To give an example, the rewritten timeline of episode 6 brushes off an event that strongly influences later developments in Iron Man. When Tony Stark disregards the idea of miniaturising the Arc reactor, fans are stunned. While the moment’s very inexistence is ridiculous to fans who have devoured every possible detail of the MCU movies, the show’s attempt at dismissing such a consequential concept is nothing short of a travesty. Regardless, we still believe that Marvel must have a logical explanation for this approach.
Explaining Marvel’s absurd approach with What If …?
The very plausible explanation to the show’s tactic could be What If…?’s medium of expression. The show is animated. And while it is possible for a live movie to portray action with ease, animation requires a more amusing way of conveying it. However, the setup opens a number of possibilities for the studio to include a variety of perceptions, which is obviously limited in the physical sense. This is why the irony is acceptable. It gives the directors creative liberty, and the franchise a never-seen-before scope for amusement and humor, that What If …? manages to achieve more often than not.
Besides this, it would also make sense for Marvel to purposely fashion What If…? in this way to set its place in the MCU as an eccentric rarity. By questioning the original setup and storyline, What If …? compels us to not blindly follow everything we see in the shared universe, as principles change. Marvel has one of the most elaborate and sinuous timelines. With What If…?, it is safe to believe that the production is attempting to cast some shine upon lesser-known characters, albeit in a wildly senseless way.