What If? review

Marvel Studios has a new series on Disney+ For most fans, that’s going to be all the info needed to get hyped about What If? And they’re not going to be disappointed with yet another amazing, highly entertaining Marvel Cinematic Universe experience.

What If? is based on the Marvel Comics series that changed a minor event in established Marvel lore. Rather than go too far down the comic book rabbit hole, this iteration of What If? strictly sticks to the MCU. With over 20 films and a countless amount of options that could change everything there’s no shortage of material.

Jeffrey Wright stars as The Watcher, the observer/narrator of these various paths.

what if captain carter review - captain carter

The first episode features the character most prominently featured in promo material — Captain Carter. In this scenario, it’s Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) who gets imbued with the super solider serum instead of Steve Rogers and becomes Captain Carter. The Watcher provides a synopsis of how the events played out in the regular MCU although familiarity of the respective films helps in appreciating subtle nods replicating specific scenes and camera perspectives.

Captain Carter allows writer A.C. Bradley to explore gender roles during the 1940s, which still sadly feel too relevant today. Atwell was always one of the standout supporting players during Phase 1 and proven to be such an endearing performer that Marvel Studios continues to find ways to incorporate her into the films.

what if captain carter review - captain carter with the howling commandoes

She brings a wit and charisma that is well suited for a leading hero role.

Director Bryan Andrews does an impressive job of capturing the tone of Captain America: The First Avenger right down to the transitions, the action choreography and more optimistic tone.

There’s already rumors that this episode is a precursor to a live-action appearance from Captain Carter and if this episode was any indication, more Captain Carter appearances will be well received by fans.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

what if review - t'challa as starlord -starlord

Episode 2, T’Challa as Starlord, has zero chance of not being an emotional installment. The late Chadwick Boseman recorded the dialogue for the series before his shocking death and hearing him reprise the character he made famous is heartwarming and a reminder of the singular talent that was gone far too soon.

Considering the emotional response Boseman’s involvement was likely to elicit, it’s fitting that this episode is so lighthearted and fun. This episode ponders if T’Challa and not Peter Quill was abducted by Yondu (Michael Rooker) and became a Ravager.

what if review - t'challa as starlord - t'challa vs collector

The first episode also featured a character swap with Peggy Carter for Steve Rogers, which provided a fun twist on the dynamic. Swapping an average boy for a prince results in some very significant changes. One of the biggest is the lack of need for the Guardians of the Galaxy since T’Challa pre-emptively deals with potential problems much earlier than Peter Quill.

And how T’Challa’s influence impacts characters like Nebula (Karen Gillan), Korath (Djimon Hounsou) and even Thanos (Josh Brolin).

T’Challa as Starlord shows the true potential of the series and how one change can dramatically impact the state of the MCU. This episode definitely has a fun heist feel with some timely nods to Black Panther.

Rating: 10 out of 10


Episode III is titled Loki On Earth, but it’s more of a focus on Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury. This is the first episode that requires a healthy knowledge of the Phase 1 films. It touches on numerous scenes in a quick setting. Another spoiler film from a later phase also proves to be very pivotal as well. Loki On Earth is the least newcomer friendly episode yet. Again, What If? is not for newbies and will be best enjoyed by those viewers who have a basic comprehension of the MCU.

what if - loki on earth review - loki and the asgardians

Black Widow has a significant role in this episode and the absence of Scarlett Johansson is noted even more so in light of Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney. There’s some spoiler cameos that are best appreciated without advanced knowledge. It was great to actually hear Jackson return as well as Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson.

When Loki (Tom Hiddleston) does arrive on Earth, the story shows the importance of Fury’s foresight with the Avengers initiative from a different perspective. This installment also seems like the one almost begging for a follow-up episode.

What If was traditionally a single issue story, but there’s potential in this series for some scenarios to stretch to at least two episodes.

Rating: 10 out of 10

The series features a unique animation style that uses heavy cel shading to capture a comic book style while retaining the likenesses of the various MCU actors. This creatures a gorgeous visual style that works exceptionally well for this format.

One of the biggest perks of the series is the number of MCU actors that reprise their roles for the series. Sure, there’s some quality voice actors that could do a pretty good impression of the actors, but it gives the series an extra degree of authenticity to actually hear Atwell, Boseman, Jackson, etc. as their respective characters.

what if - loki on earth review - nick fury and hawkeye

Disney+ looks to go 4 for 4 with another outstanding series that should thrill Marvel Cinematic Universe fans with this fascinating alternative scenarios for some of the most beloved MCU stories.

Photo Credit: Disney

Check out some of the classic Marvel Comics What If? on Amazon.