‘What If…?’ explores Marvel’s multiverse through animation

The first episodes of ‘What If...?’ star Doctor Strange.
Disney+ / Marvel Studios

By Patricia Carranza, MWN

‘What If…?’ is the first animated series of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that reinvents the events that occurred in the movies, but in an unexpected way, in order to create a multiverse of infinite possibilities.

This project is inspired by the 1977 Marvel comics and features characters such as Peggy Carter, T’Challa, Doctor Strange, Killmonger, Thor and others, who will face adventures never seen before on screen, as the animation allowed the creators to exploit and give twists to the story.

During an interview with Metro, head of visual development at character development of ‘What If…?’ Ryan Meinerding explained what went into creating this series.

“It’s different from anything we’ve seen within Marvel because we were able to put a new spin on the most relevant superhero stories, which the filmmakers created within the movies. In terms of creation, the director is a big fan of 1940s comics and we started working in a very similar style, playing with shadows and multiple elements of that era, but adapted to animation to give them our own perspective,” said Meinerding, who is one of the masterminds behind this new project.

He also commented that one of the most difficult parts of creating this production was the beginning:

“In animation you can’t do anything if you don’t have a direction because you can get lost along the way. Luckily we had an idea of what the director wanted with this production but, at the same time, we didn’t want to get out of the essence that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has. We had to do a thorough job, even with the costume design of the characters. For that reason, the big challenge for me was to do an initial styling job and at the same time try to design each of the characters without losing their known particularities.”

Meinerding emphasized that the value of doing this project is to proof that the impossible does not exist.

“I think the impressive thing about comics is that you can create anything you can imagine and we were able to play with different timelines. All the elements that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has helped us play with the characters that people love and know, but seen from another place,” he added.

The series was directed by Bryan Andrews, who is a renowned animation director and throughout his career has worked on projects such as ‘Samurai Jack,’ ‘Sim-Bionic Titan,’ ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars,’ as well as being a storyboard writer on multiple superhero films such as ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ ‘Captain Marvel,’ ‘Doctor Strange,’ and ‘Ant-Man,’ among many others.

For Andrews, the opportunity allowed him to bring together everything he knew about animation from the MCU.

“It’s an immediate access to another audience, even if they’re not familiar with the comics but just love to see new formats,” the director assured during a press conference. 

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