SPOILERS FOR EPISODE ONE OF WHAT IF…?
“What If…Captain Carter were the First Avenger?”
The first animated series from Marvel Studios debuted this morning on Disney + with What If…?, a look at possible alternate timelines had one thing changed. Based on the classic Marvel Comics book What If?, this series has so many potential stories that they can tell that it could be so much fun. I know I loved the What If comic as a youth. It was always one of my favorite ones and adapting it into an animated series gives them an unlimited amount of storytelling avenues.
The episode kicks off with the voice of Jeffrey Wright as our narrator. As in the comic, the narrator of What If…? is Uatu the Watcher. He is a powerful being of the universe whose job is to watch the events unfold without interfering. If you are a comic fan, you know that Uatu did not always live up to that mantra.
Kicking off the series is a twist on the events from Captain America: The First Avenger. The difference is a small one. Peggy Carter, voiced by the always epic Hayley Atwell, decided to stay in the lower area instead of going to the observing room. That triggered a variation of the timeline (thanks to Loki the series, we all understand that) that led to Peggy going into the container instead of Steve Rogers.
The rest of the episode featured Peggy, calling herself Captain Carter, battling Hydra during World War II. Howard Stark gets his hands on the Tesseract and builds Steve Rogers a suit of armor, called Hydra Stomper, allowing him to fight by the side of Captain Carter.
While we did not get Chris Evans returning to voice Steve Rogers, most of the remaining characters had original actors who created their roles in the MCU are doing the voice acting. This episode alone we had Sebastian Stan, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough, Dominic Cooper, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson. It is awesome that so many of the originals made it back to voice their characters. Someone like Stanley Tucci came in for what turned out to be like one or two lines in the show.
The animation is special. It is beautifully designed and flowed so easily during the fight scenes that you never think about it being animated. I will say that the characters’ eyes feel slightly off. I heard Animation Writer/EP Michael Vogel from The Geek Buddies describing the reason for the expressions on the faces being odd. He said that usually in animation if you are looking for the best expression, you would make the eyes or the facial features larger. Since the animation in What If is meant to show these characters are they would be in a movie, there is just so much that can be done. It made a lot of sense when Michael explained it and it helped with the one aspect of the animation that I did not find perfect.
The first episode set up the possibility of revisiting this character. I know there have been rumors floating around that we might see Agent Carter in live action some day, perhaps in The Multiverse of Madness. I wonder if this Peggy Carter who made the one decision that changed the timeline was the woman in the background in the Loki premiere.
What If…? is going to be a ten-episode series, and it sounded as if it has been renewed for season two. Now that the multiverse as been opened up, anything can happen. This series has been a great way to kick it off.