What Is the MCU's What If...? TV Series and Is It Canon?

What Is the MCU’s What If…? TV Series and Is It Canon?

August 11, 2021 marked the premiere of the first episode of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) What If…? TV series on Disney+. What If…? is an animated anthology series that focuses on alternative timelines set within the MCU, showing us alternative scenarios involving well-known characters. The first season will consist of nine episodes, with a second season already in development.

What If…? is a television series that is part of Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It premiered on August 11, 2021 and is actually an animated anthology series portraying alternative scenarios for well-known characters that are part of the MCU. As per official sources, What If…? is considered to be canon within the MCU, thanks to Loki introducing the multiverse.

In today’s article, you are going to find out all the relevant information you need to know about Marvel’s newest What If…? television series. We are going to tell you the general importance of the What If…? brand for Marvel and also for the MCU. You’re going to find out whether the series is canon to the MCU and where you can stream it. Enjoy!

What does What If…? mean in Marvel’s universe?

Although the series has certainly made it more popular, the What If…? brand is well-known among Marvel fans, as it is an idea that the MCU has “snatched” from the comic books. What If…? is a comic book anthology series published sporadically by Marvel since 1977 that explored how the Marvel Universe might have evolved if key moments in its history had not occurred as they did in mainstream continuity.

What If…? started in 1977 and has, so far, released 13 volumes of stories featuring a variety of characters, although the stories have been published sporadically; Marvel has also published occasional stand-alone issues that were later collected in some special editions.

What If…? never became as popular as the mainstream comics, but it had its following and it was a series that gave the fans an insight into the multiverse, in stories that looked like they were non-canon, but were actually part of a larger multiversal canon narrative that presented well-known characters and events in a different light.

As far as the collected editions go, here is a list of issues that have, so far, been collected as trade paperbacks:

  • What If? Classic:
    • Volume 1 (collects What If? #1–6), January 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1702-4
    • Volume 2 (collects What If? #7–12), January 2006, ISBN 0-7851-1843-8
    • Volume 3 (collects What If? #14–15, 17–20), January 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2081-5
    • Volume 4 (collects What If? #21–26), December 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2738-0
    • Volume 5 (collects What If? #27–32), January 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3086-1
    • Volume 6 (collects What If? #33–38), December 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3753-X
    • Volume 7 (collects What If? #40–42, #43 (backup story only) and 44–47), February 2011, ISBN 0-7851-5311-X
  • X-Men: Alterniverse Visions (collects What If? (vol. 2) #40, 59, 62, 66 and 69), August 1996, ISBN 0-7851-0194-2 (Boxtree, May 1996, ISBN 0-7522-0342-8)
  • Iron Man 2020 (collects The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #20, Machine Man (vol. 2) #1-4, Death’s Head #10, Iron Man 2020 #1, Astonishing Tales: Iron Man 2020 #1-6, What If? (vol. 2) #53; April 2013, ISBN 978-1302913908)
  • Death’s Head Volume 2 (collects Death’s Head #8-10, Death’s Head: The Body In QuestionSensational She-Hulk #24, Fantastic Four #338, Marvel Comics Presents #76, Doctor Who Magazine #173, What If? (vol. 2) #54; October 2007, Panini Comics, ISBN 1-905239-69-6)
  • Death’s Head: Freelance Peacekeeping Agent (collects Dragon’s Claws #5, Death’s Head #1-7 and 9-10, Death’s Head: The Body In QuestionFantastic Four #338, Sensational She-Hulk #24, Marvel Comics Presents #76, What If? (vol. 2) #54, Marvel Heroes #33; March 2020, ISBN 978-1302923365)
  • What If?: Why Not? (collects What If? vol. 3), March 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1593-5
  • What If?: Mirror Mirror (collects What If? vol. 4), May 2006, ISBN 0-7851-1902-7
  • What If?: Event Horizon (collects What If? vol. 5), July 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2183-8
  • What If?: Civil War (collects What If? vol. 6), April 2008, ISBN 0-7851-3036-5
  • What If?: Secret Wars (collects What If? vol. 7), April 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3341-0
  • What If?: Secret Invasion (collects What If? vol. 8), May 2010, ISBN 0-7851-4109-X
  • What If?: Dark Avengers (collects What If? vol. 9), April 2011, ISBN 0-7851-5278-4
  • What If?: Avengers vs. X-Men (collects What If? vol. 10), October 2013, ISBN 978-0785183945
  • What If?: Age Of Ultron (collects What If? vol. 11), July 2014, ISBN 0-7851-9054-6
  • What If?: Infinity (collects What If? vol. 12), September 2016, ISBN 0-7851-9314-6
  • What If?: With Great Power (collects What If? vol. 13), March 2019, ISBN 130251038X

Is the What If…? TV series canon to the MCU?

As we all know quite well, What If…? is going to portray known MCU characters in different situations, showing us what would have happened had, for example, Peggy Carter become the first Avenger or had T’Challa become Star-Lord instead of Black Panther.

A lot of well-known MCU characters are set to appear in the show, with a majority of their original actors returning to voice them (some notable exceptions include Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and Scarlet Witch, who are set to appear but are going to have different actors voicing them), and this, of course, raised the question whether the series is part of the MCU canon or not. Namely, some events in the series are going to contradict the MCU movies directly and that is why people keep wondering whether the whole show is canon.

Now, with WandaVision and Loki opening the door to the Multiverse, even introducing Kang the Conqueror, everything has become possible in the MCU. But on the character’s respective earth. The MCU remains the “prime Earth” of the whole multiverse, but all other events are now liable to be part of the narrative canon. So, is that the case with What If…?

In a recent interview for IGN, head writer A.C. Bradley confirmed that the events in What If…? are canon, even if they’re not part of “prime Earth’s” narrative. He said:

“The events of What If…? are canon. It’s part of the MCU multiverse. The multiverse is here. It is real, and it is absolutely fantastic, people.”

– A.C. Bradley, via IGN

After such a straightforward confirmation, one does not need to look any further. The situation is completely clear and you can be sure that the events depicted in the What If…? series are 100% canon.

Where can you watch the What If…? TV series?

As a property of the MCU, What If…? premiered on Disney+ and is available for streaming on the platform in those countries that have access to Disney+. Sadly, other territories don’t have, as of yet, a way of accessing the show legally. The first season will consist of nine episodes released on a weekly basis, with a second nine-episode series already in development. Here is a list of the episodes of the show:

#TitleRelease Date
1“What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?”August 11, 2021
2“TBC”August 18, 2021
3“TBC” August 25, 2021
4“TBC” September 1, 2021
5“TBC” September 8, 2021
6“TBC” September 15, 2021
7“TBC” September 22, 2021
8“TBC” September 29, 2021
9“TBC” October 6, 2021

And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we gave you all the information you were looking for! See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!

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