But Really, What If?
I remember the old What If…? comics growing up, offering alternate universes to what was in regular comic continuity. There were worlds where Phoenix didn’t die, where Spider-Man had joined the Fantastic Four, and where Rick Jones had become the Hulk instead of Bruce Banner. Many of these stories were based on one subtle change to what happened in the original story and were narrated by Uatu the Watcher. Up until now, Marvel has been airing live action shows that built on the universe in the Marvel Comics movies. This time, they have an animated show that diverges from the world we all know. This will a lot more freedom with a much lower budget though and lead to some great concepts. Some actors have voiced the characters they played in the movies while others, due to either scheduling issues or actors so longer being tied to Disney, have been recast. Two episodes have aired so far. The first explored a world where Agent Carter had become a super soldier. The second looked at what would happen if T’Challa had become Star-Lord instead of Peter Quill. The episodes are a little under a half hour long and were definitely a lot of fun. There’s seven more episodes left for the first series and I am definitely looking forward to them.
The first episode explores a world where Steve Rogers gets shot (non-fatally) during a Nazi attack before being able to be given the super soldier serum. Since the experiment needed to be done then or it would be lost, Agent Carter jumps in the pod despite Col. Flynn’s objections. Howard Stark pulls the level anyway and Peggy is the new hero. There’s some good humor in the episodes as shown by Howard’s joke that Peggy won’t need heels anymore due to her increased size because of the serum. The first question I had was what would they call her. She’s British so Captain America was out. There’s already a totally different character called Captain Britain so they probably wouldn’t want to go there. Her costume was similar to that of Union Jack but Lord Falsworth may have already been around then. Instead, after being put down more by Flynn because she was a female and just an agent, she suggested she get a promotion to captain as thus, she simply became Captain Carter. The shield with a Union Jack replacing the star did look a little awkward in design between the crossing lines in the middle with circles on the outside. Steve is still around though he is utilizing a WWII style variant of Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor humorously called Hydra Stomper. Unlike in the movie, Peggy catches Bucky as he’s about to fall off the train and he makes a comment about her almost ripping his arm off, a nod to him being the Winter Solder in the regular universe. In the final battle, Peggy ends up pushing a tendrilled demon back through a portal instead of getting lost in the ocean like Cap did. (Don’t ask me how she kept all its tentacles behind her shield instead of waving about the whole room as they were before.) The story jumps 70 years into the future where Nick Fury gets a portal open that frees Peggy in modern times. The story ends there with no more information on what she does after that, but it creates the final parallel to Earth 616.
The second episode tells the story of some not so bright Ravagers kidnapping T’Challa instead of Peter Quill because “all humans look alike” even though their description of humans (two ears, two eyes, one mouth) also applied to all of them. One of the biggest things about this episode is that T’Challa was actually voiced by Chadwick Boseman prior to his death. There’s a memorial message at the end of the episode for him. The modern story starts the same as in the movie, but this time around, Star-Lord is actually recognized when unmasked and it’s in a positive way. It turns out that he has had a beneficial influence on the Ravagers and they have done good deeds instead. Even Thanos is a member of the team after being convinced not to use the infinity stones to destroy half of the people in the world. (He still talks about how efficient it would have been and says it was not genocide since it was random. The humor continues.) Nebula (with hair) and Drax appear but Rocket, Groot, and Gamora are nowhere to be found in the episode. With Thanos not a big bad guy, his position was taken over by the Collector and his space in Knowhere is where the team needs to go. Like in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Howard the Duck makes a brief appearance. Through the convoluted means you would expect, the heroes prevail and escape with the prize including a space craft from Wakanda. Who knew they were that advanced to make a ship that good? But what of Peter Quill? Well, it turns out that he works at a Dairy Queen and was just getting a visit by his father, Ego. (Don’t even get me started on the travesty that was the storyline in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 with Star-Lord being a demigod. UGH!!!)
Both stories were very entertaining and told a good version of what could possibly happen were things changed. The backgrounds on the Disney+ page for the show has images of zombie Captain America and Hawkeye, Thor, Gamora, Dr. Strange and Spiderman in a similar cape, and what looks like Ultron. I can only guess where all these are going to lead to in coming weeks but I’m definitely looking forward to it.