Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Loki.
The newest Marvel series coming to Disney+ is What If…?, an animated anthology series that gives MCU characters a chance to handle themselves in alternative situations. The animation also allows most of the original MCU actors to return to voice their characters, which promises a very exciting confluence of talents.
But since What If…? is all about placing MCU characters in alternate realities, many of us are wondering if it’s actually going to be canon. Will the future of the MCU hinge on what happens in What If…? And what does Marvel chair Kevin Feige have to say about whether the upcoming series is canon?
‘What If…?’ is technically canon by Kevin Feige’s rules.
When Marvel announced they’d be bringing television shows to Disney Plus, the first question on everyone’s minds was if these shows would be considered canon. Because they are produced by Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige explained, they are all considered canon, so that includes What If…? This also means that shows based in the Marvel universe, like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., are not canon.
However, there’s some confusion about What If…? because of its format. The show will be an anthology series that explores different characters in the MCU in alternate realities. It asks questions like, “What if Hawkeye became the Hulk?” and “What if Asgard invaded Earth?” If the answers to those questions become canon, the MCU could get very complicated.
Tom Hiddleston hinted that ‘What If…?’ is canon.
In an interview on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Tom Hiddleston, our favorite God of Mischief (a.k.a. Loki) revealed about What If…?, “I am intrigued because I haven't seen the whole thing. And I know they've got, like, everybody from the Marvel universe to voice their characters ... And then it sets up a bunch of stuff in the MCU, which I [of course] know nothing about.”
This hints that going forward, the MCU might be relying on the alternate storylines laid out in What If…? And if that happens, we might be confused – but we also might love it. It could give some actors a chance to play new characters, or to take their characters in new directions in the films. It could also mean that Loki isn’t actually dead in the grander scheme of the MCU.
Kevin Feige revealed that ‘Loki’ is essential to MCU canon, which paves the way for ‘What If…?’ to be canon.
In an exclusive with Empire, Marvel Studios chairman Kevin explained, “[Loki is] tremendously important. It perhaps will have more impact on the MCU than any of the shows thus far.” What could this mean?
Well, at the end of Loki, Sylvie breaks open the Sacred Timeline when she kills He Who Remains, a Kang the Conqueror variant who was keeping the universe intact. She basically cracks open the multiverse.
This led many fans to consider that now everything is canon, based on the idea that infinite numbers of timelines and realities now exist within the MCU. If that’s the case, then everything that happens in What If…? is canon in some branch of MCU reality.
If ‘What If…?’ is canon, it could play a major role in introducing ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.’
One of the MCU’s upcoming films is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which will undoubtedly play on the various realities that take place in the multiverse.
We already know that Wanda Maximoff will make a return in the film, which paves the way for reality-bending magic to impact the multiverse. With her and Doctor Strange's powers, along with a cracked-open “sacred timeline,” there’s really no limit as to what will be MCU canon going forward.
This means that anything that happens in What If…? could potentially be part of one of the realities explored in the upcoming multiversal film. If that’s the case, then yes, What If…? is absolutely MCU canon, so definitely don’t skip it!
What If...? is coming to Disney Plus on August 11.