I'm Baffled By Marvel Canceling The MCU's Best Multiverse Project

I'm Baffled By Marvel Canceling The MCU's Best Multiverse Project

Summary Marvel Studios may be bringing What If...? to an end after the upcoming season 3, according to Brad Winderbaum's recent comments.

I'm disappointed What If...? may be ending after only three seasons, as there is a lot of untapped potential with the animated series.

Other MCU projects have done a better job at showing the variety of the multiverse, but What If...? could still continue in the MCU's future.

I'm confused about why Marvel Studios would want to cancel its best multiverse-spanning project so soon, as What If...? seems to be ending after its upcoming third season. After Loki season 1 burst open the Sacred Timeline, Marvel Animation's What If...? was able to explore a huge variety of alternate worlds and variant characters, putting twists on some iconic stories from the history of the MCU. While this concept may have allowed What If...? to continue indefinitely, recent news from Marvel Studios has left me worried that the series will be ending too soon.

There is so much potential with What If...? that hasn't yet been tapped into, and I would have loved for the series to have established clearer connections to the wider MCU. However, during a recent discussion on The Official Marvel Podcast, Marvel Studios' Head of Streaming, Brad Winderbaum, suggested that What If...? season 3 would be the "completion of a trilogy." Winderbaum's comments certainly have me excited about what stories could be told in What If...? season 3, but I'm also disappointed that the series may be coming to an end at all.

[What If...? season 3] feels like the completion of a trilogy. It goes beyond the first two seasons in its exploration of the multiverse, and it pulls in characters that are very unexpected, and has what I think is an extremely moving and fulfilling culmination for the Watcher.

I Feel Like What If…? Hasn’t Explored Enough Of The Multiverse

Only 18 Episodes Of What If...? Have Been Released So Far


So far, only 18 episodes of What If...? have been released, and it could be assumed that the final What If...? season 3 will be another nine-episode run. This is hardly enough time to explore the infinite multiverse, even when focusing on slightly-altered versions of the MCU's main timeline. Marvel Animation has barely scratched the surface of the multiverse's potential in What If...?'s first two seasons, and while season 3 is expected to pull out all the stops, I still can't imagine that the remainder of the vast multiverse will be detailed in the upcoming season.

There are an incomprehensible number of alternate realities and variant characters that haven't yet been introduced in What If...?. This is highlighted when looking back at Marvel Comics' What If storylines, which featured some of the weirdest and wackiest characters in Marvel's history. The MCU's What If...? simply hasn't had enough time to pull this off, so ending the series after season 3 doesn't make sense. What If...?'s animated style presents the opportunity for Marvel Studios to really let loose, and even experiment with different styles, but a trick seems to have been missed.

Related Marvel's What If...? Season 3 First Look Clip: Bucky Barnes & Red Guardian Are On The Run A new clip from What If season 3 reveals an upcoming storyline following Bucky (AKA The Winter Soldier) and Red Guardian on the run from the law.

More What If…? Heroes Should Have Joined Captain Carter In Live-Action

Hayley Atwell Appeared As Captain Carter In Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

Marvel Animation's What If...? isn't the only recent MCU project that has explored the multiverse, so I've been even more confused about why there hasn't been more crossover between What If...? and Marvel Studios' live-action projects. In theory, What If...? would have been an excellent place to introduce a slew of multiversal variants who could then make the move to live-action. This has already proven effective, as Hayley Atwell appeared as Captain Carter in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness after first appearing in What If...?​​​​​​​.

How amazing would it have been to see the likes of Doctor Strange Supreme, Infinity Ultron, a Hulk-like Happy Hogan, 1988's Avengers team, and MCU original hero Kahhori make the move to live-action? Of course, this could still happen, particularly in Phase 6's Avengers: Secret Wars, but Marvel Studios has been missing several opportunities to reinvent these characters. Extending What If...? for longer than three seasons would only make this more possible, and could also massively increase the heroic roster of Secret Wars, should all these heroes be involved.​​​​​​​

Avengers: Secret Wars has been speculated to include a huge number of characters from the MCU's history, other non-MCU Marvel franchises, and What If...?, though it remains to be seen what the movie's true roster will be.

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Did A Better Job At Showcasing The Multiverse’s Variety Than What If…?

Doctor Strange & America Chavez Traveled Through Over 20 Alternate Universes In The MCU's Phase 4


While several live-action MCU projects have explored the concept of the multiverse, 2022's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness did this most of all. Thanks to America Chavez's universe-hopping abilities, Doctor Strange and the new hero were able to travel through 19 universes before ending up on Earth-838. This fast-paced montage, unfortunately, did a much better job at showing the weirdness and extreme variety of the multiverse than What If...?, which has only focused on realities that are almost indistinguishable from the MCU itself.

Related Every Universe In The MCU Confirmed (So Far) Since the beginning of the MCU's Multiverse Saga, many alternate universes have been introduced into Marvel Studios' live-action and animated stories.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness even saw Benedict Cumberbatch's titular hero travel to a universe ravaged by an incursion event, and inhabited by an evil Doctor Strange variant. This would have been the perfect opportunity for What If...?'s Strange Supreme to make his live-action debut, but this didn't happen. Ultimately, I feel as though Marvel Studios has fumbled the delivery of What If...?'s magnitude, expanse, and potential, and ending the series after season 3 will only solidify this, but not all hope is lost.

How Can What If…? Continue Without The Animated Series?

What If...? Season 3 Doesn't Actually Need To Be The End

Other upcoming MCU projects could also explore the multiverse, introducing even more variants to the MCU.

While Marvel Animation seems to be bringing What If...? to a close after season 3, there are plenty of opportunities for the MCU's multiversal storylines to continue. Most notably, several What If...? variants could appear in live-action in the MCU's Phase 6, joining the Avengers in the battle against Kang the Conqueror and his variants, or a number of other powerful villains. Ending What If...? shortly before Secret Wars may have always been the plan, as the latter was originally scheduled to release in November 2025, prior to major delays.

We know that at least one upcoming MCU movie will be set almost entirely in another reality, too. The Fantastic Four's alternate reality setting will continue What If...?'s multiversal themes, focusing on a completely new world before bringing Marvel's First Family into the MCU's main continuity. Other upcoming MCU projects could also explore the multiverse, introducing even more variants to the MCU. This could also create the perfect opportunity for Jeffrey Wright's Watcher, the narrator of What If...?, to debut in live-action, which makes me very excited for the future of Marvel Studios' multiversal storylines, despite the series' cancelation.

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