Marvel Studios’ What If…? season two is nearly here. The second season of the animated multiversal series debuts on December 22nd on Disney+. To celebrate the occasion, Marvel and Disney put on a screening event for the press to see two of the episodes. While we can’t talk about the episodes yet for a review, they did have a Q&A with AC Bradley (writer and executive producer), Bryan Andrews (director and executive producer), and Matthew Chauncey (writer and producer). During the conversation, they went into several topics, including the genesis of the What If…? series and the process of writing the series.

Here’s what Matthew had to say about working on animation versus live action:

And I think it’s sort of the best possible place to start, because I think the great thing about this show is that creatively, it’s as close as you can get to kind of reconnecting with that sense of play that I think we all fell in love with Marvel as kids. Like, working on the show, it’s kind of like we’ve all got our action figures out and are dumping them on the carpet and mixing and matching.  And so it’s been a great place where you get to work on all the different characters, all the different tones, or whatever.  And so creatively, you know, I worked on Ms. Marvel with Ashley, and the experience was sort of, kind of the same.  The animation versus live action, it’s all kind of the same deal.

Matthew also went into how it works writing for the multiverse of What If…?.

Yeah.  I mean, part of the fun is that we have kind of all the toys that the MCU has to offer, but none of the responsibility of it, having to be, like, exactly fitting in this larger narrative.  But, yeah, the challenge is we only have sometimes 22 minutes to tell these stories, but the hope is that unlike some of the live action movies that deal with multiverse stuff, like “What If…?” is the show where you actually get to live in these alternate realities for the whole story. 

So hopefully it’s kind of like filling in that larger canvas and kind of creating the stakes of the multiverse for those live action movies. ‘Cause I think sometimes when you’re dealing with the multiverse, you’re like, oh, if there’s an infinite number of, you know, Peggy Carters, what does it matter if you lose one?  But I think hopefully our show is making you invest in all of these worlds, in all of these characters, so that you realize, you know, everything in this multiverse really does matter.

AC got into one of the special episodes for this season about the 1602 Avengers.

I think I’m allowed to talk about 1602 a little bit, just because it has been announced.  But that was the one where we kind of had the most fun.  Kind of just went a little nutty.  And just, like, what’s the weirdest we can get with these characters?  What is the most different outfits and personas that we can put them through?  I don’t want to talk any more about it, but people who have read the comic kind of probably know what I mean.

Finally, they got into one of the brand-new characters they created just for What If…?, Kahhori.

 I remember our first Zooms about that.  Again, pandemic.  It was, like, April 2020.  And it was really fun.  We got Disney Diversity on the phone, and we told them the episode.  And they went, “We’re gonna call the Smithsonian.”  And I was like, “Is that, like, the bat phone?  You’re allowed to do that?”  They’re like, “Yeah, we’re gonna get the Smithsonian.  They have the Rolodex,  they have the Museum of the Native American.  They have the Rolodex.  Let’s get them involved.”  And so from day one, we were talking to people.  We brought them in for everything from design, story, costuming, music.  It was really a collaborative effort, and we were so lucky to get all the help.  It was really kind of amazing and beautiful.

AC Bradley

Here’s what Bryan had to say about Kahhori.

It’s pretty incredible.  It was one of the early ideas I think we had, because what bigger what if is there than, like, you know, what if colonialization didn’t happen?  What if the Europeans didn’t come here?  And that’s kind of, at least for me, what I keyed into. But we needed more, and when talking with the consultants and getting into their belief system and the rest, we were able to totally find an in that was solid and worked.  And just as Ashley said, and Ryan was instrumental. 

He was so fantastic.  He was super point on this and really working with the consultants a ton to bring this character to life.  But it was incredible the work that the vis/dev team did and our art team did with the locales, because when the consultants would see the artwork finally, after giving a few notes and things like that, they were amazed. 

They wrote us, like, a letter saying that they felt for the first time that their people were honestly being represented in media. And that was huge for us to hear, ’cause, like, they were no bones about it.  Like, no, this is legit.  And we’re showing it to the First Nations, to the various Mohawk tribes that were all around, like, the area, like Montreal and East Coast.  They’re coming together, and we’re showing it to them before this airs.  And hundreds of members of the First Nations tribal community are, like, showing up, and like, kids, family, because it’s all in their language.  The whole episode is subtitled, and they’re, like, that hasn’t been done for us before. And so they are beyond the moon for it, so we’re really proud of that.

What If…? season two debuts on Disney+ on December 22nd and has new episodes premiering every day through December 30th.

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