Marvel Studios' new animated series What If...? has not even premiered yet, but one episode has already been cut. Back in 2018 when the series was first announced, Marvel executive Kevin Feige said there would be 10 episodes in the first season, but as the premiere approaches, we can now see there are only 9. Executive producer Brad Winderbaum explained why in a recent interview with Collider.
"We had to push an episode into Season 2. It was just, honestly, like everything else, that was a COVID impact," Winderbaum said. "There was an episode that just wouldn't hit the completion date, but luckily we do get to see it in the second season of the show." Winderbaum confirmed that "Season 2 will also be 9" episodes long. What If...? premieres on Wednesday, Aug. 11 on Disney+, and new subscribers can get a free trial for the service here.
Marvel's What If...? is an anthology-style series based on the Marvel Comics by the same title. It explores alternate timelines within the Marvel Cinematic Universe using string theory to explain the variance in other dimensions. It will feature familiar characters and, in some cases, voices, along with plots that could not be possible in the main canonical MCU.
If that wasn't enough creative freedom, Winderbaum also mentioned the flexibility afforded by the streaming format. He said that the show was not technically restricted to a certain run time like most broadcast series are, since it doesn't need commercial breaks. This opened up a surprising amount of possibilities for writers and animators.
"We targeted a half an hour for each episode. Some of them come in a little longer, some of them come in a little shorter," said Winderbaum. "We wanted to tell as many stories as we could and we had a certain budget we had to work with so it felt like that 10-episode — now 9-episode run — was the right quantity."
Early announcements indicated that the stars of the live-action MCU movies would reprise their roles in this animated show, but that no longer seems to be the case. It has reportedly been confirmed that A-listers Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Tom Holland, Scarlett Johansson, Brie Larson and Elizabeth Olsen did not participate in the show. However, Stars like Jaimie Alexander (Sif), Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Angela Bassett (Ramonda), Paul Bettany (Vision), Leslie Bibb (Christine Everheart), Chadwick Boseman (T'Challa), Josh Brolin (Thanos), Clancy Brown (Surtur), Don Cheadle (War Machine), Carrie Coon (Proxima Midnight), Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), David Dastmalchian (Kurt), Benicio Del Toro (The Collector), Kat Dennings (Darcy Lewis) and Michael Douglas (Hank Pym) did.
Other familiar voices will include Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Jeff Goldblum (Grandmaster), Seth Green (Howard the Duck), Clark Gregg (Phil Coulson), Frank Grillo (Crossbones), Sean Gunn (Kraglin), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Djimon Hounsou (Korath the Pursuer), Rachel House (Topaz), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Toby Jones (Arnim Zola), Michael B. Jordan (Killmonger), John Kani (T'Chaka), Evangeline Lilly (Wasp), Ophelia Lovibond (Carina), Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer), Neal McDonough (Dum Dum Dugan) and Natalie Portman (Jane Foster). There is also Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Michael Rooker (Yondu), Paul Rudd (Ant-Man), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner), Kurt Russell (Ego), Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaue), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes), Georges St-Pierre (Batroc), Chris Sullivan (Taserface), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One), Stanley Tucci (Abraham Erskine), Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter), Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Ebony Maw), Taika Waititi (Korg), Bradley Whitford (John Flynn), Benedict Wong (Wong) and Jeffrey Wright (The Watcher).
What If...? premieres on Wednesday, Aug. 11 on Disney+. It will be the fourth MCU show streaming there, so be sure to catch it if you want to avoid any possible broad continuity spoilers.