Of course it’s important to get the hearts of these characters right, but the stories themselves should still matter.
“The multiverse is dangerous because you want to make sure everything is at stake,” said Winderbaum, who wrote Bradley’s comments about What if…? is powered by the characters established in the MCU. “We realized early on that as long as you focus on the characters, it really doesn’t matter if that character exists in a parallel timeline or in the city next door. If you care about them, you follow the story wherever they live and whoever they are.”
As for the voices behind those characters, Marvel got a lot of its live-action stable of actors to get into the sound booth and play their roles in the animated format, a feat Winderbaum says he couldn’t have imagined possible.
“If you were to ask me how many of the original cast I thought we could actually return for the show, I would have said we’d be 50% lucky,” he says. “The fact that we’ve come to about 85% is beyond my wildest dreams of what I thought we could achieve.”
Winderbaum reveals that Marvel co-president Louis D’Esposito was instrumental in getting many of the actors on board for the show, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Benicio Del Toro, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Hemsworth, Don Cheadle, Evangeline Lilly, Jeremy Renner, Josh Brolin, Karen Gillan, Mark Ruffalo, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Douglas, Natalie Portman, Paul Bettany, Paul Rudd, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan and Tom Hiddleston
There are also many more MCU actors involved – too many to list – although some notable absentees include Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Brie Larson and Scarlet Johansson. “It didn’t work with some of our stars,” Winderbaum admits. “But we chose early on not to make the stories dependent on the actors we thought we could get.”