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SYFY WIRE Marvel's What If?

What If...? showrunner teases 'weirder and wilder' second season: 'The training wheels come off'

By Josh Weiss
What If 107 Still

If you thought seeing Ant-Man's head floating in a jar was strange, then you ain't seen nothing yet! According to What If...? head writer A.C. Bradley, Marvel's animated anthology series is only just starting to push the envelope of how off-the-wall these tales of intrigue can get on Disney+.

"Season 2 is a lot of fun," Bradley said during a guest spot on the latest episode of Deadline's Hero Nation podcast. "The training wheels come off and we get to do a little bit weirder and wilder [stories]. There is one episode, which is probably the closest to my own personality I’ve ever written. It’s heartfelt, it’s full of action, and bad '90s clothing choices."

That's gotta be an alternate retelling of Captain Marvel, right?

Carol Danvers has already shown up twice in What If...?. Her most recent appearance came in last week's episode, where she was summoned to Earth to bring an unrly frat boy version of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) under control. Bradley revealed that Episode 7 was meant to be a comedic refresher after the darker episodes involving Doctor Strange's heartbreak and the zombie apocalypse. However, it wasn't supposed to be the only light-hearted story of the bunch.

"We did have another comedy episode in the season, which is the one that has been pushed to Season 2 due to COVID production issues," Bradley revealed, going on to explain that the pandemic also affected the runtimes for certain episodes.

"The [original] What If...? comics had a habit of ending really abruptly and really dark to prove that the main timeline is the better timeline. So, we kind of used that as our reason for being able to cut stories off a little bit shorter. Honestly, all these episodes could've been 45 minutes. Some of the animatics were originally 35 minutes, but due to animation and COVID, we actually had to cut a few of them a little bit shorter than we would have liked."

Season 2 is currently in "the animatics stages on a lot of the episodes," each of which take a year to fully animate, per the head writer. "Therefore, the first and second drafts of the scripts are already done," she continued. "We're knee deep in production and design."

One idea Bradley pitched for both seasons was "Captain America meets West Wing," a send-up to an actual issue of What If...? from the early 1980s in which Steve Rogers was sworn in as President of the United States.

"I doubt it's ever gonna be made," she concluded. "I wanted the walk-and-talks, I wanted the full Aaron Sorkin treatment ... We were playing around with it for ages. It was just something we kind of did over beers for fun. Me and [writer Matthew Chauncey] because we're huge Sorkin heads. But it was always the one that hit the idea room floor. Because it's a super talky episode and not a whole lot of action."

Episodes 1-7 of What If...? are now available to stream on Disney+. Episode 8 premieres this coming Wednesday (Sep. 29) followed by the season finale on Wednesday, Oct. 6.