The latest Marvel series to launch on Disney+ is the animated What If…? series that explores alternate realities of familiar MCU stories.
It plays into the multiverse that the current phase of the MCU seems to be establishing, looking at what could have happened – like, for example, if Peggy Carter became Captain America instead of Steve Rogers. At one point, however, the showrunners tried to pitch an even more ambitious episode: a crossover with Star Wars.
Collider’s Steve Weintraub recently interviewed What If…? director Bryan Andrews and head writer AC Bradley, and he raised the subject of whether future seasons could ever see an episode with a crossover between the MCU and another Disney property. The most obvious such property would, of course, be Star Wars, and Andrews and Bradley revealed that at one point they actually did pitch something like that. They said that they tried to make it happen (and Bradley mentioned Luke Skywalker in particular, thinking it would be cool to see him as an Avenger), but that it didn’t work. They said that’s when the executives at the company gave them some guidelines, saying that they had the whole MCU to play with, but that was enough.
Andrews did leave the door slightly open, though, saying that if the show is well-received and enough fans ask for it, maybe it’ll happen sometime down the road. The series has already been renewed for a second season, and it may well run long beyond that too.
I’m glad that this isn’t happening, though, and I don’t think it should – and I say that as both a fan of Star Wars and the MCU. A crossover like that wouldn’t feel fitting for either context. For example, the What If…? show is all about the MCU multiverse, but adding Luke Skywalker makes it something more than that. I suppose if down the road they want to explore an avenue where they could bring these franchises together there’s probably a way they could figure it out… but I’m skeptical.
And I also think it’s worth noting that Weintraub points out that doing a crossover like this would be great for merchandise sales, which I am sure of! It would be huge. But the people at Disney said no. There are some people who insist that the only thing Disney cares about is money, but that’s not the only thing – if it were, they wouldn’t have stepped in here. Of course Disney, or Marvel, or Lucasfilm, wants to turn a profit! If they don’t, they won’t keep on making this stuff much longer. But there are plenty other considerations at play too, and it’s insulting to the creatives to say that money drives it all. This example is proof that isn’t the case, and I think they absolutely made the right call here.
I love the MCU and am excited about What If…? but I don’t think this would have worked too well.