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What If...? D23 Footage Shows Peggy Carter's Captain Britain, Zombie Captain America

Marvel's What If...? looks like it's going to be one wild ride.

Footage from the upcoming Disney+ animated series was recently unveiled at the D23 expo in Anaheim, California, promising fans a mind-bending look at some of the crazier alternate realities of the Marvel multiverse. (via Empire)

In case you're unaware, What If...? is based on the alternate universe anthology comic series of the same name, which has run in one form or another since 1977. In it, readers are treated to stories (often narrated by Uatu, the Watcher) from other realities, ones in which certain events went down quite differently from how they transpired in the mainstream Marvel Universe. These stories ran the gamut from breathtakingly compelling to egregiously weird, and often hinged on events that would have had a serious domino effect on the main continuity if they had played out differently.

So far, the What If...? animated series seems to be hewing close to the aesthetic of the comics, which should warm the hearts of longtime Marvel fans. Each episode will explore a different alternate universe story, and before the first look footage screened at D23, we had only gotten word as to what one of these would be "What if Loki found Thor's hammer first," which is to be adapted from a 1984 issue of the comic.

Unfortunately, the D23 footage hasn't been released online — but, thanks to a few intrepid members of the press, we have a few details as to what was contained therein. The spot opens with the narration of the Watcher (Jeffrey Wright, Boardwalk Empire) explaining the concept of the series: "Time, Space, Reality. It's more than a linear path. It's a prism of endless possibility. Where a single choice can branch into infinite possibilities, creating alternate worlds from the one you know; a reflection of what could've been. I am the Watcher. I am your guide through these vast new realities. Follow me and dare to face the unknown, and ponder the question, what if...?"

The footage then gave the crowd a look at three of the stories to be featured in the series. The first featured a version of Guardians of the Galaxy's Star-Lord who was decidedly not Peter Quill — and who, in fact, looked a heck of a lot like T'Challa, the Black Panther. The second featured a universe in which Peggy Carter, not Steve Rogers, was enhanced with the Super Soldier serum; she apparently becomes that universe's version of Captain Britain, sporting a uniform and shield emblazoned with the Union Jack. The third posited a reality in which Bucky Barnes never took his fateful plunge from the train (as seen in Captain America: The First Avenger), and he somehow ends up fighting a zombified Captain America.

On hand for the presentation was none other than Peggy Carter herself, Hayley Atwell, who drew a rapturous ovation from the crowd and had praise for the design of her animated self. 

If you're thinking that Marvel Studios' first foray into animation looks totally bonkers, well, we're right there with you. The series promises to be unlike anything we've seen out of the MCU so far, and in a recent conversation with CinemaBlend, Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige singled out What If...? as evidence of the burst of creative energy that that has rippled through the studio since its involvement with Disney+ began.

"It is incredibly liberating, it is an amazing opportunity we have," Feige said. "Disney+ has sent a wave of creativity through Marvel Studios in a really great way. [What If...?], as I said, is going to focus on events you think you know everything about from the MCU, and when you change one thing here or there, how everything is different. So you will see primarily characters you've met before but, again, in entirely different ways."

Feige was not just whistling Dixie. It was also revealed at D23 that What If...? will field a whopping 23 episodes, with each episode tying in to one of the 23 films Marvel Studios has released so far. The complete voice cast for the series was also announced, and it is, in a word, massive. (It is also, in another word, awesome.)

In addition to Atwell, lending their voices to the series will be Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), Michael Douglas (Hank Pym), Chadwick Boseman (T'Challa/Black Panther), Michael B. Jordan (Erik "Killmonger" Stevens), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes), Toby Jones (Arnim Zola), Neal McDonough (Dum Dum Dugan), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Sean Gunn (Kraglin), Michael Rooker (Yondu), Djimon Hounsou (Korath), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Natalie Portman (Jane Foster), Taika Waititi (Korg), Jeff Goldblum (Grandmaster), Josh Brolin (Thanos), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), and Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark). (via Polygon)

You may notice a few prominent names missing from that ginormous list: Robert Downey, Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), and Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man). It's unclear if the former two simply aren't involved, or if their participation is being saved for a later announcement; as far as Holland goes, his involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has suddenly fallen into serious jeopardy in the last week, although it should be noted that while Sony Pictures holds the film rights to Spidey, the television rights are owned by Disney.

In any event, we're just hoping that we get to feast our eyes on that footage very soon. The moment it makes its way online, you can be sure that we'll be here to clue you in, and to offer our signature expert analysis.