Although many may think that the roster of characters in the MCU is already pretty hefty, all any fan wants to know if who and what will be added next, and there are no more anticipated arrivals than the Fantastic Four and X-Men to the expanding universe of comic book heroes. Since Disney acquired Fox in 2019, along with the rights to these two Marvel properties, everyone has been waiting for news of how and when these groups will make their MCU debuts. While no one expects them until probably the end of Phase 4 and into Phase 5, some had hoped that new animated series What If...? could at least give a little glimpse of alterative versions of the characters, but that doesn't look like it is going to happen in this season of the show.
Speaking to Collider, the show's executive producer Brad Winderbaum has been explaining that even though Disney had brought the two Marvel families back into the fold by the time What If...? was announced, there was never an option to use them in any capacity.
"We had very few parameters when we were ideating the show, but that was certainly one of them," he said. "We wanted to make sure that the characters were firmly rooted in the MCU. And that had nothing to do with rights and had nothing to do with the future stories we wanted to tell. It had everything to do with what 'What If..?' is: which is a spin on an established storyline. So we look - primarily - at the Infinity Saga."
The explanation not only makes sense from a point of view that they wouldn't necessarily want to use characters that have not yet been seen in the |MCU, but also the title itself says it all. What If...? is the idea that what has already gone before in the Marvel Cinematic Universe could have happened in another way, and that would obviously feature stories and characters that are well known to those who have followed the story all the way from Iron Man back in 2018.
We also need to remember that this is Marvel we are talking about, and there is nothing that Kevin Feige likes to do more than introduce new characters with a big bang. Using properties as big as Fantastic Four or the X-Men as sub-characters in an animated series for their first appearance just would never be on the cards, especially when most these characters' MCU look and voices are nowhere near decided yet.
What we do know is that the next Ant-Man movie, Quantumania, will feature a version of Kang The Conqueror as its villain, and if the latest long term teasers are to be believed, the Fantastic Four will be following soon afterwards. With Marvel now rumored to be preparing a Secret Wars storyline that would potentially see the Marvel Cinematic Universe given a complete overhaul, which would potentially see the establishment of the Young Avengers, X-Men and more, then we are still a few years away from those epic debuts. However, What If...? is now showing on Disney+, with new episodes releasing each Wednesday. This news originated at ComicBook.com.