As you’d imagine for a project where literally anything is possible, the creative team behind Marvel’s What If…? were forced to leave a number of ideas on the sidelines for a variety of reasons, one of which included creator A.C. Bradley pitching an episode that turned out to be identical to the plot of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Another abandoned pitch would have seen Spider-Man turning into a literal arachnid, which was deemed to be pushing the boundaries of Disney Plus’ ratings system a little too far, even if it happened previously in the beloved 1990s animated show. With a second season already confirmed, we’re at least guaranteed more wild and crazy adventures when What If…? returns for its sophomore run.
In a new interview, Bradley revealed that another scrapped storyline would have seen Steve Rogers become brainwashed by Hydra into working on their behalf, something we’ve already seen unfold in the pages of Marvel Comics to much controversy.
“My idea was, if Steve fell off the train, we would jump forward in time. Steve Rogers is the kind of man that when he believes something is right, he goes to the ends of the Earth to do it. But he actually is not a very good soldier. He doesn’t follow orders. So if he’s brainwashed by Hydra to believe that Hydra is right, he’s going to go full throttle.”
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It would have been a much more inventive twist on Captain America: The First Avenger than we ended up with, but the premiere still drew plenty of praise from fans nonetheless. Seeing Peggy Carter, Howard Stark, Bucky Barnes and even the Red Skull put their differences to one side in order to stop the Nazi-affiliated super soldier would have been fascinating to see, but it can’t be ruled out that Bradley may return to that particular well for Season 2, especially when the reactions to the remaining eight episodes will be a gauge for how much audiences are willing to embrace What If…? pushing its standalone narratives into the most surprising and unexpected territory possible.