There used to be a time when big studios used to make animated tie-ins to popular movies. Movies like The Chronicles of Riddick and The Matrix got animated shorts packed into their DVD releases. That practice died out a few years ago. Disney+ is trying to bring it back with shows like Marvel’s What If and Star Wars: Visions. 20 years later, we finally get to see some top notch animation set in two of the most popular movie franchises Hollywood has ever seen. But there’s a stark difference between the two projects.
While Marvel’s What If did come first, it has not been able to garner as much love as Star Wars: Visions has. The reason is rather simple to be frank – Star Wars: Vision is way better than Marvel’s What If.
Star Wars: Visions Dares To Dream While Marvel’s What If Sticks To The Tried & Tested
Fans always reward film-makers if they try to give the audience something new and fresh. Maybe that is why Zack Snyder’s Justice League was such a roaring success with record breaking viewing numbers at HBO Max. Marvel’s What If tried to do it too. The very premise is supposed to be experimental. It explores alternate scenarios where things didn’t exactly go as they did in the mainstream Marvel Cinematic Universe. We got a party Thor, a zombie apocalypse, and a rogue Hank Pym killing the Avengers. But did the show deliver on anything else other than the basic premise? Most would say that a majority of Marvel’s What If episodes were a letdown.
Star Wars: Visions did not stray into the trope of alternate realities and parallel planes of existence. It stuck to one universe, in fact just one galaxy far, far away. But even a hardcore Star Wars fans wouldn’t be able to tell you where they fit into the main timeline. Star Wars: Visions has a Jedi rock-star band, a rogue Sith-hunting Sith, Dark Side Force Twins and much more. Each episode, just like What If, is a standalone. The stories are impactful and serious and do not depend on cheap humor or pre-existing tropes to drive the plot. Marvel’s What If tried to be something new but Star wars: Visions beat them to it by a mile, the primary reason being Visions’ bag of tricks and array of concepts were far more intriguing.
Marvel’s What If Does Not Take Chances & Most Episodes Feel Rushed In
A major criticism of Marvel’s What If Episodes have been that they feel way too rushed in by the time closing credits roll. Many questions remain unexplained and too many plotlines remain unexplored. While one could shrug it under the rug as creative liberties to keep the audiences guessing, this one pattern has become so frequent in recent episodes it is getting hard to ignore. Ultron wielding the Infinity Stones from the last What If Episode was a huge talking point back when the trailer was released. The episode neither cared to explain it nor expand upon it. That is just one of countless instances where Marvel’s What If didn’t bother about the fans and just winged it.
Star Wars: Visions does not rely on the conventional path. Disney purposefully gave the job of creating and developing each episode to a different anime studio. Lucasfilm knew every anime studio has their own style of animation and their own way of narrating the plot. Everything is starkly different in how things work from studio to studio. Star Wars: Visions clearly took some important cues from Netflix’s uber-successful Love Death + Robots. And they deliver each episode with suave and panache. It is Star Wars unlike anything you have never seen before.
Were all the Star Wars: Visions episodes up to the mark? We wouldn’t go that far to say yes. But were they different, unique and fun to watch? That’s a resounding yes. Star Wars: Visions is what Marvel’s What If clearly should have strived to become.