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How Marvel’s ‘What If…?’ Became the Ideal Platform for ILM Immersive’s Interactive Storytelling

Become the Ideal Platform for ILM Immersive Interactive Storytelling

Marvel’s animated anthology series, “What If…?”, has carved out a unique niche within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Premiering on Disney+ in August 2021, the series explores alternate timelines, imagining what might have happened if pivotal moments in MCU history had unfolded differently. With its rich narrative potential and visually striking animation, the series has become a fertile ground for innovative storytelling techniques, notably through its collaboration with ILM Immersive for interactive experiences.

The Evolution of ‘What If…?’

Created by A.C. Bradley and directed by Bryan Andrews, “What If…?” features the voice of Jeffrey Wright as the Watcher, a cosmic observer of the multiverse. The series’ first two seasons, released in 2021 and 2023, garnered praise for their imaginative plots and high-quality animation, despite some criticisms of episode length and pacing. A third season is in the works, alongside a spin-off titled “Marvel Zombies”.

Collaboration with ILM Immersive

ILM Immersive, a division of Industrial Light & Magic, has partnered with Marvel Studios to enhance the “What If…?” series with interactive storytelling elements. This collaboration leverages advanced augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies to offer viewers a more engaging and participatory viewing experience. The project, “What If…? – An Immersive Story,” is designed specifically for the Apple Vision Pro headset, set to launch in May 2024.

Interactive Storytelling in the Marvel Universe

The interactive experience allows users to step into the multiverse, exploring alternate realities and engaging with characters in unprecedented ways. This immersive approach not only deepens the viewer’s connection to the narrative but also showcases the potential of interactive media in expanding traditional storytelling boundaries. The AR and VR elements developed by ILM Immersive provide a dynamic platform where fans can influence the storyline, offering a personalized and engaging experience.

Technical Innovations and Audience Engagement

ILM Immersive’s integration of AR and VR technologies into “What If…?” represents a significant advancement in the entertainment industry. By utilizing the Apple Vision Pro headset, the experience promises high-resolution visuals and intuitive interaction, enhancing the overall narrative immersion. This innovative approach aims to attract a broad audience, from dedicated Marvel fans to tech enthusiasts curious about the latest in interactive media.

Future Prospects

The success of this project could pave the way for more interactive experiences within the MCU and beyond. As AR and VR technologies continue to evolve, they hold the potential to transform how stories are told and experienced, breaking down the barriers between the screen and the audience. Marvel’s willingness to embrace these technologies with “What If…?” signals a promising future for interactive entertainment.

Marvel’s “What If…?” has proven to be an ideal platform for ILM Immersive’s interactive storytelling, blending imaginative narratives with cutting-edge technology. This collaboration highlights the potential of AR and VR in creating engaging, immersive experiences that resonate with audiences on a deeper level. As the boundaries of storytelling continue to expand, the marriage of Marvel’s rich narrative universe with ILM’s technical expertise stands as a pioneering effort in the realm of interactive entertainment.


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