Do we need a Star Wars What If…? series for a galaxy far, far away? Rumors have made the rounds that a What If…? style show is in the works at Lucasfilm, which is not surprising. The series has been a hit for Marvel amid a turbulent time for that franchise, and I’m sure the Big Mouse is looking for ways to capitalize on the success. It’s also not the first time Star Wars has done these kinds of stories, as ScreenRant points out, as "What if's" have been told in comics for over two decades in Star Wars Infinities. This would be a brand new venture on screen, though.
But do we need a What If…? series though?
I’m on the fence about a What If…? style show because it has plenty of pros and cons. As a fan of animation and loving what Marvel has done with their show, it would be cool to unleash this kind of freedom on Lucasfilm Animation. When not constrained by the limits of canon, they could really push the boundaries of a Star Wars story.
Though, is that not what Star Wars: Visions is? Along with studios from all over the world getting their shot at a Star Wars story, part of Visions’ success is that it isn’t held back by canon. Two Force users can throwdown in a high octane battle in the vacuum of space in one short while in another a dancer uses her performance to spy on the Empire. A Jedi-led band rocking out for Jabba the Hutt can exist alongside an ex-Sith facing her master. Visions is not beholden to canon, which is why it’s so fascinating to see what Star Wars themes and ideologies rise up in the narrative when creators don't have to worry about canon.
A What If…? series could vary from Visions by working with stories established by canon. This is where it would put it more in line with the Marvel version of the show. Instead of creating new stories like Visions, this could play with questions like "What if Padme Amidala survived?" or "What if Luke Skywalker never left Tatooine?" though that last one has been explored in books. It would give a chance to examine the established canon if the cards had fallen differently. Heck, it would be cool to see some of the Star Wars Infinities tales brought to the screen.
My biggest fear, though, is the possibility of the show being weaponized. If you've been in the Star Wars fandom in the last few years, you probably know there have been mixed feelings about recent content. Any episode that is a What If...? for or against the sequel trilogy is going to cause issues one way or another. The derisiveness in the fandom really is an issue, and a What If...? story could be weaponized to harass fans. There have already been so many ugly scenarios in fandom that this could set the stage for more.
Because goodness knows it's so hard to ignore the stuff you don't like, scroll past it on social media, and let people enjoy things (sarcasm).
At the end of the day, a What If...? will not erase already established canon. While Star Wars is a mythology, not a history, the canon isn't going anywhere anytime soon. A What If...? story could play for or against your Star Wars views, but it's there for fun as an exploration of different possibilities that could have existed. It's not creating a multiverse. It's not erasing the sequels. Heck, it's more in line with Star Wars Legends as both will showcase the value of stories within their medium and time period (because there's a reason Death Troopers came out in 2009 at the height of the Hollywood zombie craze). Nothing in canon will be changed by a What If...?
So, while I do think a Star Wars What If...? story could be really fun, I have concerns. We already have Star Wars Visions, which already explores a very similar premise. Why not let Visions do canon material and roll it all into one show? "Tatooine Rhapsody" already played with canon characters, so why not let these studios have that option if they want. There are also possible negative fan reactions to a What If...? that makes me nervous. I don't know if I want a show that does that.
Of course this is all still rumors and nothing set in stone. We'll have to see what will happen.