• DisneyExaminer
  • Posts
  • “What If…- An Immersive Story” is what you get when you combine ILM, Marvel Studios, and Apple Vision Pro

“What If…- An Immersive Story” is what you get when you combine ILM, Marvel Studios, and Apple Vision Pro

The masters of art, storytelling, and technology join together so that you can live out your Marvel hero story

Before that story, here’s what you should also know this week

  • The new Star Wars series for Disney+ called The Acolyte debuts with a two-episodes premiere on June 4. Our own Jordie Poblete went to the launch event and saw the episodes. Here’s his quick review.

  • Richard M. Sherman, part of the Walt Disney-lauded Sherman Brothers who wrote iconic songs like ‘it’s a small world’ and ‘Feed the Birds’ died on May 25 in Los Angeles. He was 95. Read a tribute for him here.

  • Disney’s The Lion King 30th Anniversary: A Live-to-Film Concert Event occurred this past weekend at the Hollywood Bowl. The event was recorded and will debut exclusively on Disney+ later this year.

What If… you.

Close to one year ago, Apple announced their newest product: Apple Vision Pro. In that announcement, Disney CEO Bob Iger made a guest appearance teasing how both the leader in storytelling and master technologists would work together to “immerse people further in Disney’s stories.”

Now with Apple Vision Pro available to the public, Disney is ready to debut their first of what hopes to be many immersive story adventures using Apple Vision Pro.

What If… - An Immersive Story” was teased in that announcement video at the end, showing The Watcher character from the Marvel Studios’ series on Disney+ of the same name inviting you into a new dimension of endless possibilities of Marvel characters and situations where he resides and presides over. “Imperceptible to most, but not to you…,” he says directly to you as the threads of your reality crack around you to reveal this mythic space.

Joe Ching and Indira Guerrieri who are on the ILM Immersive Development team (yes the same ILM, or Industrial Light and Magic, group that pioneered visual effects in film and and now VR/MR experiences) spoke to us further about creating the experience, saying that it was a great challenge and very rewarding.

“The ‘What If…’ series was the perfect area for us to jump in because it can exist anywhere,” says Ching, who was the lead experience designer. “That allowed for a freedom to create artistically and design accordingly.” Added Guerrieri who was one of the technical art directors, “It was incredibly rewarding to work alongside the Marvel Studios team, but a challenge as well since we were trying to effectively create the look and feel of the show in a VR/MR environment.”

While the experience itself is not a replaying of the narratives seen in the series, it does take a page from it in that it’s really a playground for every character, device, and trope that make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to exists and now, for you to play with.

Altogether, “What If…- An Immersive Story” is a multi-chapter experience where you become a Marvel character yourself and by invitation of The Watcher, help in a quest that includes you learning how to open a portal like Doctor Strange, interact with characters like a variant of Thanos, and even wield the power of the Infinity Stones.

At it’s best, the Marvel wish-fulfillment that this experience affords is very much dependent on both the art and technology work in partnership together, and both Ching and Guerrieri offered only praise for the collaboration between Apple and Marvel Studios. “Sometimes we work with dreamers who don’t really know how to communicate in design, but the Marvel team knows how to dream and be practical,” said Ching. Guerreri continued, “The same praise goes to the Apple team for pushing the technical boundaries of their headset so we could pull off the look that we were wanting and what fans of the series are expecting. Both art and design worked hand-in-hand.”

Now after a year of working on it and What If…- An Immersive Story is about to enter our world, both Ching and Guerreri are hopeful that it spurs on even more collaborations between Apple and the other brands within Disney. “It’s about involving the player and ILM Immersive knows that and wants to do more of that,” Ching said with Guerreri adding “The ability of being able to take art and be able to interact with it is the dream. Who knows what Disney art and stories we can work on next?” 

Perhaps The Watcher knows.

STILL TO COME: An EXCLUSIVE talk with the people who make Disney’s viral & highly collectible popcorn buckets for theme parks and movies!!

Love DisneyExaminer? Remember to tell your circles about us, too!


or to participate.