The Big Picture
- Marvel Studios’ animated series What If…? is introducing a completely original character named Kahhori for its second season.
- Kahhori is a young woman from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy before the colonization of America, making her a groundbreaking character for the show.
- The episode dedicated to Kahhori explores a scenario where the Tesseract falls into her homeland, allowing her to discover her powers and protect her tribe, all told in the Mohawk language.
The Marvel Studios animated program What If…? you have, up to this point, solely concerned itself with pre-established figures from the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Characters ranging from Thor to Thanos to Hank Pym are all up for grabs, but the big prerequisite for appearing in the show (save for Jeffrey Wright‘s omnipotent narrator The Watcher) is that you must have appeared in prior MCU media. That rule is set to be broken for the second season of the program, which will feature an episode dedicated to Kahhori, a completely original figure made just for What If…?
Kahhori is a young woman living on Earth in the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in the days before America was colonized. Given that no MCU movie or TV show has been set in this time period or (at least prior to Threw out) focused on indigenous characters, it shouldn’t be a shock that Kahhori is a totally original figure for What If…? While her status as a breakthrough in the kind of characters who can appear in this show is clear, less obvious are other elements related to Kahhori. Who is she? What kind of exploits does she get into What If…? How does she tie into pre-existing mythology from this expansive franchise? Let’s delve a little deeper into Kahhori, the big new character in What If…? Season 2.
Based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name, this animated anthology looks at alternate timelines in the multiverse that would happen if specific moments in the MCU occurred differently.
- Release Date
- August 11, 2021
- Jeffrey Wright
- AC Bradley
Kahhori Is an Original Character Created for the MCU
A particularly interesting aspect of Kahhori as a character on even a conceptual level is that she has no pre-existing origins in the dense lore of Marvel Comics. The Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and TV shows have often been dedicated to utilizing even the most obscure figures from the comics (like Dar-Benn or Kaecilius) for major villain roles. The list of originally created characters in the major MCU properties is extremely limited, and often includes comic sidekicks like Luis in Ant-Man or Katy in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Kahhori being an originally created figure for the MCU already makes her unique, but her being the protagonist of a story and a superhero makes her especially unique in this saga.
With no comics to turn to for clues, one would normally be hopelessly lost trying to discern what Kahhori’s role on What If…? even was. However, in March 2023, nine months before the second season of What If…? would hit Disney+ (more on that timing later), Marvel published an official breakdown on its website about what Kahhori’s episode on this program detailed. The concept of her What If…? episode explores what would have occurred if the Tesseract had fallen into Kahhori’s homeland centuries before the events of Captain America: The First Avenger. This object allows Kahhori “to discover her power,” an indication that this character might have superpowers of some kind. Images from the trailer for What If…? Season 2 showing Kahhori with glowing blue eyes would seem to indicate this notion has some validity. Interestingly, this particular installment is apparently told entirely in the Mohawk language (the real-life Kahhori tribe belongs to), making this the rare piece of MCU media to inhabit a language that isn’t English.
writer Ryan Little provided further context for the plot of the episode by noting that Kahhori’s journey of discovery would intersect with her having to work with a slew of intimidating individuals in an attempt to protect her tribe. This piece also makes sure to emphasize that the episode was made in collaboration with experts in the Mohawk language while also noting that the region Kahhori occupies would eventually become upstate New York. This ties this new What If…? character in with the history of countless other Marvel icons, since (whether it’s in movies, TV cartoons, comics, or anything else), New York City is always a go-to home for Marvel crime fighters.
The Intriguing Context Behind the Announcement of Kahhori
At the end of this Marvel news article announcing the existence of Kahhori in an official capacity, there is a note teasing viewers that Funko toys involving Kahhori will be available at the end of March 2023…but there is no word about when What If…? Season 2 (the piece of MCU media she actually appears in) will show up. A proper release date for this collection of episodes wouldn’t be announced for months and months…so why reveal this character so early? In hindsight, the introduction of Kahhori is a perfect distillation of what weird uncertainty has plagued the release of What If…? Season 2.
Originally, What If…? head writer AC Bradley openly confirmed on social media that the second season of this program would drop in late 2022, a little over a year after its first season premiere. Then things got…cloudy. A trailer for the season at the 2022 edition of the San Diego Comic Con teased that the next What If…? installments would arrive at the start of 2023, but by February 2023, The Hollywood Reporter indicated this season likely wouldn’t drop until 2024. While Marvel Studios struggled to secure a concrete release date for when Kahhori and the other What If…? characters would appear, merchandise companies stuck to a pre-determined schedule. These entities began sending out What If…? Season 2 items in the spring of 2023, which included toys of Kahhori.
On March 2, 2023, news outlets began sharing images from social media of people finding Kahhori Funko merch in the wild. A week later, Marvel dropped a news item officially introducing Kahhori to the world so that this superhero’s earliest impression on people wasn’t just grainy images shared on Twitter. This news was so far in advance of the current What If… season two debut that this news reveal did not share a premiere date for this season nor did it divulge a voice actor for Kahhori. Marvel still wanted to keep some sense of mystery surrounding this character, even if its initial promotional plans for Kahhori were clearly derailed by wayward merchandise.
Soon, though, audiences will get to meet Kahhori properly in the new season of What If…? and this superhero can be defined by more than just the marketing brouhaha surrounding the official announcement of its existence. The very presence of Kahhori in the second round of What If…? episodes is incredibly exciting on multiple levels, including that it indicates that this TV show is expanding its creative muscles in exploring hypothetical scenarios across the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse. Here’s to hoping the eventual Kahhori-centric episode of What If…? lives up to the character’s rich potential.
The first season of What If…? is available to stream on Disney+ in the US
Watch on Disney+