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What If?

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"Somehow the world turns inside out and then...
What if? What if?
"What if," you wonder?
What if? What if?"
Chorus, If/Then, "What If?"

The art of doing to fictional Continuity what Alternate History does to Real Life history. The purpose of a "what-if" scenario is to consider what effects might be caused if some event or invention had come about.

Butterfly of Doom is a what-if where the difference is a single, tiny change, usually with an effect all out of proportion to the cause. In Spite of a Nail is the opposite; a what-if where a change results in a world almost identical to the original, albeit with a hole in it where the missing or changed element should have been.

While some viewers may scoff at the science or events in a work, others point out that even if the premise is ridiculous in Real Life, it's obviously happening to these characters in this universe, so the MST3K Mantra should be invoked.

Compare It's a Wonderful Plot, Crack Fic, Alternate Continuity, Alternate History, Mirror Universe, Elseworld, Role Swap AU. Super-Trope to Alternate Universe, Alternate Reality Episode, Double-Blind What-If (where an in-universe Alternate History postulates how things would have gone had the Point of Divergence done what had happened in real life). Contrast What Could Have Been, when an alternate version of the story or the elements in it was actually considered by the creators in real-life, but did not make it to the finished version.

Not to be confused with What If?, a blog by xkcd creator Randall Munroe focusing on giving serious, scientific answers to extremely absurd questions, or What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, a series of books by the same creator and based on said blog.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Doraemon: Used with the recurring gadget the "What if?" Box. It's a telephone booth. A character can ask the "What if?" Box a "what if" question and it will transport the occupants to the dimension that matches their question. (Do the Doctor and Bill & Ted know about this?)
  • One chapter of Angel Sanctuary featured Setsuna in a Lotus-Eater Machine where there was no...trouble in heaven, Sara wasn't his sister but his girlfriend and Kira was his kind and clever sempai that tutored him. He decided that the real world needed him.
  • One Piece:
    • This is the basis of the movie Episode of Chopper Plus: Bloom in Winter, Miracle Sakura, which is a retelling of the Drum Island arc with a few differences in the cast (Vivi is not there, but Franky and Robin are -they hadn't joined yet by that point in the story-), the crew already having the Thousand Sunny as their ship instead of the Going Merry, Wapol having a brother, etc.)
    • Published in One Piece Magazine is the "Special Episode Luff" manga, an alternative storyline that tells what would have happened if Sabo had saved Ace and Luffy during the battle of Marineford.
  • Evangelion -ANIMA- is an Alternate Continuity take on Neon Genesis Evangelion, the point of divergence being End of Evangelion, where Kaji survives his canon death, informs NERV about SEELE's plan, thus preventing the JSSDF's attack and giving them enough time to fight off the Mass Production Evas, ultimately averting Third Impact. The story picks up three years later, where NERV, now under the command of Misato, is a much more benevolent organization, and the Eva pilots have had three years of relative peace in which to grow up and (somewhat) deal with their personal issues.
    • There's a less significant variation in some Evangelion Pachinko games. for instance, Kaworu appearing in a fully-functional and stable Unit-04 to kick Ramiel's ass?
  • After War Gundam X premise derives from an unnerving alternative resolution of the One Year War conflict: "What if the Spacenoids, after losing the war, opted for the Taking You with Me route and instead of a single Colony Drop decided to use each and every single one of them against Earth?". The aftermath: 99% of the Earth's population got wiped out and civilization was almost destroyed in the process. And that's just the back-story to the events of this series.
  • The Gundam Expanded Universe has the Mobile Suit Variations or MSV series. These show off various Mobile Suit models or equipment for various Mobile Suits. Some do get to show up in anime, like Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, but others are said to have been designed and abandoned due to various circumstances.
  • The Full Metal Panic! series happens in a scenario where Mikhail Gorbachev was assassinated by terrorists and, as such, his political restructuring plans never came to pass, the USSR still exists, and the world is still entrenched in the Cold War up to the present day.
  • Invoked by Ragyo Kiryuin onto Ryuko in Kill la Kill, Mind Rape-flavored. While forcing her to wear Junketsu, Ragyo shows Ryuko the blissful life they could have had together as mother and daughter, leading all the way up to Ryuko's wedding (with a faceless void of Life Fibers wearing a tux, but that's not important). Ryuko... kind of breaks.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story begins as a manga adaptation of one of the Drama CDsnote , focusing on the mentor-student relationship of Mami and Kyouko, before expanding into a completely different story, where Mami survives the events of Episode 3 because Sayaka contracted earlier, Homura and Kyouko form an alliance and Madoka is still agonising over what her wish should be. Inevitably, Sayaka eventually succumbs to her despair and becomes a Witch in front of Mami, and things spiral to hell from there.
  • When the first Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha anime was rereleased on Blu-Ray in 2014, it included a Picture Drama named "Magical Girl Lyrical IF". The premise is that Nanoha doesn't discover the magic ferret and Transformation Trinket. Instead they're found by the character Hayate from the sequel, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. The drama is very tongue-in-cheek; at the end Hayate deals with Fate by giving her food. The food is apparently so delicious that Fate loses her transformation and gets rescued by Nanoha, which suggests the actual point of divergence is Nanoha getting the Book of Darkness instead of Hayate.
  • Bungou Stray Dogs: The Reality-Writing Book the Guild and Fyodor seek for is said to be able to create different "worlds" by adding content into it. If the one of the "world" is strong enough, it could even replace the main timeline. Fyodor intends to use it to create a world without abilities.
  • Most of the Dragon Ball movies are alternate retellings and/or continuations of story arcs from the series proper. Hell, Dragon Ball itself is arguably the biggest "what if" series in the world next to Marvel and DC. A combination of the show's long-running nature and popularity as well as Akira Toriyama's forgetfulness and tendency to just make stuff up really lends itself to the "what if" fandom. The video games themselves are a huge part of this as they, especially the fighting games, often include the whole roster of characters and different endings based on who won. This lets scenarios like what if Frieza killed Goku or what if Krillin was the one forced to defeat Buu. This really paved the way for fans like MasakoX, Team Four Star, and Qaaman to get in on the fun. Another part of this is Dragon Ball's often simple nature and tendency to "waste" characters or plot lines. A huge what if that people love is what if Raditz, Goku's brother, became good instead of dying and never being mentioned again, and another popular one is what if Gine, Goku's Saiyan Mother introduced in Dragon Ball Minus, escaped to Earth with him as a baby and how she would affect the Dragon Ball timeline. The Xenoverse games explore this concept, as they are all about iconic moments in Dragon Ball history being altered (albeit negatively), and tasking your character to fix them.
  • The "Katie's Yo-Kai Butler" episode of Yo-kai Watch is a "What if Katie had the Yo-Kai Watch instead of Nate?" episode. This also serves as a Mythology Gag to the games, where Katie is the original female playable character and Nate is the male one.
  • Naruto Shippuden had a "What if Naruto's parents hadn't died?" filler arc that also functioned as a "What if the Uchiha massacre didn't happen?" arc. This still leads to things such as Naruto and Sasuke conflicting and the Uchiha clan causing trouble (though given the later reveal that Danzo was the one who had Root tell the village about the Kyuubi and the one who spread the rumors about the Uchiha being involved with the attack, it's not known how accurate it is.)
  • No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! has had a couple omake collections that explore different what-if scenarios. One features a number of strips that show what would have happened had Tomoko's plans to become popular actually succeeded, with most of them showing that things still would have gone badly for her. Another set showed what would happen if she was able to join specific groups during her first year, whether they be the Masaki's, Koharu's, or Asuka's. These show Tomoko adopting a hair style and fashion sense in-line with the group, but also imply that her relationships with those girls might not be fully ideal for her personal growth.
  • The My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! manga spin-off My Next Life as a Villainess Side Story: On the Verge of Doom! is set in an Alternate Universe based in this question: what if Catarina didn't recover the memories of her previous life until the time of Fortune Lover, while she was bullying Maria? Of course, since she was already established as an Alpha Bitch, she is desperate to overturn her Doom Flags, so she must try to befriend Maria, try to break his engagement with Geord, and mend her rocky relationship with Keith, all while she ends befriending the other capture targets and rivals, though the circumstances are not quite the same as the main series.
  • The entire concept of Mazinger Angels is an alternate universe manga spin-off that answers the question "What if the male heroes of the Mazinger Z franchise didn't exist?". The result is that Sayaka, Jun, Hikaru and Maria are no longer overshadowed and truly get to shine as heroes by winning with their giant mechs.
  • Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon: Takashi Shiina, author of the Yashahime manga, describes the Yashahime anime as an "If world" created by Sunrise since Inuyasha is already a completed work. Rumiko Takahashi, the author of Inuyasha, has likewise said on more than one occasion that her work is complete and has referred to Yashahime, created by Katsuyuki Sumizawa, as a "scenario".

    Audio Plays 
  • The Doctor Who: Unbound audio dramas sometimes take the Elseworld approach and sometimes the Alternate Universe approach. Or, seemingly both, or neither. All except one dealt with non-Canon Doctors. They ranged from "what if the Doctor and Susan had never left Gallifrey?" (Auld Mortality) to "what if the Doctor had not been UNIT's scientific advisor?" (Sympathy for the Devil) to "what if the Doctor had escaped the justice of the Time Lords at the end of The War Games?" (Exile, with a cameo by the Nicholas Briggs Doctor), "what if the Valeyard had won at the end of The Trial of a Time Lord?" ("...He Jests at Scars"), to "what if the Doctor believed that the ends justified the means? (Full Fathom Five) to Deadline, set in a reality where The BBC decided to make a 1960s television series called Doctor Who... but it failed and never got even as far as the Pilot Episode stage! (Apart from that it has Magical Realist elements, too.)
  • The Film Reroll Podcast is built around the concept of What Ifs. Each episode they pick a different popular movie, which gets retold from scratch as a new audio story using dice and RPG rules to decide what happens. The finished stories usually go completely differently than the original movie.

    Card Games 
  • The official Magic: The Gathering website had a "What If? Week" February 27th to March 4th, 2007; among the possibilities explored were "What If Magic was a science-fiction game?", "What If the website existed in the early days of Magic?", and "What If multiplayer free-for-all was an official tournament format?".
    • Which is to say nothing of the expansion set that "What If Week" was promoting. Called Planar Chaos, it was about alternate dimensions/realities, both in terms of alternate story history creating cards like the white "Crovax, Ascendant Hero", the black "Mirri, the Cursed", and the red "Akroma, Angel of Fury", as well as off-color versions of well-known cards, shifted into colors that share or better fit the existing stats and abilities, creating the likes of Serra Sphinx (a blue Serra Angel), Bog Serpent (a black Sea Serpent), and Fa'adiyah Seer (a green Sinbad).
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse has the Disparation stories, a series of in universe comic books (well, sort of. They're in the universe in which the universe within the card games is published as comics. It's very confusing and very meta) that follow various What-if stories. For example, what if the Dark Watch consisted of Setback, Kismet, Plague Rat, and Tempest but with different names?

    Comic Books 
  • The Marvel Universe series called What If? told stories where the events shown in the comics happened differently.
    • Various cases included "What if Gwen Stacy survived", "What if The Punisher received the Venom symbiote" and "What if every member of the Fantastic Four received the same power" to "What if Wolverine ended up in the Conan the Barbarian universe", "What if Aunt May was bitten by the radioactive spider", "What if Galactus was Ben and May's nephew" and, of course, "What if Magneto, Iron Man, Colossus and Dr Doom got stuck in the same elevator"?
    • This series is notable in that, aware it's a one-time thing and therefore freed from the limitations of Contractual Immortality, the body count for otherwise nigh indestructible heroes and villains shoots through the roof and even the likes of Spider-Man, The Kingpin and Doctor "Actually a Doombot" Doom aren't safe.
    • What if The Watcher were a stand-up comedian? That. Is. All. (This and the following two were from issue #34, which was an all-humor take on the series.)
    • From the same issue:
    Luke Cage with the power of Thor: By the gleamin' gates of funky Asgard, you suckers are gonna EAT HAMMER!
    • Just look at the article for that issue (the cover of which illustrates this page) on the Marvel Database.
    • Later What If?s from Marvel have pretty much ditched the absurdist (or at least gag-inducing) settings for more plausible alternatives, for example "What if Captain America had won the Civil War (2006)?" or "What if the Siege of Asgard had been successful?"
    • Quite a lot of them ended unhappily, leaving readers with the Panglossian aesop that the mainstream Marvel timeline is the best of all possible Marvel Universes, as more often than not changes that at first glance seemed positive or indifferent could result in the End of the World. This became quite anvilicious in a What If? published concurrently with the wedding of Jean Grey and Scott Summers; it contained two stories where Jean hooked up with people other than Scott, and one where Scott and Jean got married much sooner. All these couplings had a negative impact, and one of them ended with the Phoenix destroying the universe.
    • An actually quite nice one was "What if Dr. Strange had been a disciple of Dormammu?" It goes into great detail about Dr. Strange's self-centeredness ("No more patients today, I'm reviewing my stock portfolio!") leading to a career in evil, but shows that ultimately he would have chosen goodness and become just about like he is today.
    • And then there was a tragic one after Avengers Disassembled containing a What If? within a What If? — where Captain America and Wanda were insane but in love, and if the Avengers had not interfered they would have both regained their sanity and made a much better world. (As it actually happened, they killed themselves.)
    • One primary criticism regarding the series is that it often relies on Non Sequitur Causality to drive home the point that any change to the official continuity would be bad; the initial "what if?" change may be good, but the bad thing that happens and kills everyone will often have no relation whatsoever to the initial change. Similarly, sometimes the initial "what if?" requires other, unrelated events to also be different.
      • One example of the former is "What if Wolverine remained with Alpha Flight?", where moments after the X-Men leave Wolverine behind the X-Jet is hit by an anti-air missile and they're all killed.
      • An example of the latter is "What if Punisher killed the Marvel Universe?", where not only do Frank Castle's family get killed in the crossfire of a superhero battle, but the roster of heroes involved include those who only became heroes long after the Punisher himself became active. Furthermore, the only reason Frank is able to kill everyone is because he has the backup of a mysterious organization that covertly supplies him with access and weaponry... and yet somehow isn't on the radar of organizations like SHIELD or HYDRA nor characters who specialize on keeping informed like Doctor Doom or Nick Fury. Furthermore, many of the heroes and villains are killed off fairly easily (like Juggernaut being killed by a nuke alongside the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, despite his powers allowing him to tank even that sort of damage).
    • Some What If? stories weren't as tragic as one thought, in fact were probably better than canon was. A few Spider-Man stories, such as "What if Spider-Man's clone had lived?" and "What if Spider-Man kept his multiple arms?" ended with life a lot better for the webhead — the former had Spidey and the clone swapping roles to relieve the pressure of Peter's dual life while the latter saw Peter become beloved by all as an inspiration for those disabled. Zig-Zagged by Spider-Man: Spider's Shadow which saw Peter becoming the leader of the Fantastic Four thanks to Venom, but at the cost of losing Aunt May and obviously Reed Richards.
  • The famous X-Men crossover "Age of Apocalypse" is an Alternate Universe saga that essentially begins with the question "What if Charles Xavier had died before he had a chance to form the X-Men?". The answer? Apocalypse seizes his chance to strike and conquer most of North America with Mister Sinister as his Dragon, knowing that Xavier and Magneto could easily have driven him back with their combined forces. Meanwhile, a benevolent Magneto founds the X-Men instead, Scott Summers and his brother Alex grow up as "Prefects" leading Mister Sinister's elite forces, Hank McCoy becomes a Mad Scientist working for Apocalypse, Wolverine loses his hand and ends up shacking up with Jean Grey, Moira MacTaggert and Bolivar Trask end up married and serving on a "Human High Council" alongside Betsy and Brian Braddock, and Mister Sinister successfully breeds an "Ultimate Mutant" from Scott and Jean's DNA—who grows up as Nate Grey, known as "X-Man".
  • Star Wars Infinities is a series of one-shot comic issues built around this concept. Two examples include Luke dying on Hoth and Leia having to take up his mantle as well as her own, and C-3PO getting blown to bits in Jabba's palace... which somehow results in Darth Vader getting returned to the Light Side of the Force without dying.
    • The 'what if?' for A New Hope is the craziest. The linchpin for the change is Luke failing to destroy the original Death Star, with the rest of the story switching between bizarre events such as Leia becoming an obvious visual reference to an SS officer after falling to the dark side and the Death Star being renamed the "Justice Star," to "alternate" scenes that are really just copies of actual canon scenes from the movies with characters switched around, one of which even has Luke learning Vader is his father and saying the exact same line in response. The story ends with what one review describes as "Cosmic 9/11;" seriously, you have to see it to believe it.
    • And the Return of the Jedi Infinities book, where Leia goes to the Death Star too, Han ends up permanently blind, the Emperor escapes despite Vader's redemption, and the scene everyone remembersredeemed Vader in white armor. Which proved popular enough to get official toys, too!
  • DC Comics was doing these type of stories years before Marvel, but they called them "Imaginary Stories." In later years, the name "Imaginary Story" came to viewed as corny (as Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? pointed out, "Aren't they all?") so DC took to calling them "Elseworlds" stories, instead. The Elseworlds tales more frequently focused on plunking the characters into a different setting, rather than changing a historical incident, but some like Alan Davis's The Nail do take the classic, well, "for want of a nail" approach.
  • A couple of comics in W.I.T.C.H. had taken a few nods at What Could Have Been for the series:
    • Issue 50 had the idea of "What if Will never accepted the Heart of Kandrakar?" They'd gotten it later on. The damn thing's persistent.
    • There was a one-shot focusing on the once-budding relationship of Cornelia and Caleb, though some think it was a Take That! to the fans who were displeased with them Ship Sinking Cornelia/Caleb:
      • The first story had Cornelia giving up being a Guardian and staying in Meridian with Caleb. We find out that Orube takes Cornelia's spot, but she and Will trade powers. However, the team finally convinces Cornelia to come home.
      • The second story had Cornelia convincing Caleb to come back to Earth. Everything goes completely pear-shaped as Caleb, unaware of normal Earth customs, starts a set of Disaster Dominoes that ends up getting Irma shot by her own father and the girl's identities revealed.
  • Paperinik New Adventures:
    • The last issue of the first series, which is in fact titled "If..." Using Everett with a magic book as a Deus ex Machina, it explores the consequences of the events of #1, 2 and 3 had things gone differently.
      • ...the Evrons managed to kidnap Angus? Evron/Angus hybrids. Really.
      • ...PK still trusted One despite Two's meddling? PK goes in the Cyberspace, but Two attempts a Grand Theft Me on him.
      • ...the Cold Sun experiment was allowed to happen? Duckburg gets destroyed, PK becomes evil, Tear Jerker ensues.
    • The miniseries PK Universe answers the question: "What if Paperinik had to fight the Evronians without One's assistance?"
  • The ALF comic book (incidentally published by Marvel) had the "Wotif simulator," a device/camera in Alf's spaceship that would show movies where hypothetical situations were played out, such as "Wotif Willie Tanner crash landed on Melmac" and "Wotif Alf lived with the Ochmonecks."
  • Transformers: Shattered Glass asks "What if the Decepticons were the good guys, and the Autobots the villains?" Among other things, Optimus Prime is an insane Evil Overlord whose idea of morale-building deco is Dead Guy on Display (who he sometimes "consults" with), Megatron is a beloved hero, and Starscream is loyal!
  • 2000 AD:
    • They did a gag comic for Anderson: Psi-Division imagining what Cassandra Anderson would be doing if she had failed her Judge exams at the Academy of Law. She's married with a family and lives a dreary life in a City Block, unable to use her psychic powers for much of anything lest the Judges arrest her and fry her brain.
    • Judge Dredd has asked this question a few times.
      • There's a short story that explores what would have happened if Judge Dredd hadn't been cured of his lycanthropy after he hunted down a pack of werewolves in "Cry of the Werewolf". He manages to regain control over his now permanently wolf-ified form through sheer Heroic Willpower, but because he can't patrol the streets looking like that anymore he takes the Long Walk back into the Under City to bring the law down there.
      • "Judgment Days" features an alternate end to the "Judgment Day" arc. Instead of facing the necromancer Sabbat with a strike team, the Judges of the world decide to use the Sov Apocalypse Warp technology to simply send Sabbat to an Expendable Alternate Universe despite Johnny Alpha's objections. By not stopping Sabbat in this universe, the Necromagus infects every other universe in the 2000 AD canon, decimating all of them.
  • IDW Publishing's "Deviations" oneshots were a collection of these:
    • Star Trek (IDW): "What if First Contact had been with the Romulans, not the Vulcans?" Will Riker leads a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits to locate Jean-Luc Picard and, with his help, Kirk's Enterprise.
    • The X-Files Season 10: "What if Fox Mulder had been abducted instead of Samantha?" Sam becomes Scully's conspiracy-theorist partner, while Fox becomes an agent of the Conspiracy working directly for the Cigarette Smoking Man.
    • Orphan Black: "What if Sarah saved Beth's life?" (a 6-issue miniseries rather than a one-shot).
    • Transformers: "What if Optimus Prime Didn't Die?" Kup prevents Hot Rod from attempting to interfere with the big duel, giving Optimus the opening to finish Megatron off. Unicron still shows up, but powers Starscream up since Megatron's already dead. All the new Autobots save Hot Rod, Kup, and Blurr get killed off, and Hot Rod still manages to use the Matrix to destroy Unicron and Megascream, at the cost of his own life.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW): "What if Prince Blueblood was Celestia's pupil instead of Twilight Sparkle?" Nightmare Moon bonds with the "Remane 5" over their hatred for Prince Blueblood and reforms on her own thanks to The Power of Friendship, then banishes Blueblood to the moon. This last one in particular was contentious.
  • Before Watchmen: Dr Manhattan's arc is composed almost entirely of What Ifs as he explores the ramifications of his every action, starting with and culminating in causing the accident that caused him to become a Reality Warper in the first place.
  • There was a Star Trek mini-series entitled The Last Generation, which saw a mid-24th Century where the Klingons were on the verge of taking over what's left of the Federation due to the Khitomer Accords not being signed due to the assassination of the Federation President.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (Boom! Studios) introduced us to Lord Drakkon, who was essentially "What if Tommy Oliver rejected the Rangers' hand in friendship after he was freed from the Sword of Darkness?"
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: In-Universe, Peter explains that he got his powers from that giant spider in Oscorp. The spider that landed on MJ's chest, before they could dispose of it. MJ realizes that, if the spider had bitten her as well, she would be Spider-Man, too!
  • Transformers: Twilight's Last Gleaming asks "What if the Decepticons had won the Battle of Mission City?"
  • Marvel's Voices: Identity: Directly invoked. The monk guarding the coin Shang-Chi wants tells him to look inwards and asks "what if?". Shang-Chi wonders what would have happened if he had not defied his father.

    Comic Strips 
  • Madam & Eve had one strip which presented rejected ideas for the comic, such as "Adam & Steve" and "Madonna & Eve".
  • For January 2012, Sally Forth did a storyline where Ted uses the 2012 Mayan prophecy as a reason to look back on their lives, which lead to a two-week bit where they show what life would be like if Sally and Ted had never met.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The Alice Network: The character of Eve comes from the idea "What if the obviously-innocent woman the queen of spies was arrested with really was a spy?"
  • The Animorphs book Back to Before has a battle-weary Jake ask "What if we never walked through the abandoned construction site?" Some of the results are amusing, such as Marco and Rachel going out on a date, but others... Well, just because you don't become the Animorphs that doesn't mean the war doesn't happen.
    • Also: What if the kids give up? Earth becomes a Yeerk-infested hell, as you might expect, with the kids themselves becoming Controllers.
    • What if Jake became too ruthless and cocky? In #41, Jake, in the heat of battle, leaves Marco and Rachel to fend for themselves, in order to save the rest of the team. The continuation of this mindset is shown in the far future: Tom suspected Jake of being an "Andalite bandit", and turned him into a Controller. Ax, Marco, and Cassie are taken, Rachel is gravely wounded in the ensuing battle, and Tobias escapes. Marco becomes host to Visser Two, and Ax becomes a key player in the attack on his homeworld. Cassie's Yeerk, Niss, joins the Evolutionist Front, a terrorist group dedicated to the creation of artificial hosts, led by Tobias, who permanently morphs Ax. But even Cassie and Tobias aren't good guys: Cassie becomes ruthless, cynical and practically evil ("In a war, Jake, anything is justified."), and Tobias is completely willing to let Cassie die to score a victory ("Save one, or save many? The choice wasn't so hard at the Ragskin building, when you left Marco and Rachel to save themselves.")
  • Anno Dracula is based on the premise "What if Dracula didn't get distracted from his original plans in moving to England in favour of stalking Lucy and Mina?" And also "What if vampires were frickin' everywhere?"
  • The Beginning After the End: To unlock the fourth keystone, Arthur is forced to endure a "Groundhog Day" Loop by reliving his reincarnation with his Past-Life Memories, both from Earth and from when he entered the keystone, being clouded with every time he fails seeing him sent back to the beginning. In the first loop, he manages to prevent himself from being separated from his family during the fateful bandit ambush while on the way to Xyrus. Among the changes is that Arthur only becomes a dual attribute mage, never meets Sylvia nor rescues Tessia (though the latter still ended up becoming Student Council President of Xyrus Academy), does not develop connections with either the Eraliths or Glayders, manages to get Eleanor to awaken early at the cost of Lilia never awakening, and ultimately becomes much more of a Jerkass than he was OTL before meeting his end in the Class Trip to Widow's Crypt.
  • Karzahni in the BIONICLE Legends books has "What If" as his mask power; his mask, called the Kanohi Olisi, can give people visions of possible past or future outcomes. He tends to use this as a psychological attack, showing "What if you didn't survive that situation?" or "What if you couldn't save that guy at that crucial moment?" in order to keep his subjects hopeless and subservient. It's rarely pretty... and when it is pretty, it becomes a Lotus-Eater Machine. When Jaller's team try to escape from him, they dare him to show what would happen if the Great Spirit died. When he does so, he finds out that the answer is "the end of the universe," and that his realm is not nearly as important as he likes to think. Realizing that he was completely oblivious to the world around him causes him to go BSOD, giving his prisoners time to flee.
  • Eric Flint works:
  • Harry Turtledove works:
  • Martin Cruz Smith's The Indians Won postulates that after gathering together to fight and win the Greasy Grass (Little Big Horn) battle, the Great Plains nations decide not to split up and go home. Instead, they stay together and draw the attention of European investors, who provide them with the supplies they need to withstand Manifest Destiny. This attracts other tribes to join them, at last forming the United Indian Nations. The U.S. is finally forced to capitulate and cede to them what would have become the Midwestern and Great Plains states from Canada to Mexico. So now you have EastUSA and WestUSA and a nice big Indian Nation at the center.
  • Discussed in the Iron Man 2 novelization, where Tony suspects that being brought up by an alcohol-and-rage-fuelled father in Siberia would have caused him to turn out like Ivan Vanko.
  • Older tropers and ones who frequent used bookstores may be aware of a Sci-Fi pulp magazine titled "if: Worlds of Science Fiction".
  • Naomi Novik's Temeraire saga can be best summed up as "The Napoleonic Wars WITH DRAGONS!".
  • The Tripods series of novels by John Christopher are a What If for H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds: What if the aliens won, and instituted Vichy Earth?
  • A Twisted Tale is a series focusing on What If questions for Disney movies, usually about things going wrong for the heroes (hence the name) such as Aladdin never finding the lamp, or Ariel never defeating Ursula.
  • A series of essays by eminent historians is entitled simply "What If". It includes topics like "What If the Americans lost the Revolution?" and "What if Pontius Pilate spared Jesus?"
  • Vladimir Vasilyev's novel Wolfish Nature and its sequel The Beach in Each of Us explores a world where humans have descended from dogs instead of apes. For simplicity, the author keeps many geographical names (e.g. continents, cities, countries) from Real Life, and many character names are also similar to Real Life names. Unlike us, the species canus sapiens sapiens have made incredible advances in bioengineering, culminating in the Bio-Correction during the 18th century, which removed the "Wolf Gene" (which allows one to kill another person) from the entire species. As such, wars are replaced with spy games on a grand scale. Murder is such a rarity that ordinary cops aren't trained to catch killers (all of whom are psychopaths anyway). Special agents can be trained to kill, but have to spend months in psychological recovery after the fact. Biotechnology is everywhere, although "dead" technology is slowly starting to replace it. The first novel kicks off with the discovery of an isolated enclave of unmodified people (i.e. they still have the Wolf Gene) in Siberia. The wolves immediately kill the person who exposes them and go after anyone in his address book, as he made a call shortly before being killed. However, the world governments quickly find out about their existence and send agents to Siberia. After all, any country can use the active Wolf Gene to breed an army of merciless soldiers. Instead of the concept of race, the dog-humans' "morphemes" (i.e. breeds) are often mentioned in descriptions.
  • A whole genre of books deals with WW2 and what might have happened if key moments had gone differently, vital players in our universe had been indisposed or absent, or if vital decisions had gone the other way. Germany did not have to declare war on the USA in December 1941; if they hadn't, the likeliest outcome is that the US would have stayed neutral in the European war and focused everything on defeating Japan. Britain alone could not have broken the stalemate in the West - the English Channel precluded movement in either direction and British strength alone could not have retaken France. The Soviet Union might still have won in the end but this meant a Communist Europe...
    • And if the Valkyrie plot had taken place a year earlier, just after Kursk, and a more rational German government taken over while the outcome of the war was still in doubt - who knows?

    Live-Action TV 


  • Trance of Andromeda has this as her superpower, basically seeing future possibilities and trying to steer the present toward the "best" one. She also prunes a bonsai quite often.
    • An episode explores what would happen if Rhade killed Dylan at the start of the Nietzschean rebellion instead of the other way around. While Rhade would still try to re-create the Commonwealth, his efforts would be futile, costing him many allies. At the end, he realizes that Dylan is a better candidate for this, goes back in time, kills his past self, and throws the fight with Dylan, leading to the series' timeline.
  • An episode of Any Day Now had M.E. wondering this if they'd taken the paths they both intended to as stated in the series premiere—M.E. left town to become a glamorous and successful magazine editor while Renee stayed in town and married and had children—but still became a lawyer, as the Alternate Universe finds her working with her father in his law office. Unusually for this trope, both women are just as happy as they are in the real world, though M.E. is regretful about not having married her childhood sweetheart Colliar.
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Members of the Midnight Society frequently included a "What if" question when introducing their story, i.e. "What if you found out the future held something incredibly evil, and there was nothing you could do to change it?"
  • Austin & Ally has the episode "What Ifs & Where's Austin" where Ally Trish and Dez imagine how their lives would have like if they never met Austin.
  • Bewitched once explored the possible consequences if Samantha had admitted her powers to Darrin before he asked her to marry him.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, before Christmas, Sheldon heads home to Texas, and his friends throw a Christmas party as he would object. They start wondering what would have been if none of them had met Sheldon.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Wish": what if Buffy Summers had never come to Sunnydale? The answer: a lot of really bad stuff.
  • The Castle episode "The Times of Our Lives" pays tribute to It's a Wonderful Life showing what things would be like if Castle and Beckett never met one another: Castle would've had the chance to write "Nikki Heat" and ended up a failed One-Book Author; Martha would've gotten a regular job and return to Broadway after Castle doesn't make enough money to support her lifestyle; Alexis would've moved to L.A. with Meredith and dyed her hair black; Esposito would've gotten Lanie pregnant; Ryan would be a workaholic and wouldn't have marry Jenny; and Beckett, who has been promoted to captain, would've been a perpetually serious person unable to solve her Mom's murder.
  • In the finale of old Dallas, J.R. Ewing feels Driven to Suicide. He is visited by Adam who takes him to see what would have been with the people he knows, mostly his family, had he never existed.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Turn Left" presents a world where Donna never met the Doctor, and humanity is more or less screwed.
    • Spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures has a storyline asking "What if Sarah, rather than her best friend, had died in an accident as a teenage girl?"
  • In Farscape John gets to view a bunch of "What if?" realities in the episode "Unrealized Reality", then has to figure out how to navigate his way back to the right one to avoid any of the "ifs" becoming permanent. (He also encounters a "Bizarro Moya" during this misadventure where all the characters' actors are scrambled, e.g. Anthony Simcoe [D'Argo] playing Jool instead, which turns out to be important later.) When the gang goes to Earth in the past in "Kansas", John tells his friends that they have to save his father so he will be inspired to become an astronaut and go on to meet all of them.
  • During a production meeting for Felicity, J. J. Abrams off-handedly asked "What if Felicity was a secret agent?" to try and develop a plot with relatively higher stakes. It was a joke, but he'd eventually answer the question with Alias.
  • Firing Line: During Buckley's 1980 interview with Ronald Reagan, who was leading in the Republican Primaries but had not yet been elected to the Oval Office, he framed most of his questions as asking what "President Reagan" would do in the event of X, Y, or Z (What if OPEC raised prizes? What if race riots broke out in California? What if the USSR invaded Yugoslavia? etc.)
  • Friends:
    • One episode ends on a What If note. Joey, Chandler, and Monica imagine what would Joey and Monica's lives be like if Monica married Joey instead of Chandler. It shows a very obese Joey in Monica's apartment sitting down to a really huge dinner prepared by Monica, who was more than happy to make all the food for him. The episode ends with the fat Joey saying his famous "How you doing?" catchphrase to a piece of fried chicken before he eats it.
    • The two-part episode fittingly titled "The One That Could Have Been" showed an alternative history for the group. We learn what could have been if Rachel hadn't walked out on her marriage and had got married to Barry; Ross hadn't discovered his wife was a lesbian and hadn't divorced her; Monica never had lost her weight; Joey hadn't got fired from Days of Our Lives; Chandler pursued a career as a comic-book writer and Phoebe had worked as a stock broker.
  • There were two storylines on General Hospital involving this trope: the crossover story line with characters from One Life to Live and more recently another with Sonny wondering what his life would've been like had he not turned to a life of violence.
  • Grey's Anatomy: The Season 8 episode "If/Then" - As Meredith puts Zola to bed and falls asleep, she begins to wonder — what if her mother had never had Alzheimer's and she'd had loving, supportive parents? The reverberations of a happy Meredith Grey change the world of Seattle Grace as we know it. What if she had never met Derek in that bar and he had never separated from Addison? What if Callie and Owen had become a couple long before she met Arizona? And what if Bailey never evolved from the meek intern she once was?
  • Likewise, Hawaii Five-O's 100th episode imagined a different world for the characters: Steve's dad survives and Steve goes to see him in Hawaii to meet a Danny who's embraced the Hawaiian life style and a rule-breaking cop. Chin is the police captain, Kono a champion surfer, Grover still with the Chicago P.D. and Jerry a homeless bum.
  • The BBC-made series If... was a serious docudrama take on What If, "documenting" what might happen in Britain should some issue of the time become reality e.g. oil running out, blackouts or legalising drugs.
  • Both JAG and its spin-off NCIS did episodes that revolved around the main characters making different decisions (or events that occurred one way in the "prime" timeline happening the other way). The JAG episode was even titled "What If?"
  • Kamen Rider:
  • Las Vegas: The Episode "Everything Old is New", takes place in The '60s, with a disillusioned Danny wondering what old school, mafia-ran Vegas must have been like.
  • NewsRadio had two of these episodes, both with an opening introduction by Phil Hartman:
    • What if the show took place on a space station and reported the "space news"? ("Space")
    • What if the show took place on the luxury liner called Titanic? ("Sinking Ship")
  • At around the halfway point of Night and Day, an alternate reality episode imagined how the lives of Thornton Street's residents might be different had Jane Harper kept her baby. In which Django Doyle murders dad Charlie, Jane's mum Natalie plots to sell Jane's baby to Rachel Culgrin, Steph McKenzie randomly turns demonic, and Jane jilts Sam Armstrong at the altar - then disappears, of course. The whole scenario is Natalie's daydream; and on its conclusion she decides that there's no point wishing for what might have been, as it all seems pretty horrific.
  • Party of Five's 100th episode entitled "What If" had Bailey in a coma where he imagined an alternate reality where his parents had never been killed in the car crash.
    • Among the alternate stuff: Julia's kind of a bookworm while Claudia is kind of a slut.
  • Six Feet Under: The episode "Perfect Circles" begins with the embolism in Nate's brain rupturing and shows us the three possible outcomes. Either he dies, lives with severe impairment, or makes a full recovery. The series then continues the storyline with the least likely of these (the full recovery).
  • Sliders used this trope as its main premise: "What if antibiotics had never been invented?" "What if America had lost the Cold War?" "What if traditional gender roles were swapped?" and so on.
  • Smallville:
    • Christmas Episode "Lexmas": What If Lex Luthor decides to drop out of the senator race and let Jonathan Kent become senator? He would be Happily Married to Lana, not rich but very happy with one boy and expecting one girl, Clark would be married to Chloe instead(maybe), Lex receives the Kansas Humanitarian Award for work for the homeless, Jonathan says he is the finest man he ever met and would be proud to have him as a son. Lex is simply on perfect terms with every single person except Lionel, but who cares? Only for imaginary-Lana to die for that.... And Clark does not appear to have become Superman.
    • Another episode shows what would have happened if Kal El's ship never made it to Earth. The Kents had a biological son (also named Clark), Lana is happily married, Lois and Jimmy work for the Daily Planet, Kara is a Treasury Agent, and Lex is president. Also, Lex is in league with Brainiac and ends up deliberately triggering a nuclear apocalypse.
    • Bad Future episode "Pandora": What If Zod manages to complete his Solar Towers?
  • Various alternate realities presented in Stargate SG-1 tend to have major changes resulting from Sam Carter not being in the military, among other things.
  • The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Mirror, Mirror" formed the basis of episodes from all of the subsequent series except Next Generation and Voyager... but they got theirs in a novel (A Mirror Darkly). The "What if?" question being answered by that episode was, of course, "What if Spock had a goatee?"
  • The episode "A Quality of Mercy" of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds features a future version of Captain Pike visiting his present self, after Pike manages to prevent the accident that will cripple him in the future. He is then transported to the future he has created, in which he is placed in command of the Enterprise during the events of the Original Series episode, "Balance of Terror". While there are many parallels to the episode, and similarities in how events play out, ultimately Pike's vast differences in his captainship compared to that of Kirk's in the same episode result in a drastically different outcome where the Federation starts a brutal war with the Romulan Empire, and Spock suffering a similar ceiling injury that Pike will suffer. Unwilling to pass his fate onto his friend, and be responsible for such a brutal war, Pike decides to live with his fate.
  • Supernatural
  • The series Switched at Birth actually did two:
    • In one, Regina comes clean when she learns of the switch in 1998 but loses custody of both girls who are raised together. Daphne gets an implant to hear but becomes a conniving bitch with Bay in her shadow, Toby still gambling and John and Katherine on the outs.
    • A Christmas episode has the girls off-hand wishing the switch had never happened. The next morning, Daphne wakes up as Bay, able to hear, a star soccer player and Toby an Emo musician. Bay wakes up as Daphne, deaf with a younger brother, Regina never having quit drinking and Emmett just a friend. It's all set right with the fun touch of each girl assuming they alone had this "weird dream".
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: The fates once showed Xena how things would be if she never killed anyone. They did by placing her in such a timeline on the proviso that, if she ever kills anyone in that new reality, she'll return to the original. In the new reality, she was still living in her home village, her younger brother was still alive, her engagement was still on. The first downside was her mother no longer being alive. Then she learns of the consequences of her not doing the good things she did as The Atoner in the original timeline. The last drop was Gabrielle becoming a ruthless killer to escape a life of slavery. That was the Berserk Button that made Xena decide to return to the original timeline.
  • Young Sheldon: "A Black Hole" shows an alternate reality where everyone in the Cooper family is their opposite, and Sheldon is the only normal person in the family.

TV Movies:

  • Fatherland, a 1994 TV movie on HBO (based on the novel by Robert Harris), set in a 1960s Germany in a timeline in which Nazi Germany more or less won World War II and got into a Cold War with the US while fighting a guerrilla war with a remnant of the Soviet Union.

  • !HERO: The Rock Opera for The Bible: What if Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania? And moreover, what if Jesus wasn't born until the modern times?

    Tabletop Games 
  • An ongoing project related to Warhammer 40,000 is the The Dornian Heresy. The trope is somewhat subverted, since rather than one point of divergence, there's actually several, but the spirit of the trope is still there. The premise: What if Warmaster Horus had not fallen to the powers of Chaos? Though rather miffed, the gods turn to Plan B: turn Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists instead. What then happens is a very odd mixture of Bizarro Universe and Mirror Universe (while some things stay the same, adding to the oddities). Here's just a few of the changes:
    • The World Eaters under Angron become the paragons of martial honor and virtue, and are by far some of the most well regarded of the Emperor's Space Marine Legions (yes, legions).
    • The Emperor's Children are still stuck up snobs, but they're perfectionists whose hearts are on the Imperials' side.
    • The Space Wolves have dedicated themselves to Khorne, and are now both figuratively and literally Ax-Crazy.
    • The White Scars are so obsessed with speed and thrills while worshipping Slaanesh. The Speed Freakz of the Orkz would be envious.
    • The Word Bearers are the priesthood of the Imperium and use their knowledge of the Warp to exorcise daemons instead of summoning them.
    • The Thousand Sons have renounced sorcery and become one of the most loyal Legions of the Imperium, and Magnus is the advocate and spokesperson for psykers everywhere.
    • Abbadon STILL hates Horus for being weak and a fool, and reorganizes the Sons of Horus into the Black Templars.

  • & Juliet: The entire plot follows Anne Hathaway's revisioning of William Shakespeares's ending to Romeo and Juliet, questioning her husband "What if Juliet didn't kill herself after finding Romeo dead?'"

    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal has the main character being questioned about what would have happened if the Big Bad from the first game took his place living in Candlekeep with Gorion while he/she were to be raised by the Iron Throne. Subsequently one of the challenges in the pocket plane involves fighting an alternate reality evil party where the what if happened and Charname is a bloodthirsty ambitious figher just like Sarevok, leading his lieutenants like Semaj or Tazok.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Shin Megami Tensei if... was purely about "What If... a school were thrown into the demon world?"
      • It also presents another question: "What If... people were already aware of demons before the start of Shin Megami Tensei?" The answer isn't provided until the Devil Summoner prequel games: "Thor would have been killed before he launched the nuclear missiles, instead of after, averting the main-series apocalypse and leading to a very different world." The Persona series may or may not take place in the continuity spawned by If and Devil Summoner, although it's heavily implied to be so with the presence of both Tamaki (the female protagonist of If) and Kuzunoha devil summoners in the early Persona games.
      • It's worth noting that the What If in Shin Megami Tensei If... had the interesting effect of leading to the creation of an Alternate Continuity that has been far more financially successful than the "main" SMT franchise, with eleven games (and that's not including the multitude of Updated Rereleases!) currently released in the If/Devil Summoner/Persona line compared to six in the "main" line, making it one of the rare What Ifs to actually overshadow its parent franchise.
    • The Devil Summoner prequel games also provide an Alternate History What If, hinging on the Taisho period lasting longer than it did in our world. Basically, Raidou's antics in the time stream stopped the main Shin Megami Tensei series from ever happening (In fact, most of the MegaTen games brought to America weren't actually released under the Shin Megami Tensei name in Japanese, but the localizers wanted to use the main series's title, thus we have Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 and whatnot).
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert is based on a What If scenario after Einstein uses a Time Machine to erase Hitler from history. Turns out this leads to the Soviets starting the second World War instead. It is also implied to lead up to the first game, which starts out with another What If, a meteorite spreading a strange new material named Tiberium.
  • World in Conflict. In this what if, Russia invades USA during the cold war.
  • The obscure First-Person Shooter called Iron Storm is set in a 1964 where World War I never ended and is entering its 50th year. In a subsequent re-release, it was retitled "World War Zero".
  • First-Person Shooter game Turning Point: Fall of Liberty features a world where Winston Churchill died in 1931, and the lack of his leadership was the cause of Germans winning WWII... And invading the USA in 1953, when the game starts.
  • Freedom Fighters (2003) by IO Interactive (better known for the Hitman series) put the players in the shoes of a plumber becoming a resistance leader, in an alternate reality where USA are invaded by an USSR that not only never collapsed, but was the real winner of WWII by dropping the first atomic bomb on Berlin.
  • War Front: Turning Point has Hitler assassinated in the early days of WWII and, under his successor, Britain occupied by the Nazi. After the Allies defeat them, the Russian take the chance to invade Western Europe, leading to the merging of the Allies' troops with reinforcements from the recently dismantled Nazi army. All this, with some science-fiction weaponry thrown in.
  • Dragon Ball Z video games absolutely love using What If storylines in order to expand on the well-established storyline.
    • The Dragon Ball Z: Budokai games have always a set of What If stories in Story mode which are usually unlocked when you win a battle that the original storyline has you losing. Some of the more memorable ones include: Vegeta defeating the Z-Fighters and achieving Super Saiyan on Earth, Raditz undergoing an Amnesiac Dissonance Heel–Face Turn just like Goku did as a child, and Cell accidentally absorbing Krillin instead of 18, turning him into a weakened, miniature form dubbed "Cellin".
      • Shin Budokai: Another Road is all about this, as the game's main storyline starts with the question "What If the Buu Saga happened in Future Trunks' timeline?" and goes from there.
    • The story mode of Dragon Ball: Supersonic Warriors gives each playable character an "IF" story, in addition to having a story mode for the canonical events. For example, for Piccolo, Planet Namek is not destroyed and Goku and Piccolo defeat Cell using the same method they used to beat Raditz, and Piccolo revives and merges with Demon King Piccolo to defeat Buu. Krillin's storyline in Supersonic Warriors 2 has him becoming Earth's champion after Goku is Killed Off for Real, and ends up learning the Kaioken and Spirit Bomb, which likewise results in his being the one to take down Cell and Buu. Even Goku himself has a What If despite being the star of the original show.
    • Dragon Ball Xenoverse has What If scenarios that come about as a result of time-travelling villains Making Wrong What Once Went Right, usually by giving other villains power-ups at the worst possible time. For instance: What if Raditz evaded Piccolo's Special Beam Cannon (but Goku didn't)? What if Ginyu succeeded in taking Vegeta's body? What if Gohan wasn't able to reach Super Saiyan 2 when fighting Cell?
    • Several games also explore the concept of transformations and fusions not witnessed or possible within the events of the DBZ or Dragon Ball GT anime. Budokai famously featured Yamhan/Tiencha (the result of Yamcha and Tien Shinhan performing the Fusion Dance), Gotan/Gokule (the Potara fusion of Goku and Mr. Satan/Hercule that almost happened in the Buu Saga) and Super Buu after absorbing Vegeta, Frieza, Cell, or (to his great distress) Yamcha and Tien. The arcade card game Dragon Ball Heroes showed us what Gotenks would look like as an adultnote , gave higher levels of Super Saiyan to more characters, and showed some truly terrifying villain scenarios like Majin versions of all the movie villains and, perhaps most frightening of all, Super Saiyan 4 Broly.
  • Dynasty Warriors games tend to have these in nearly every installment at some point or another. Most notable is Dynasty Warriors 8 where each force's story mode has a Hypothetical Ending where they unite China successfully. (Even Jin, who already unites China in the Historical Ending, simply unites the land even better.)
  • Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 allows the player to alter events in the history of Warring States era Japan, posing such hypothetical scenarios such as "What if Yoshimoto Imagawa defeated Nobunaga Oda at the Battle of Okehazama", or "What if Shingen Takeda lived to reach the capital?", or "What if Tokugawa Ieyasu fought Nobunaga at Honnouji?"
  • The World Ends with You: Question: What if Tin Pin Slammer was the biggest thing in Shibuya? Answer: TWEWY would be a great Bakuten Shoot Beyblade-parody and Neku a Takao with "Emo-urges". (As seen in Another Day)
  • The Lord of the Rings: Conquest has a campaign where you fight as the forces of evil, with the question: "What if Frodo failed to destroy the One Ring?" Answer: The world goes to hell.
  • Mega Man Battle Network could be seen as "What if Dr. Light worked in networking technology instead of robotics?" There was even a part where there is a debate whether to fund Light's (Hikari's in this case) project instead of Dr. Wily's robots.
  • On a related note, there's Mega Man Powered Up, which has roughly twelve different story modes. Eight of these fit this trope by making Dr. Wily leave one of the Robot Masters behind.
  • The Force Unleashed: The Downloadable Content of the game explores various "What if?" scenarios of the Star Wars universe; one of them is, for instance, "What if Vader died and was replaced by Galen?" (using the non-canon Dark Side ending as a starting point).
  • The arcade game Star Wars: Battle Pod features a "What If?" scenario in the level "Vader's Revenge": "What if, after the destruction of the first Death Star, Vader hunted down the Rebels trying to escape, as well as killing Han Solo?"
  • The last level of the Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith game lets you kill Obi-Wan as Anakin on Mustafar rather than being horribly burned by lava. After Palpatine gives his apprentice a new red lightsaber, Anakin stabs him with it and declares that the galaxy belongs to himself.
  • The Hall of Memories in AdventureQuest is made specifically for this; it allows people to revisit past events and explore what possibilities might occur without impacting the real world.
  • The Dragon Age: Origins DLC story "The Darkspawn Chronicles" asks "What would happen if the player's Grey Warden died during the Joining ceremony, and the Wardens were led by Alistair?" Answer: Ferelden is wiped out by the Darkspawn.
  • Several Gundam video games give the player the opportunity to explore alternate versions of the Universal Century. Gundam Vs. Zeta Gundam's extensive UC Mode offers a few distinct ideas (like "What if Kamille/Amuro/Char joined the Titans?" or "What if Zeon won the One Year War?"), but the most famous is the strategy game Gihren's Greed, which lets the player take any faction from the original series up through Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack (and a few original ones like an all-women faction or a scientist faction lead by Amuro's dad) and lead them to victory or defeat. The most recent version even included updated, Zeta Gundam-era versions of several characters who died in the original series like Garma Zabi and Sleggar Law.
    • Gundam SEED Destiny had Generation of C.E., which released 3/4 of the way through the anime's run. At the time of the game's release, the producers claimed that one of the game's four endings was the original ending of the anime before Executive Meddling changed things. While Word of God remained vague, most fans believe the ending in question is "The Awakened Sword", in which ZAFT wins and Shinn Asuka kills Kira Yamato and company during the final battle.
  • Dead Rising 2: Off the Record explores what would happen if Frank West was the hero of the game instead of Chuck Greene. Frank became very popular, having ran his popularity in the ground before showing up in Terror Is Reality, wrestling zombies, before the game takes off. Also, Chuck Greene is a psychopath (a non-psychopathic version is Frank's co-op partner), and Stacy is this game's main villain.
  • Brink! has a handful of What-If missions, which follow on from the 'prison break' level if the canonical outcome didn't happen. In the Resistance levels, their attempt to free Nechayev ended in failure, so they resorted to more extreme methods, launching missiles at Founder's Tower and attempting to sabotage Ark's nuclear reactors. In the Security levels, because Nechayev was freed, Security are forced to deal with the Resistance's continued attempts to escape Ark on a hijacked plane.
  • Super Robot Wars DD has events called "Crossing Pilots", which asks the question "What if pilots from one series piloted mecha from another series?" For instance:
  • Silent Storm starts as a straightforward World War II game, until the "What If" portion comes into play. What if a powerful secret organization bent on world domination was playing both sides against each other and supplying them with equivalent advanced weaponry in order to cause sufficient damage for the organization to take over after the war? While this would be interesting in itself, the game then had to bring in Energy Weapons and Powered Armor. Hammer & Sickle takes place in the same 'verse but during the Cold War era with both THO and the Sentinels playing their shadow games. If the player (a Soviet spy) fails, World War III is unavoidable.
  • The Survival Pack DLC for Left 4 Dead within The Last Stand map explores the idea of what would happen to the survivors if they took a wrong turn and tried to hold out in being rescued. As the tagline says for the poster that shows the whole point of survival mode, It Doesn't End Well. Explored further in Left 4 Dead 2 which shows how exactly the survivors reached the lighthouse and also shows how they would have escaped instead of making a last stand.
  • According to the official The Legend of Zelda timeline depicted in the series manual Hyrule Historia the split timeline currently hinges on a What If scenario. In one scenario, Link is sent back in time by Zelda at the end of Ocarina of Time, preventing Ganondorf from gaining power in the first place. Link leaves Hyrule, and becomes embroiled in the events of Majora's Mask, and Ganondorf is executed, leading to the events of Twilight Princess. In another scenario, Link retains the Master Sword and seals away Ganondorf at the height of his power. He eventually breaks free, and Hyrule is flooded by the gods, leading to the events of Wind Waker. In the third and final scenario, Link dies while trying to defeat Ganondorf, leading to the events of A Link to the Past.
    • From the opposite perspective, Ocarina of Time could itself be seen as a What If to the original games: "What if the imprisoning war in the backstory of A Link to the Past could be averted?"
  • The DLC for Assassin's Creed III titled "The Tyranny of King Washington" is based around the idea that George Washington found a piece of Lost Technology and used its power to declare himself an absolute monarch instead of a democratically-elected president.
  • In Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage, this is what the Dream Mode is all about. Every character gets a specific divergence from canon, and you get to play through this imaginary situation.
  • Spider-Man (2000) has an entire mode based around this. This changes various elements of the game, such as changing water into lava in the sewer levels and replacing lids of pipes with lids that feature giant bananas. The sequel, Spider-Man 2 – Enter: Electro has a similar mode, though it's scaled back a bit.
  • The DS version of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness includes a hidden "Etna Mode", which gives you an alternate storyline that shows what would've happened if Etna had actually succeeded in killing Laharl at the start of the game, making Etna the protagonist. It manages to be even weirder than the main game.
  • The video game based on Sword Art Online called Sword Art Online Infinity Moment starts off with a glitch that interrupts Kirito and Heathcliff's Duel to the Death in floor 75 and must go on to floor 76 and beyond. Dragging them along are ALO players, including Leafa/Suguha, Kirito's younger sister.
  • Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. While it does play like a generic (and pretty flawed) third person shooter, it is a big "what if" game taking place during Resident Evil 2 and 3. What if Umbrella had a special forces unit sent in to erase the evidence and eventually have to assassinate Leon S. Kennedy and choose to either follow through with it or oppose their order? What if there was a military special forces unit sent in to investigate the situation and eventually assist Jill Valentine? What if both Umbrella and the U.S. Army entered into skirmishes in an attempt for one to erase the evidence and the other to preserve it?
  • Resident Evil 2 (Remake) has a slew of "What If?" scenarios with the free "Ghost Survivors" DLC missions:
    • "No Time To Mourn": What if Robert Kendo, the gun store owner, had a radio with him at the moment he decided to take his own life following his daughter's death, and learned from the radio of a way to escape Raccoon City?
    • "Runaway": What if Katherine Warner, the mayor's daughter and victim of serial killing police chief Brian Irons, managed to get a hold of a knife and kill Irons before he could kill her?
    • "No Way Out": What if Sheriff Daniel Cortini just shot the zombie in the gas station instead of trying to restrain it?
  • Fire Emblem
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening has DLC that pits iconic Fire Emblem characters against each other, with the characters of Awakening getting in the fun. Each DLC pack that features this concept has three variations of it. One where the Awakening cast allies themselves with one faction. Another which pits them with another faction. And a third that has both factions working together against them. It has the effect of a "what if" scenario, but the game explains it by having the past characters actually be magical copies of the originals, summoned by cards.
    • Fire Emblem Fates makes the player choose which kingdom—Hoshido or Nohr—that he/she wishes to side with. The storyline changes depending on the chosen side, creating a series of "what if" scenarios. And when you choose one side over the other, you will often be repeatedly told by other characters what would have happened if you have done something differently to avoid a worst outcome (in other words, choose the other path). You are not reminded of this so much when you Take a Third Option, although some bad stuff happens there anyway. The games are even called Fire Emblem If in Japanese, driving the "What if" motif further.
    • Ditto with Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which has the player choose which house to become their professor, and by extention, ally with their respective kingdom after the five-year Time Skip. Though there are actually four (given that one branches from one of the others) routes, none of them is a Golden Path note , so expect high doses of Gray-and-Grey Morality and several characters dying.
    • Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes asks another question: What if Byleth had never become a professor at Garreg Mach, but instead another mysterious mercenary (Shez) who survived a previous fight with Byleth helped the lords stop the bandit assault before they met Byleth and Jeralt at Remire? The answer is a whole new Alternate Timeline with a vastly different political climate between the three nations of Fodlan.
  • The premise of Evil Dead: Regeneration is that Ash never got sucked into the past (therefore, no Army of Darkness, and by extension, the other Evil Dead games), gets put in a mental institute having been blamed for the murder of the other characters from Evil Dead 2, and fight against a mad scientist hell bent on releasing deadites in the world.
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow has the Julius Mode, with its plot being "What if Soma went batshit crazy and Julius and co. ended up having to kill him?"
  • Castlevania Fighter, a fan game with the current plot being what if Adrian (aka Alucard) got killed along with his mother, and Dracula killed Trevor Belmont. The only people able to stop them are others from their old dimensions.
  • Terminator 3 Redemption has a major deviation from the film that involved the Terminator getting stuck on a prototype time machine and gets sent back to the future where John and Kathryn are dead, the machines take over the world, and it's no one else but one reprogrammed machine who will stop at nothing to go back in time and complete its mission! Also, the thermal scan gets damaged at the start of the game and becomes incredibly useful via upgrades (such as increased damage).
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of the Superheroes: The Secret Character known as Shadow Lady is Chun-Li from an Alternate Universe who was forcibly turned into a brainwashed cyborg for Shadaloo. In retaliation for foiling their operations, Shadaloo kidnapped and robotzed Chun-Li for the sake of transforming her into M. Bison's top assassin. Unlike Shadow—a brainwashed Charlie Nash, who escaped shortly after being transformed—Shadaloo added a Restraining Bolt to Shadow Lady's programming so she would remain fully loyal to them. As Shadow Lady, her formerly cheerful personality was obliterated, transforming her into a emotionless minion. In her ending however, Shadow Lady overcomes Shadaloo's brainwashing, regain her original memories as Chun-Li, and join forces with Shadow in taking down Shadaloo.
  • While it was already an In Name Only spin-off anyways, the English version of Street Fighter 2010, in an attempt to integrate it more closely with the franchise, decides to go with the route of "What if Ken won the first Street Fighter tournament instead of Ryu?".
  • The "Burial at Sea" DLC for BioShock Infinite starts seemingly as "What if BioShock: Infinite took place in Rapture instead of Columbia?". That is, until the end of the DLC, when it's revealed that the "Booker" you were playing as was actually one universe's Comstock who accidentally killed another universe's Anna/Elizabeth, and had his memory wiped and moved to Rapture to repent. And that the Elizabeth may be the one from the main storyline, who has tasked her life with hunting down the rest of the remaining Comstocks (including you). And that this Rapture is the same one from BioShock 1, and that Elizabeth's actions set in motion the events of the first game. AND it's all entirely canon because of the multiverses that the main storyline set up. It's quite a mind screw from what was initially supposed to be an innocent "What If?" situation.
  • An interesting take on this was the early 90's video game X-Men II: The Fall of the Mutants, based off the storyline of the same name. The story is introduced by Uatu the Watcher, who asks what if another team of X-Men battled the Adversary. Players then get to create their own X-Men team using member of the team at the time (Wolverine, Psylocke, Dazzler, Havok, Colossus, Longshot and Rogue), the X-Factor team at the time (Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Archangel and Iceman) and three members of Excalibur (Shadowcat, Nightcrawler and Phoenix) and go about dealing with the Adversary in a different way.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours: What if Tony Montana spotted Skull and killed him first, then escaped and worked to rebuild his drug empire?
  • Luminous Avenger iX asks the question what if... Asimov had succeeded in killing both Joule and Gunvolt? He takes over Sumeragi and uses it to rule the world for the next 100 years. Humanity is nearly wiped out with a select few called the Minos surviving. Mytyl was captured at some point being reduced to nothing more than a brain hooked up to a machine and forced to use her septima against her will. And Copen converted himself into a cyborg in order to continue his fight against Adepts.
  • Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World- The Prophecy of the Throne depicts events similar to the source material's third Arc, but asks what would happen if someone claimed to be a sixth candidate for the throne, when prophecy states that there should only be five.
  • Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare gives us a scenario where a zombie apocalypse is unleashed in the days John Marston spends on the ranch with his family. While John manages to free New Austin from the affliction by placing the Artifact of Doom back from where it came from, someone else steals it after John is killed by Edgar Ross, causing John himself to become a zombie.
  • One of the Jason Voorhees skins for Friday the 13th: The Game sees a Jason created by Tom Savini based on the concept "What if Jason escaped from Hell after going there at the end of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday instead of being revived by Freddy Krueger?" This version of Jason is a Humanoid Abomination with spikes, burnt skin, and glowing eyes.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Romance Games of Voltage, Inc. take a couple of different approaches to the concept:
    • In Your Arms Tonight offers "Another Story" routes as Expansion Packs for each available character, showing how the protagonist's relationship with the selected character would play out if her decision whether or not to divorce her husband at the start of the main route were reversed.
    • The "Another Story" mechanic makes a return in Kiss of Revenge, this time branching off from the middle of each character's main route to show what would have happened if, for example, the protagonist chose to answer a phone call instead of ignoring it.
    • Love Letter from Thief X has several "What If..." side stories for its main characters. Unlike the Another Stories, these don't depict an alternate continuity, but flirt with the trope by having the spotlighted character go undercover to provide a taste of what it would be like if Hiro was an Idol Singer, Takuto worked at a Host Club, or Riki was a doctor.
  • A reoccurring bonus in the Danganronpa series is depicting what would've happened if some major factor had been altered.
    • Beating Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc unlocks a "School Mode" that ends with Usami being created a game early and saving the cast from Monokuma, and beating that adds an "Escape Switch" to the gift machine; once obtained, it unlocks a cutscene of the cast (except the Mastermind) successfully escaping before any of the deaths could take place.
    • Beating Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, in addition to an "Island Mode" that depicts what would've happened if Usami successfully fended off Monokuma at the beginning and everything went as originally planned, unlocks Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc IF, a short story elaborating on the "Escape Switch" scene from the first game and exploring what would have happened if Mukuro survived.
    • The "Ultimate Talent Development Plan" unlocked by beating Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (and expanded upon in Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp) depict what would have happened if The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History never occurred, and the cast of the three mainline games (and in Summer Camp, also the core cast of Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls) were able to attend Hope's Peak in peace (save for Monokuma and the Mastermind trying to enact back-up plans).
      • Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp also has some self-contained "What if?" scenarios, in that the Development Plans events for Junko, Usami, and Izuru show what would've happened if they entered the titular simulation instead of Mukuro, Monomi, and Hajime, respectively.

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue, Church tries to take advantage of this trope to change the future (What if Donut didn't kill Tex? What if Captain Flowers hadn't died?). Unfortunately... it didn't work out so well. In fact, trying to change the past ended up causing all the things he was hoping to avoid to happen anyway, including his own death.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device is, as it says, what if the God-Emperor of Mankind had a text-to-speech installed into the Golden Throne. Hilarity Ensues as he undertakes the arduous process of unfucking up the Imperium of Man.

  • Dracula: Ruler of the Night ask "What If Dracula did things differently when he originally came to London?" For one he allows his Brides to come with him and has them infiltrate the Westenra's household, learning of Helsing's involvement earlier. After he turns Lucy, he retrieves her before the others can kill her and later kidnaps Lucy's mother, granting him two new brides. Likewise thanks to his brides having overhead Helsing's conversation about his personal life. Dracula tracks down his wife, Milly, who was put into a mental institution after the death of their son and likewise turns her as well, giving him a total of six brides. Three from olden times and three from modern era Soon he sets about a trap for the hunters, allowing him to kidnap Mina. He and his initial brides still dies at the end, but Mina becomes a damphyr after everything, Lucy and her mother survive staking and flee into the night. And Quincy, thought truly dead once Dracula was killed, turns and rises after his body is shipped home to Texas to be buried, creating his own equivalent of Dracula's castle via a ranch and ensuring that vamprisim will continue in the modern world. However Milly reconciles with her husband and goes into a deep sleep, the remaining hunters vow to continue fighting and make sure future generations will have the knowledge to do so as well.
  • Sailor Moon CS asks "What if Sailor Moon was Shōnen instead of Shoujo?"
  • Scarlet Lady asks "What if Chloe became the ladybug-themed heroine?"
  • Unsounded: Ashley has put out several pictures depicting a happier timeline in which Lemuel agreed to come to Mikaila's birthday party and Duane wasn't assassinated and Mikaila run through that night. For Lem would have apparently gotten his niece a pair of swords as her present, to the disapproval of her parents.

    Web Original 
  • On the NFL's website, there is Dave Damashek's video series, "N-if-L", which shows what happens if the NFL's most memorable/controversial moments didn't happen, whether if it's during the playoffs (e.g., Joe Montana's "The Catch", The "Tuck Rule" Game) or the Super Bowl (Scott Norwood's "Wide Right" miss in SBXXV, David Tyree's helmet grab in SBXLII).
  • WrestleCrap's Rewriting The Book section is all about What Ifs, exploring historic events in Professional Wrestling and looking at what would have happened had things went differently, such as "What If The Montreal Screwjob Never Happened?"
  • There was a "What if the characters have just met each other?" arc in We Are Our Avatars.
  • What If Raditz Turned Good?: Part of MasakoX series of Dragon Ball Discussion videos and a fairly popular subject. As it says, it looks into what would happened if Raditz survived his initial fight against Goku and Piccolo and how his involvement in the series would go.
    • Masako X - Dragon Ball What-If: The series of videos that followed after the success of the Raditz one, only now focusing on other possibilities of the Dragon Ball series. Such as "What If Nappa Turned Good?", "What If Goku Married Bulma?" or "What If Gine went with Goku to Earth while he was still a baby?" to name a few.
  • The Sega Scourge - Sonic: What If? is based around examining various scenarios in the Sonic the Hedgehog series and what would happen if they happened differently. Some of the scenarios include "What if Sonic kept his Werehog form?" from Sonic Unleashed and "What if Sonic fell to Earth instead of Shadow?" from Sonic Adventure 2.
  • The basic premise of How It Should Have Ended, Played for Laughs since it can often boil down to "What if this movie's characters had thought this through?" (and actually not limited to alternate endings
  • The premise of Welcome Back, Potter is "what if Harry Potter ran away instead of facing Voldemort?"
  • TheRealJims's video celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Simpsons premiere episode "Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire", "Simpsons Roasting in Another Timeline", starts off from the perspective of him from an alternate universe, where The Simpsons's first season flopped and the series soon faded into obscurity, before the pilot was rediscovered years later as a curious piece of lost media that's gained a cult following.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time has a canon variation in the episodes "Finn the Human" and "Jake the Dog", in which we see how the world would have turned out if the bomb that resulted in the series' mystical post-apocalypse landscape didn't detonate
  • Ben 10:
    • Ths episode, "Gwen 10", has Ben find himself back on the day he gained the Omnitrix. He remembers everything that happened, but Max and Gwen don't, and while trying to get the Omnitrix once again, Gwen gets the watch instead of him. Her natural learning abilities lead to her fully mastering the Omnitrix by the next day, but has the side effect of automatically attracting Vilgax to their location. By the end of the episode, Grandpa Max ends up with the Omnitrix, and the whole story is revealed to be a What If.
    • The final episode, "Goodbye and Good Riddance", asks "What if Vilgax attacked Ben in his hometown?" The result is pretty much another fight, though has the interesting effect of Ben's house getting destroyed, his father finding out his and Max's secrets, and Gwen moving to Bellwood to help combat future threats.
  • Family Guy:
  • The Futurama episodes "Anthology of Interest I/II" have the characters view, via one of the Professor's inventions, various "What if" scenarios. In the first one, it reveals that the entire framing sequence is itself such a scenario (For those curious, it was "What If the Professor had invented the Finglongernote ?").
    • What If Bender Was 500 Feet Tall? He fights a giant Zoidberg and dies.
    • What If Leela Was More Impulsive? She kills everyone except for Fry, whom she sleeps with.
    • Parodied when Fry's What If is "What If Bender Was 500 Feet Tall?", because he liked it and wanted to see it again.
    • What If Fry Never Fell In The Freezer-Doodle And Came To The Future-Jiggy?note  Reality falls apart. Eventually revealed to be less ridiculous than it seems because Fry's existence is a Stable Time Loop.
    • What If Bender Were Human? He stuffs himself on food, booze and smoke, and dies of morbid obesity.
    • What If Life Were More Like A Video Game? Video game characters invade Earth demanding quarters.
    • What If Leela Found Her True Home? She winds up in Oz and becomes the new Wicked Witch of the West. Unlike the others, though, this was just Leela's dream after she was knocked out and not an actual projection of the What If? machine. Indeed, Leela discovers her true home (Earth) later on.

  • The Phineas and Ferb episodes "Phineas And Ferb Get Busted" and "Phineas And Ferb's Quantam Boogaloo" are about what would happen if Candace succeeded in busting her brothers. The results weren't pretty in either case.
  • This is the entire point of Wild Kratts — what if we had the technology to really get inside the minds of the creatures by effectively transforming into them?
  • Freakazoid! did a time travel story where the hero ends up preventing World War II. He suddenly realizes the possible consequences of his actions ("What hatch Freak wrought?!") and returns to the present... to find changes include that Rush Limbaugh is now a kind-hearted charity worker, Sharon Stone is a Shakespearean actress, cold fusion works, Euro Disneyland is packed, and there are no Chevy Chase movies. He decides he's made the world a better place, though hasn't yet noticed that Brain is now the president.
  • Miraculous Ladybug had canon variations in the episodes "Cat Blanc" and "Ephemeral", showing what happens when Ladybug and Cat Noir learned each other's identities before becoming a Bad Future scenario when series Big Bad Gabriel learns his son is Cat Noir and akumatizes him: "Cat Blanc" resulting in Paris being accidently destroyed while Gabriel obtains the Miraculouses with his son's help in "Ephemeral".

  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic season five finale, "The Cutie Re-Mark" is pretty much a canon take to "What If Rainbow Dash never did her Sonic Rainboom?". We then get the answer when Starlight Glimmer, vengeful over what happened at the start of the season, finds a spell to go back in time, finds out about the Mane 6's cutie mark connection stemming from that moment and prevents Dash from doing it. What follows is a myriad of Bad Futures where previous Big Bads turn Equestria into a Crapsack World. Because without the Rainboom, the Mane Six don't get their cutie marks at the same time, meet each other later as adults, and be around to stop them. To wit: Sombra re-claims the Crystal Empire, makes slaves out of the inhabitants and wages a never-ending war on Equestria that constantly depletes the world's resources just to fight him. Queen Chrysalis and the Changlings force the ponies to flee into the Everfree where the survivors are under constant paranoia and ultimately she finds their last stronghold. Nightmare Moon banishes Celestia to the moon as she did to her and blankets the world in never-ending night (though at least rules somewhat fairly). Tirek goes about destroying Equestria, Discord turns the world into chaos torturing Celestia and Luna all the while, Film and Flam of all ponies turn Equestria into an industrial nightmare, and finally the last future sees Equestria as a barren wasteland devoid of any life at all.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: In the episode "Oops I Did It Again!", the Professor has a dream about what it would have been like if he actually had created the perfect little girls he intended to make, without the accidental addition of Chemical X.
  • Regular Show season 5 episode "Skips in the Saddle" focuses on "What if Skips decided to start dating again?"
  • Total Drama Action Alternate Reality is a promo short that depicts what would have happened to some of the cast had the show not been renewed for a second season. Owen would have his own cooking show where he eats all of his ingredients, Heather would be the star of a "daddy's little rich girl" sitcom, Duncan would be abusing Harold in a Jackass-esque show, Gwen would be on Home Improvement and redecorate everything in her usual goth style, and Bridgette and Geoff would be sitcom babysitters, with Chef as their baby.
  • What If…? (2021) is an adaptation of the Marvel Comics series connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, airing on Disney+. Each episode features voice work from actors of the MCU and spins classic scenarios from the films.

    Real Life 
  • In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the San Antonio Express-News newspaper postulated what would happen if Harvey hit other areas. In a frightening show, it would have had at least three states and most of two others effectively flooded out.
  • The Beatles were of course from Liverpool, England, and were born during World War 2, with John and Ringo during the period of heaviest German bombing. Obviously they survived, but 4000 other Liverpudlians weren't so lucky. What direction would popular music have taken if they, or for that matter their original manager Brian Epstein, had been Blitz victims?
    • In a similar vein, the group arguably truly found its footing not in Liverpool but in Hamburg, Germany, one of the most heavily bombed German cities in the war (including one raid, fittingly called Operation Gomorrah, in which more bombs were dropped ' 'than were dropped on the entirety of Britain during the whole war' '. One of the Beatles' main muses in Hamburg was a photographer named Astrid Kirchherr, who, as well as becoming the girlfriend of erstwhile member Stuart Sutcliffe, also inspired the group to change their look from '50s-style greasers to their early trademark black suits and "moptop" haircuts (that hairstyle was popular among French and German hipsters in the late '50s and early '60s). What form would the Beatles' career (and arguably, of anglophone pop music as a whole) have taken if Astrid had been among the dead of Hamburg's bombing (including the 37,000 victims of Operation Gomorrah)?
    • Going even further down this rabbit hole, one of the Beatles' (among other contemporary fellow artists') main inspirations was Elvis Presley. In 1936, when Elvis was just one year old, an F5 tornado struck his hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi. Approximately 216 people were killed as part of the second-deadliest tornado outbreak in American history. You could probably write a novel based on the different direction pop music might have taken if Elvis had been one of the victims.
  • You can do this stuff also as a serious history scientist...although your colleagues will probably raise an eyebrow due to the obviously speculative nature of the matter.


Video Example(s):


What if Desti never died?

One of the many alternate scenarios presented on the appropriately titled episode of the Genesis arc. While most of them aren't meant to be taken seriously, this last one is the most substantial.
We first see the scene in the Anime arc where Desti had originally died, only with the reality altered so that Desti realises what's about to happen and promptly moves out of the way. Then a montage of episodes occurring after the Anime arc is presented, only now with Desti in them. The epilogue of Meggy's Destiny is then shown in this alternate scenario, when all of a sudden the Sephiroth from the Anime arc who originally killed Desti comes out of nowhere and kills Meggy instead. Desti then dedicates herself to defeat him to avenge Meggy's death.
One of the other scenarios presented, "What if Nintendo came with a cease and desist?", would be expanded upon on the Lawsuit arc.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / WhatIf

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