Marvel Asks “What If…”
A new superhero named Kahhori has the power to change the world in a Marvel TV show that explores alternate histories.
Courtesy of Marvel Studios
Kahhori is Marvel’s new superhero.
Marvel has a new superhero, and she has the power to change the world.
Kahhori (pronounced KAH-HORI), a young Mohawk woman, was introduced in the animated Marvel TV show What If…?, which explores what would happen if certain events had never taken place. Kahhori is living in what’s now New York state in the 1500s when Europeans arrive in the area and attempt to enslave the Indigenous people. By that time, the Mohawk nation had long been part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of five Indigenous nations.
In real life, Europeans eventually colonized large areas of what’s now the United States and took the land where Indigenous people had been living for thousands of years. In the show, however, Kahhori discovers that she has incredible powers that enable her to help the Haudenosaunee fight back and negotiate a peace agreement. The Europeans leave the area without colonizing it, and the Haudenosaunee remain on their land.
“‘What if?’ That’s what I was thinking of,” Agnes “Sweets” Jacobs told North Country Public Radio, after watching a screening of the episode. Jacobs is a sub-chief of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe. “What if we didn’t welcome [the Europeans]?…What if we still lived in peace and harmony and took care of the earth the way we’re supposed to?”
The episode is notable because Marvel Studios created it in consultation with Mohawk people. Almost all the dialog is in the Mohawk language and voiced by Mohawk actors. Details such as what Kahhori would have worn are accurate.
“[The people at Marvel] were faithful and they were steady and they were completely committed to treating us with the greatest respect,” Doug George-Kanentiio, who is Mohawk and who served as a historical consultant on the show, told North Country Public Radio.
What If…? is available to watch on Disney Plus.