Well Marvel fans, Disney’s first season of “What If…?” has come and gone. For anyone whose never heard of the series, think of it as the “The Twilight Zone” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Each episode explores an alternate reality where events occurred differently. What if Tony Stark never became Iron Man? What if Doctor Strange went mad with power? And most importantly, what if Thor came down to throw the biggest party in Midgard! It’s been a wild ride guys and according to Disney, there’s more in store for fans of the anthology series. So join us as we explore the future of multiverse within the MCU and recap our favourite and not-so-favourite moments along the way.
What Can Fans Expect From Season 2
The first season of “What If…?” mainly explored divergent accounts from the more popular stories of the Phase 1 to Phase 3 era of the MCU. Drawing inspiration from big titles like “Avengers: Age of Ultron” to smaller building blocks like “Guardians of the Galaxy”. Rest assured that the second season will be going beyond the “Infinity Saga” playground to explore the multiversal stories of characters outside the Avenger-centric roster.
President of Marvel Studio Kevin Feige has stated the series’ second season will be sure to incorporate stories and characters from Phase 4 projects. In an interview with Screen Rant, he stated “ season 1 is tapping into films and storylines from the MCU that you’ve seen up to this point, season 2 will definitely incorporate movies from Phase 4”. Meaning that fans can expect to see new characters like Shang Chi, the Eternals and perhaps the Fantastic Four popping up in the second season.
Things get even more interesting when we take the director of the series, Bryan Andrews’ statement into account. In an interview with ComicBook.com, Andrews expressed his love for Spider-Man and an interest in making more “What If…?” content surrounding the character. He then went on state that he hopes that he’ll be able “to do enough shows or enough seasons, who knows what we’ll get”. He then went on to tease the possibility of revisiting familiar characters and creating possible future spin-offs based on them. So fans hoping to see a possible Marvel Zombies TV series or film, may just have their dream come true.
It’s great that director Bryan Andrews is interested in revisiting past episodes of “What If…?” because there are a few loose ends that need tying up. For example, what’s with that scene in the season finale “What If…The Watcher Broke His Oath?” in which we see Tony Stark and Gamora join forces to save the galaxy? Turns out, that there was a missing episode that didn’t make it into the first season. Rest assured that it’ll be appearing in the second season of the series.
Then, there’s the end credit scene that shows Captain Carter and her BFF Black Widow discovering Steve Rogers’ HYDRA Stomper armour. It ends with Widow telling Carter that there’s someone inside it; implying that somehow, Steve Rogers survived his crash without the Super Soldier serum. Finally, what happened to the survivors in the fifth episode “What If…zombies?!”? The episode ends with Spider-Man, Black Panther and a bodiless Ant-Man retreating to Wakanda with the Mind Stone only to find an undead Thanos waiting for them, with a fist of full of Infinity Stones. Hopefully, we’ll get an answer to all these loose ends in the second season.
With the future out of the way, it’s time for us to recap some of the series’ best moments and the ones that didn’t quite measure up to expectations. We’re counting down all the episodes of the first season from worst to best!
9. What If…Thor were an only child?
We get that this episode was meant to be a breather from the heavier entries in the series. Still, its filler nature doesn’t excuse its lacklustre premise and seemingly aimless plot. There are a million more interesting plotlines to cover. We could have had an episode exploring the possiblity of Odin losing the war with the Frost Giants, or one in which Hela had murdered Thor and Loki. So while this is a fun, innocuous sideshow, we can’t help but think it a waste of an opportunity. At least the ending leads into something cool.
8. What If…Captain Carter were the First Avenger?
Don’t get us wrong, it’s nice to see Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter getting some love outside of her “Agent Carter” series. As an opener to the first season, this episode certainly made a bold statement with its fluid and engaging action sequences. Beyond some fun easter eggs and cameos though, the plot here is essentially the same as that of the original “Captain America: The First Avenger”. Sure there are some minor variations but compared to the rest of the series, “What If…Captain Carter were the First Avenger?” doesn’t quite measure up in terms of creativity.
7. What If…zombies?!
Now this had the potential to be higher up on our list. It had all the makings of a great elseworld story. The only problem is the writer’s lack of commitment to the premise. If you’re going to make a horror episode, go all out! Don’t give us this half-horror-half-quirky comedy nonsense. We’re not asking for insane blood and gore, just a consistent tone and atmosphere throughout.
Oh, then there are the characters who make decisions as brain-dead as the zombies they’re fighting. If Vision didn’t want Wanda to be awaken, why did he let Bucky run around the base? Why did no one kill giant Wasp after she was infected?! It’s a lot of fun to see our favourite heroes turned into undead monsters but it could have been so much more.
6. What If…T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?
If you’re looking for a light-hearted heist adventure then “What If…T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?” is right up your alley. Unlike the heavier episodes on this list, this isn’t so much examining the world-changing events of one decision than it is having fun with its switch-ups. In many ways, it’s a really sweet tribute to the character of T’Challa and actor Chadwick Boseman with this version of Star-Lord essentially being the Lando Calrissian of the MCU. Also seeing Thanos in a Mario-coloured armour following after Star-Lord is pretty damn adorable. That being said, the Collector makes for a better eccentric side-character in “Guardians of the Galaxy” than a villain in this episode. Overall, it’s still a good time.
5. What If…the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?
We never thought we’d ever see a murder mystery within the MCU but here we are with “What If..the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?”. In case you’re not caught up, the plot follows the story of a silent assassin picking Avenger members off, one at a time. All without leaving a trace. Won’t lie, we had five different theories throughout the episode and none of them were correct. Seeing the invincible Avengers being taken down by such an unlikely foe was a blast to watch! The only small gripe we have is that the folks who haven’t seen some specific films in Phase 3 won’t get the full picture. For diehard MCU fans, the revelation makes perfect sense.
4. What If…Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?
Next to perhaps Thanos and Loki, Erik Killmonger has got to be the most compelling villain within the MCU. We’re happy to say that “What If…Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?” reminds us why we love the character once again. Killmonger’s always been somewhat of a damaged revolutionary and his plan to take the throne in “Black Panther” was a fairly straight forward ploy. Here we get to see his more machiavellian side as he befriends Stark and worms his way up the corporate ladder. From there, he forms an alliance with the Wakandans, ultimately pitting Stark’s metal warriors against his own people. Killmonger is often known for his ferocity and ambition so it was nice to see his more charismatic and diplomatic side.
3. What If… Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?
The one weakness with Disney’s “What If…?” series has got to be its runtime. Too often episodes are forced to rush into hasty resolutions just when things were ramping up. Something we hope director Bryan Andrews will take into consideration in the second season. “What If…Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?” doesn’t suffer this defect though. Due to its singular character-focused narrative, the episode leaves us with a lot more time to grieve with Strange as we witness him becoming a literal monster. The episode ends on a refreshingly bold and melancholic note, one that feels equal part tragic as it is terrifying.
2. What If…Ultron Won?
As fans of Marvel’s “Age of Ultron” and “Annihilation” comics, we honestly loved every second of this episode. Ultron isn’t just some killer robot from Skynet. He is an adaptive A.I. lifeform that is able to infect, replicate and control all things technological. Paired with Vision’s body and the Infinity Stones, he is capable of achieving god-like levels of power. “What If…Ultron Won?” explores this scenario to its fullest, making Ultron what he was always destined to be: a multiversal threat. There are a ton of awesome visual cues and references to characters like Annihilus and Galactus. The moment the Watcher realized that Ultron could see him will remain one of the most bone-chilling moments in the MCU. The only thing that could possibly top the epic proportions of “What If…Ultron Won?” is our final pick.
1. What If…The Watcher Broke His Oath?
This was the episode that changed everything, turning this series from separate self-contained narratives into a mini-Avengers event with the Guardians of the Multiverse showing up. It was rewarding to see some of our favourite elseworld heroes gathered together to meet the genocidal android in battle. A good season finale should always enrich the context of the previous episodes while also laying the groundwork for future battles to come. We believe that “What If…The Watcher Broke His Oath?” is an excellent example. Character arcs from previous episodes seamlessly tie into this entry to create an ensemble adventure that manages to capture that icnoic Avengers Assemble moment within its relatively short runtime. There were moments in the series when we’ve had our doubts but watching this in all its animated glory, totally worth it!
So what did you think of Disney’s “What If…?”? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Be sure to give it a watch on Disney+ Hotstar today and let us know your thoughts with a reaction down below!