Now that the first season of What If…? has ended, let’s take a look at just how big the show’s biggest moments were with regards to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
T’Challa Makes the Universe Better
In an unexpectedly poignant paralleling of one man’s decency in the real world, What If…? firmly proves that the mere existence of T’Challa makes the galaxy brighter and better, just as the late Chadwick Boseman did for ours. As Star-Lord, T’Challa vastly improved the conditions of the universe; preventing the annihilation of half of life by taming the Mad Titan and continually doing acts of kindness. The episode itself has Wakanda’s prodigal son stealing the Embers of Genesis, potent seeds that can repopulate millions of planets with life.
Strange Supreme is the GOAT
What If…? may have held back on tackling bolder premises but it certainly went all out in showing how powerful these heroes can really be. Doctor Strange, or rather, Strange Supreme, has the most vulgar display of power in the MCU yet during the season finale. Putting to use all the forbidden, arcane abilities he stole from various magical beings in Episode 4 and then some, Strange Supreme puts up a fight with a cosmically powered, vibranium Ultron in the most incredible way. The sorcerer shapeshifts, duplicates Mjolnir a hundredfold, gives everyone invincibility armor, and even swallows a galaxy-ending explosion like a pop tart.
Like Strange Supreme, Ultron gets a huge glow up in What If…?, allowing Marvel Studios to give us the true Age of Ultron the titular film fell short of delivering. Turns out, Ultron in his intended vibranium-Vision form, wielding all six Infinity Stones makes Thanos and his quest look like child’s play. Ultron achieves multiversal omniscience at the tail end of his extinction agenda, posing a threat unlike any other. It’s a shame that James Spader wasn’t available to give this incredible glow-up justice.
The MCU has long been the recipient of the criticism that it’s too afraid to kill characters. What If…? rectifies that critique, albeit in a very inconsequential way, by killing our beloved characters left and right. They all get killed in varied ways, starting from Hank Pym’s atomic assassinations in the murder mystery episode and eventually escalating to Mortal Kombat-inspired fatalities in the popular zombie episode. No character has it worse than Tony Stark who dies more times than any other mainline Avenger.
Greatest Fights in the MCU
If there’s one thing What If…? gets absolutely perfect, it’s the fights. The scope and grace that the medium of animation affords these creators is nothing short of astounding. We get matchups that fans have been dreaming of such as Hulk vs. Wanda or Captain Marvel vs. Thor. The fights the creators come up with are so ingenious and creative that end up surpassing what the films have done in many ways.
The Winter Rogers
The anthological nature of What If…? makes it safe to assume that a lot of these stories are as good as done. The exception to that rule, however, is the Captain Carter of it all. Rumored to appear in live-action in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness and confirmed to have follow-up stories in the second season of What If…?, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that the finale ends setting up her next big adventure.
The revelation that the Steve Rogers of her timeline is still somehow alive and in stasis in the Lemurian Star has big implications for her future stories. Could this be another spin on the Winter Soldier saga? Is Peggy destined to find love with Steve 70 years later?
The first season of What If…? is now streaming on Disney+.