The Ultimate List of What to Watch Before Season 2 of ‘What If…?’

Marvel Studios’ first canonical animated series, What If…?, is returning to Disney Plus for a second season. Season 2 will feature 9 more multiversal adventures that put a spin on familiar events from the Sacred Timeline. Season 1 memorably featured a universe where a quantum virus set zombies loose on Earth, one where Ultron won and another where Thanos was a Ravager and Season 2 promises to bring even more variety to the ever-expanding multiverse.  

Marvel Studios is experimenting with an all-new, all-different rollout for Season 2 of What If…?, dropping one episode a day beginning on December 22nd. Before you start taking in that holiday treat, you’ve still got some time to prepare and so–as you’ve no doubt come to expect–Murphy’s Multiverse has put together The Ultimate List of What to Watch Before Season 2 of What If…?.

Given the premise of What If…? is unlike that of any other Marvel Studios project, it only makes sense that the Ultimate List would reflect that and so it’s a little different than what we usually roll out.

How It Started…

Loki, Season 1: Episode 6-For All Time, Always

The multiversal adventures of What If…? would never have taken place if Sylvie had not gotten all stabby-stabby with He Who Remains in the Season 1 finale of Loki. There’s no shame in rewatching every episode of both seasons of Loki, however, if you want to cut to the chase and get to the moment that each of the new timelines in which the adventures in What If…? take place, then you simply need to check out Season 1, Episode 6.

How It Went…

What If…?, Season 1

Season 1 of What If…? originally seemed like an anthological collection of disparate stories spread out all over the newly formed Multiverse. Episodes dedicated to Captain Carter and Star-Lord T’Chall were entertaining on their own merit but as the series progressed, the storylines began to converge as Uatu assembled great heroes from around the Multiverse. Some of those characters are set to return for Season 2 and reacquainting yourself with their stories will only add to your enjoyment of following their next steps.

Where It’s Going Next…

Undoubtedly, venturing back onto the branches of the multiverse to recall the events of Season 1 will be beneficial to your enjoyment of Season 2…but why stop there? New episodes means Uatu will be narrating stories from other branches–or maybe further exploring branches already seen in Season 1. While we refuse to get spoilery here, a list of episode titles made its way into the wild, allowing us to direct you toward some projects that might be worth revisiting before they become Nexus Events in Season 2.

Listed in Disney +’s Timeline Order:

Captain America: The First Avenger

The Tesseract will play a major role in at least one episode of Season 2 when a Mohawk woman named Kahhori–at totally original character created for the show–discovers it on Earth centuries before TFA. Watching TFA provides some background on the object which continues to play a big part in the MCU throughout the Infinity Saga.

Iron Man 3

Happy Hogan saves Christmas!? An entire episode of Season 2 is dedicated to Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan and given that it’s set at Christmas it’s possible that it spins out of the events of Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 which takes place at Christmas because it’s Shane Black’s Iron Man 3. The Forehead of Security spent most of Iron Man 3 in a hospital bed after being near an Extremis soldier that went boom so this may be a way to give the character a new adventure during that time though we cannot confirm Iron Man 3 is the backdrop.

Guardians of the Galaxy

A pair of Season 2 episodes will deal with events from the Guaridans franchise but rewatching James Gunn‘s first–and best–MCU film should provide all the information you need about Peter Quill, Nebula and the Nova Corps.

Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron

Before Season 1 of What If…?, a leak indicated that one episode would find Tony Stark on Sakaar rather than the Hulk and Thor. That episode will be part of Season 2 but how did Stark get there? Our best guesses are that the wormhole created by the Tesseract in Avengers led him there OR he switches places with Hulk at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron and somehow finds his way to the junk heap. Watch them both because there’s no downside to watching the first team up again or rewatching a film that has held up much better than folks thought it might!

Thor: Ragnarok and Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings

As if she needed to be any more awesome, an episode of Season 2 will give Thor’s sister Hela, the Goddess of Death, access to the powerful Ten Rings! Her story as told in Ragnarok was absolutely fascinating and it’ll be very interesting to see how the rings augment her already unique powers.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

What If…? is a show about the Multiverse and 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness taught the audience that there’s no bigger threat to said Multiverse than Stephen Strange. Rewatch it because it’s awesome; rewatch it to meet some of those scary Strange Variants; rewatch it because Sam Raimi might be doing a lot more work with Marvel Studios in the future. One of those Variants–Strange Supreme–didn’t appear in the film but was a major player in Season 1 of What If…? and is confirmed to return in Season 2 so it’s good to remember that not all Stranges are good Stranges and also that good is relative in the Multiverse.

Bonus Reading

Marvel 1602

A first in our Ultimate List series! For decades, Marvel Comics has been known as the House of Ideas. While Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created an enormous sandbox full of rich characters, many writers over the years have thought outside the (sand)box and told stories in alternate universes much like the ones imagined in What If…? One of the most divisive efforts to tell these alt-universe stories came from the mind of Neil Gaiman who decided to bring about the age of heroes 400 years earlier than Lee and Kirby! Published in 2003, Marvel 1602 reinterprets the origins and lives of characters such as the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Captain America and more during a time when superstition reigned supreme over science. If you have time for a quick, 8-issue romp through the 17th century from the mind of one of comic’s most singular authors, pick up Marvel 1602 at your LCS or check it out on Marvel Unlimited before seeing how it’s adapted in Season 2!

About What If…? Season 2

The Watcher returns to season two of Marvel Studios’ What If…? when the animated series
begins streaming on Disney+ on Dec. 22. And in the spirit of the holiday season, fans are
invited to unwrap a new episode nightly for nine nights.

Season two of What If…? continues the journey as The Watcher guides viewers through the
vast multiverse, introducing brand new and familiar faces throughout the MCU. The series
questions, revisits and twists classic Marvel Cinematic moments with an incredible voice cast that includes a host of stars who reprise their iconic roles. Featuring fan-favorite characters this season like Nebula, Hela and Happy Hogan, episodes are directed by executive producer Bryan Andrews with executive producer AC Bradley as head writer.

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