If you’re wondering more about the Multiverse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, watch What If…? on Disney+. This is the one Marvel show on Disney+ that has been more of a mixed bag with the fans. Personally, I dug it, but I just can’t help but wonder if Marvel wants to make all of this canon. I mean, after watching WandaVision and Loki, it wouldn’t be hard to accept that it is connected. My initial thoughts about the What If…? show was that it was going to be a fun little side project for Marvel and never meant to be considered canon. I have spoken to friends who are fans of Marvel and didn’t really see the point of the show, considering it’s basically a show based on fan speculation.
The fact that it’s all animated was a fun idea to make it seem separate from the MCU, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Kevin Feige squeezing this into future movies. Just a little recap, let’s think about what What If…? has added to the MCU. Because of Loki, we can now officially call these different versions of well-known characters variants. The best variants I’ve seen from the show would have to be Agent Carter, T’Challa as Star-Lord, and party Thor. And the fact that the big baddie of the show turned out to be Ultron in Vision’s body with all the infinity stones was a real eye-popper. I mean, he killed Thanos in a millisecond. Do you guys buy that? Maybe not, but it was still cool seeing another ultra powerful supervillain step up.
What really set up the concept of What If…? was the introduction of Uatu the Watcher. The all-powerful observer of every event that occurs in every corner of the universe. Oh, but his vision goes beyond just one universe. The Watcher keeps an eye on every universe and every variant that tries to alter the flow of time. His role is to simply watch, as he is forbidden to ever interfere. What got really interesting in What If…? was seeing the Watcher slowly beginning to break away from his oath. Even seeing him interact with Doctor Strange Supreme (another one of the best variants) and allowing his world to be destroyed showed how committed he was to his oath.
It wasn’t until the new Ultron discovered the Watcher’s existence that he decided to finally interfere. Just like the movies, What If…? spent the whole first season setting up for another epic team-up that led to battling a larger threat. Did it sell like the Avengers? It did in some ways, but until we see some of these variants in the movies, I think What If…? will forever be living in the shadow of the wider MCU. It’s a different case for the live-action Disney+ shows, as the first three all continued the story after the events of Endgame. We now get to see how many of these characters move on with their lives after the Blip and for some characters, their actions led to something even bigger.
Will the events that occurred in What If…? ever connect to the MCU? I suspect it will, given how it is exploring the Multiverse. I think that’s a good thing and apparently we’ll be getting more What If…? scenarios in a second season. I say why not? These are definitely things fans like to talk about, so it’s cool that Marvel is deciding to take our speculation seriously. So What If…? might have fell short on giving us that explosive team-up finale compared to how the movies did it. That’s okay, because I just like seeing these characters put into different scenarios. That is one thing the show did well, given that was the goal. But if I had to point out the one key thing What If…? did better than the MCU movies was just having all of these different characters interact with each other.
The best example would have to be the Marvel Zombies episode. Honestly, who would ever think that zombies and superheroes would blend together so well? If you’ve ever read the comic series, you know how bloody it gets. Believe me, it’s no comic for the young. That is something I thought would never be adapted for the MCU, but as they have proven to me before, I should never say never. The Marvel Zombies episode had to be the best episode in What If…? for many reasons. For starters, we had flipping zombies overwhelm a whole world inhabited by Marvel superheroes. It basically proves that zombies, once they start to migrate, is the disease that doesn’t stop until it infects the whole world. I mean, even the reason on how it all got started actually made sense. Once it did hit, the top members of the Avengers, except for Thor and the Hulk, became infected and basically turned into super zombies. That certainly sounds corny, but that’s really what they were and it was awesome.
But what was even more awesome was seeing many characters interact. We’ve seen that in the movies, but one thing that always kind of bothered me was not seeing enough character interactions with characters who never met. For instance, in Endgame, I think it would’ve been cool if we saw the Avengers interact with other characters they haven’t met before. Sure, they all shared the battlefield in the end, but actually seeing a conversation with them in the movie really would’ve been a treat in itself.
Ever wonder what it would’ve been like if Shuri talked to Tony Stark about science and crazy inventions? Or maybe it would’ve been funny to see Tony try to flirt with Gamora? How about Cap and Peter Quill having a discussion about leadership, given the different contrast in their personalities? Well, we got a taste of that in What If…? with Marvel Zombies. Right away, we got to see Peter Parker do a zombie survival YouTube show with Happy and Scott Lang’s Russian buddy Kurt joining him. Seeing a minor supporting character like Kurt joke around with the big heroes was just hilarious.
It even got serious with Hope Van Dyne leading the small group of survivors and talking about hope with Peter Parker. Those are two characters who didn’t have a conversation in the movies, so it was very fun seeing them interact. It didn’t end there, as the small group of survivors included Sharon Carter, Bucky, Okoye, and eventually a maimed Black Panther and Scott’s jar in a head. Oh, and it all began with Bruce Banner making his way to Earth after losing the fight with Thanos. These are characters who didn’t interact with each other much in the movies, so that episode of What If…? did a great job in giving us that.