How ‘What If…?’ Has Been Leading to a New MCU Team-Up

'What If...?' Disney+, Poster
Disney+/Marvel Studios

The animated Marvel Disney+ series What If…? has primarily stuck to its anthological format throughout the season. However, the September 29 episode introduced a threat that could connect the entire series together across multiple universes.

With an alternate version of supervillain Ultron (originally voiced by James Spader, now by Ross Marquand) out to conquer the multiverse, the series has been setting up a new team of heroes that will join together to take him down.

Below, check out how What If…? has been leading toward Marvel’s latest superhero team-up.

Where We Left Off

'What If...?' Disney+, The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) & Ultron

Disney+/Marvel Studios

The eighth episode of the season asked the question, “What if… Ultron Won?” Created by Tony Stark, the artificial intelligence-turned-villainous robot was introduced in the film Avengers: Age of Ultron. But this episode followed an alternate timeline in which the robot destroyed The Avengers, subsequently eradicating planets and destroying life throughout the galaxy. After coming into possession of the Infinity Stones, Ultron became powerful enough to see The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) and break into his dimension, setting off on a mission to bring “peace” across the multiverse.

Back on Earth, Black Widow (voiced by Lake Bell) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) tracked down another version of the Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) artificial intelligence, like the one seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Believing it is the only thing that can take down Ultron’s code from the inside, they downloaded the system into one of Ultron’s drones. After Clint sacrificed himself to help Natasha escape, Zola claimed he couldn’t connect to Ultron, as he was not within the boundaries of the universe.

The Watcher Will Assemble a New Team of Avengers

'What If...?' Disney+, Gamora, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), Thor (Chris Hemsworth)

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With no choice but to break his oath of not interfering with events, The Watcher visits the alternate Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) featured in Episode 4 and asks for help. Though he proved a worthy physical opponent to Ultron throughout the episode, The Watcher is not strong enough to defeat him on his own. So, just as Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) once did, he will gather his own team of heroes to help save the multiverse.

With Doctor Strange and Black Widow already joining the fight, it is likely we will see other characters from past episodes be recruited by The Watcher. Clips featured in the show’s trailer and mid-season sneak peek have teased the return of Peggy Carter’s Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), T’Challa as Star-Lord (Chadwick Boseman), Killmonger as Black Panther (Michael B. Jordan) and “Party Thor” (Chris Hemsworth) from Episode 7.

Featured in trailers and the show’s key art, an alternate version of Gamora is set to appear, dressed in Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) armor and wielding his double-edged sword. Perhaps she is from the universe where Ultron obtained the Infinity Stones after killing Thanos. With several other versions of characters introduced throughout the series, there is no telling who else may show up.

The Show’s Importance to the MCU

'What If...?' Disney+, Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell)

Disney+/Marvel Studios

What If…? head writer AC Bradley previously confirmed that the series is canon within the MCU, meaning the events of the series could impact future Marvel shows and films. If The Watcher’s team of heroes successfully defeats Ultron in the season finale, they would be responsible for saving the entire multiverse, including the current universe that the MCU has taken place in up to this point.

Along with the Loki Season 1 finale, the show is preparing fans for the plethora of multiverse stories on the way, including the Doctor Strange sequel, Multiverse of Madness, and Spider-Man: No Way Home. In addition to that, series director Bryan Andrews has hinted at the possibility of What If…? characters appearing in live-action, specifically Captain Carter. With more casual Marvel fans introduced to the concept of different universes, the possibilities of what could happen going forward are endless.

What If…?, Now Streaming, Disney+