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Huge ‘What If…?’ cliffhanger teases how an important Avengers story ties together

Published Sep 23rd, 2021 11:15PM EDT
Avengers What If
Image: Marvel Studios

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The seventh episode in Marvel’s What If…? anthology series is available for streaming on Disney Plus, bringing us another Avengers story from a different alternate timeline where things didn’t go according to top plan. Unlike the previous episodes, the Thor installment has a massive cliffhanger that would work well as a post-credits scene. The animated series, however, doesn’t have post-credits tags like the movies or other TV shows.

The cliffhanger shocks fans by giving them a villain that has the potential of being more dangerous than Thanos (Josh Brolin) ever was. More interestingly, the cliffhanger happens to tie the entire What If…? season 1, giving us the clues we needed to understand how this Avengers story will come together. Mind you, massive spoilers will follow below.

What If…? is canon for the MCU

Before we look at episode 7’s massive villain, we’ll remind you that What If…? is canon for the MCU. Everything we saw so far in the animated TV series happened in an alternate timeline on the multiverse. The stories seem familiar to what we saw in the primary reality. But the Avengers superheroes in these realities had different fates than the primary heroes we’ve grown to love.

Marvel made that clear ahead of the What If…? premiere, at a time when we were already speculating that What If…? tells stories from the multiverse. This meant we could see some of the characters in What If…? in other Avengers stories.

We already have two candidates, Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell) and Doctor Strange Supreme (Benedict Cumberbatch), who will reportedly appear in live-action movies.

After the first few What If…? episodes, we learned that these seemingly separate stories are all connected, and it will all make sense as we get closer to the finale. Episode 7 practically gave us a few significant clues about what will happen in the remaining two episodes.

What If...? Trailer
Strange Supreme next to Thor in What If…? mid-season trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios

The What If…? Avengers will assemble

Marvel released a special What If…? mid-season sneak peek promo that gave us a look at a few unusual Avengers team-ups. We explained at the time that some of these Avengers teams made no sense at the time. Every episode seems to indicate that we were looking at a different timeline. So the various Avengers shown fighting together could not meet.

Even if some of the superheroes came from the same reality, there was a very unusual pairing. Party Thor (Chris Hemsworth) talks to Strange Supreme about zombies (seen above). That seems to be an impossible sort of interaction. The zombie Avengers must live in a completely separate universe from Party Thor. And we do have zombie Thanos wearing an Infinity Gauntlet with Infinity Stones in it in that universe.

More importantly, Strange Supreme destroyed his entire universe, remaining trapped in it. So there would be no Thor in it to interact with.

In that same episode, we saw Uatu the Watcher (Jeffery Wright) diverge from his storytelling. It’s the only episode where someone sensed his presence. The Watcher guides the audience, showing us how one little decision can impact the entire course of one superhero or the Avengers team. It’s only Supreme Strange that senses the Watcher and interacts with him. But Uatu would not help Strange at that point.

That might change now that we saw the massive episode 7 cliffhanger.

What If...? Episode 7 Ultron
Infinity Ultron appears in the shocking What If…? episode 7 cliffhanger. Image source: Marvel Studios

Will the Watcher intervene?

At the end of the Party Thor episode, we see a portal open up, with Ultron robots stepping through. Guiding them is a variation of Ultron that we’ll call Ultron Supreme or Infinity Ultron. It’s practically the Vision version of Ultron that Ultron always wanted. And he’s packing all the six Infinity Stones.

The prospect of an Ultron so powerful startled the Watcher as well. He’s the first to sense the incoming armies, just as he’s giving us an apparent happy end to this story. “Wait, what?” Uatu interrupts himself just before Infinity Ultron steps through the portal. Clearly, the Party Thor episode doesn’t have a happy end.

This tells us the Ultron threat is so powerful that the Watcher might have to intervene. In the sneak peek video, we saw that the Avengers from various What If…? episodes fight side by side against Ultron’s robots. It sure looks like the Watcher might be the one to help put together this particular team of superheroes.

That’s just speculation, however. What’s certain is that What If…? is heating up, and episodes 8 and 9 should answer most of our questions. You can stream the first seven episodes on Disney Plus right now.

What If...? Trailer
Black Widow, Captain Carter, Gamora, Star-Lord, and Thor seen in What If…? mid-season trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios
Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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