This past summer, What If…? ran for nine episodes, offering fans alternate Avengers stories from the multiverse. That was the purpose of the animated series, to provide fans with additional variants of their favorite characters. The show also introduced a few memorable characters that we might see in upcoming MCU movies and shows. The list includes Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), Strange Supreme (Benedict Cumberbatch), The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright), and Zombie Avengers. By the end of season 1, the story came together with a multiversal fight that connected all the seemingly disparate storylines. Marvel has since confirmed What If…? will return for season 2.
While it’s too early to speculate what season 2 will offer, especially considering how the first season ended, we do have a big leak to look at. The story for the ninth episode in the second season has apparently leaked. It delivers an exciting What If…? scenario that would let us revisit a few key events from the Infinity War and Endgame movies. It’s also a very crazy twist on those events that will tear at the fabric of the MCU. What I’m trying to say is that big spoilers follow below if this crazy What If…? leak is accurate.
The Infinity War and Endgame
The final two installments in the Avengers franchise delivered an amazing story that concluded the Infinity War saga. The Avengers came face to face with their worst nightmare and eventually managed to beat Thanos (Josh Brolin). But not after sustaining plenty of hurt themselves. That includes actual hero deaths and the five years of suffering that followed the events in Infinity War.
The Phase 4 stories so far circle back to these movies in some capacity. After all, the blip and the Avengers vs. Thanos battle are the most significant events in Earth’s recent history. And each new MCU story provides additional context about the Infinity War–Endgame events.
Moreover, both movies contain a few scenes that are worth exploring in future movies or TV shows. For example, the Infinity War scene where Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is looking at possible outcomes might deserve an entire film. Who knows how much time the sorcerer spent in there and what he had learned. Similarly, there’s a Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) story to be told that details his final mission.
What If…? is certainly the place where we could see alternate events of those stories. And if this season 2 leak is accurate, we might see Marvel tackle that Strange scene in an exciting but controversial way.
The What If…? season 2 finale leak
The mods of the Marvel Studios Spoilers subreddit posted a leak that offers the plot description of What If…? season 2 episode 9. The first season had nine episodes, so we expect that to be the case for season 2.
Episode 9 is apparently titled Teeming with Life or Teaming with Life. The episode will use Strange’s scene where he surveys possible futures, but the action happens from the point of view of Ebony Maw.
Specifically, the What If…? season 2 episode will start from the moment in time where Thanos captures the 2023 Nebula (Karen Gillan) and her Time Heist bracelet. Ebony Maw should engineer a device that lets them move to the future to the Endgame events. But this Ebony Maw creates a device that lets him spectate the possible future.
Maw then witnesses that pivotal Endgame scene where Strange tells Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) that he can’t tell him what happens next, or else it won’t happen. Then, Maw sees the Avengers win, and Thanos and everyone else dies, himself included.
He goes back to Thanos, informing him of how they might lose, and the Mad Titan instructs his top lieutenant to investigate the situation.
What If…? season 2 finale will then take us to Infinity War, with Ebony Maw inspecting the events that preceded Endgame. That’s where he discovers that Strange could look at the possible futures himself.
Upon finding out, Thanos orders Maw to look further in the past of Strange. That’s how Maw finds out that Strange learned from a book how to spectate the future while he messed with the Time Stone. Strange also learned that telling someone about the future ensures that the future won’t happen.
The big controversy
This is where this What If…? season 2 finale leak gets very strange, and not in a good way. Apparently, Maw decides to go back in time to erase the book that Strange read, so he can’t learn about that particular rule. But this is precisely the kind of time travel action that’s not possible in the MCU. You can’t change the past to alter the future.
If this leak is accurate, Marvel would contradict the time travel rules it set in Endgame. The only way this works is by having Maw create an alternate timeline the moment he erases the book. Without the TVA to block Maw, a different reality would develop.
The leak says the What If…? season 2 episode will conclude with the Endgame battle and the events that follow it. But in the final moments where he’s supposed to lose, Thanos creates a barrier around himself.
This is where Ebony Maw freaks out after learning what Thanos is about to do and warns Strange telepathically. Maw tells the wizard what he did to get here and asks Strange to come up with a different solution to stop the Mad Titan.
Strange manages to break through Thanos’s barrier at the cost of his own life. But Strange asks Maw before that to project him into the Abstract Entities. Maw also enters the barrier.
How What If…? season 2 might end
When Thanos snaps his fingers, the Infinity Stones are devoid of powers. Instead of destroying Earth and the Avengers, Thanos reaches the Realm of the Abstract Entities to stand trial.
That’s where Uatu the Watcher will defend Thanos, seeing in him some hope to help the multiverse. Uatu wants Thanos to join the Guardians of the Multiverse, a group that we met in What If…? season 1.
The Living Tribunal wants to remove Thanos from every reality, and they’re angry at The Watcher for having broken his oath.
Ultimately, The One-Above-All will appear, proposing a solution. Thanos will join the Guardians at a cost. He will live in the new universe he tried to create with an entity known as Death instead of the entity known as Life that Thanos wanted.
If this What If…? episode 2 leak is accurate, neither Uatu nor the Living Tribunal will remember this conversation, as Thanos will exist in a brand new reality.
Is this how What If…? season 2 ends? We have no way of knowing. While this plot is interesting, it might break the time travel rules set in Endgame. But if it’s real, then What If…? season 2 might bring back Thanos, even if we’re getting a different version of the Mad Titan.