The streaming wars have begun and Disney’s platform, Disney+, is one of the new kids on the block. Still, they’ve managed to set themselves apart and stoke the excitement of their base by promising exclusive access to new and old content. And part of that excitement has to do with their upcoming Marvel content. The top amongst these, besides Wandavision, is Marvel’s What If…? show, which will tackle alternate versions Marvel Cinematic Universe and comic book history.
While we already know at least one of the scenarios that the show will deal with (Hayley Atwell‘s Peggy Carter undergoing the super-soldier trials instead of Chris Evans‘ Steve Rogers), here are five other scenarios we hope Marvel tackles:
1. What if we had avoided Civil War?
Whether you’re Team Iron Man or Team Captain America, most fans agree that the events of Captain America: Civil War could have been avoided if Steve and Tony had decided to sit down and have one more rational discussion, especially after Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) had entered the picture.
Hell, perhaps we could have side-stepped the conversation entirely if they were married like in Earth-3490.
2. What if Ultron was never created?
Steve and Tony’s clashing leadership styles continue to cause tension all the way through Endgame, which seems to place blame for the Avengers’ ultimate disbandment on the Captain’s Bucky Barnes-loving shoulders. But this theory omits Tony’s penchant for acting without the team in an “I know better than all of you” way that he may think is well-intentioned, but often ends up causing serious problems. In fact, one of his “well-intentioned” decisions resulted in the creation of famed murderbot Ultron in Age of Ultron and did much of the work to plant the seeds of doubt and mistrust that set the stage for Civil War.
Which begs the question: what would have happened if Tony hadn’t gone rogue with Ultron?
3. What if Wakanda had intervened during slavery/colonialism?
In Black Panther, King T’Chaka’s brother N’Jobu (Sterling K. Brown) becomes radicalized after witnessing the treatment of African-Americans in the United States. When T’Chaka learns N’Jobu stole Wakandan weapons in an attempt to fight back against oppression, he goes to America to arrest his brother. But N’Jobu resists, and in the ensuing struggle, T’Chaka is forced to kill him, leaving his nephew, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), an orphan. Underneath this surface-level conflict, there’s a larger moral question: Why didn’t Wakanda, a highly advanced African civilization, intervene during the colonization of Africa in the first place?
How would Africa — and America as we know it — be different today had T’Challa’s ancestors decided to act?
4. What if Thanos had been motivated by courting the human personification of Death like in the comics?
In the comics, part of Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) motivation for dominating the universe stems from his huge crush (read: obsession) with Death — who is an actual person in the source material. Director Joss Whedon even nodded to this canonical history in the post-credit scene in The Avengers with the line: “To challenge them [humans] is to court…Death.” While I understand the push to make these MCU characters and plots more “realistic” and “grounded”, comics continue to be appealing because they embrace the outlandish.
What would Infinity War and Endgame have looked like if they stuck to the source instead of making Thanos a diet-Econ major? Maybe we could have even brought Hela (Cate Blanchett) back to make things interesting.
5. What if that heroic rat hadn’t freed Scott Lang from the Quantum Realm?
There are jokes and hijinks across the MCU that make me laugh, give me pause, and downright make me go “huh?” One moment that fell in the latter category is when a rat accidentally freed Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) from the Quantum Realm because he happened to walk over the machine/remote that sent him there in the first place. While that is funny, it’s a major event that entirely came down to chance. And it begs its own series of questions: What if that rat didn’t magically materialize in Scott’s old van? Would Scott have been trapped forever? Would we have even gotten an Endgame film? Would half of the universe had remained “snapped?”
Perhaps we’ll never know…or perhaps What If…? can give us some answers.