Though Marvel’s What If series could be considered an ambitious crossover event — in the sense that many of the studio’s characters have made appearances in the show’s first season alone — none of the episodes so far have exactly focused on an Avengers: Endgame–style plot in which multiple, previously-established storylines are woven together. That could be changing soon, though.
In addition to reimagining Peggy Carter as a super-soldier, and T’Challa as the adoptive son of alien pirates, What If has explored different branches of Marvel’s multiverse where the efforts of Earth’s heroes haven’t been enough to keep the planet protected from devastating threats. While the Disney+ animated series is an anthology, many of the first season’s individual episodes have left open the possibility of there being more down the line that reveals a larger narrative known only to the Watcher (Jeffrey Wright).
A new midseason trailer released today definitely suggests that might be the case thanks to an interesting handful of shots from upcoming episodes featuring characters like Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain Marvel (Alexandra Daniels), and Iron Man (Mick Wingert) of all people.
In the new clips, there’s a brief exchange between a young Thor and the variant of Doctor Strange who became corrupted by the dark magics (Doctor Strange Supreme) about the presence of zombies. Though What If has yet to feature a Thor variant who has many lines, the dark Strange seems to be the same one from episode four, and the zombies the pair are discussing are likely from episode five, a fusion of the Marvel Zombies comics, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers Endgame.
Those details alone suggest that, somehow, elements of at least three branches of the multiverse all end up interacting with one another at some point in What If’s story. But the teaser also spotlights shots of other characters like Captain Marvel, Korg, and Iron Man. Iron Man’s appearance in a moment mirroring his snap at the end of Endgame is particularly interesting, as it points to What If coming back to that pivotal point in the MCU’s history. But given the way the show deviates from the canon (and the fact that it’s already sort of touched on beats from that film), it might mean that this snap exists in a different context.
What If’s also already given us an alternate version of Thanos who has little interest in exterminating half of the universe, meaning that he isn’t necessarily the person Iron Man’s using the Infinity Stones against. A world plagued with zombies certainly feels like the sort of thing the Avengers might want to use that for — but if that ends up being the case, it means the series is about to mash up the multiverse in some rather significant ways as it builds to the season one finale.
What If airs Wednesdays on Disney+.