Marvel's What If is back and wilder than ever. Season 2 takes fans on another exciting ride through the multiverse with more diverse themes, a new hero, and the return of some of the best baddies the MCU has ever seen. It's a total blast!
What If Season 2 Review
Marvel's What If …? reimagines the most famous events from the MCU and ponders what could have happened. In Season 2, the episodes once again work as standalone but they still connect to one another and some even callback to Season 1. This time around we are getting stories like What if Iron Man crashed into the Grandmaster? What if Hela found the Ten Rings? Fans are also introduced to an entirely new character, Kahhori, a young Mohawk woman who discovers a new power within her thanks to The Tesseract. The multiverse continues to become more and more important especially after the events of WandaVision, Loki, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
What If is MCU canon thanks to the events of Loki Episode 6 which made anything and everything possible. The Watcher, also known as the most dramatic fan-boy in the universe according to the man behind the voice Jeffrey Wright, has also returned. Once again eagle-eyed viewers will spot The Watcher getting closer to the action as the season progresses. Whereas in season 1 Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) was the key player in the overall narrative, season 2 has a different hero aiming to protect the multiverse… Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch).
Clever storylines, great vocal performances, and crisp animation all add up to a thrilling jaunt through the multiverse. What If Season 2 continues to expand the MCU in terms of scope and possibility, building up to a wild final 2 episodes. With this level of creativity flowing, the future of What If is limitless.
Episode 1: What If…Nebula Joined the Nova Corps?
A Blade Runner style crime drama sees Nebula investigating a conspiracy on Xandar, one that cost a dear friend of hers his life. She enlists the help of Korg, Howard the Duck, and others to take down the person/people responsible for endangering the planet.
For fellow Nebula fans, it is nice to see our cyborg girl getting more screen time and showing off her amazing abilities and sharp intellect. Korg and the others provide some comic relief to her innate seriousness, but it's never overbearing. This makes me want a cop show with Nebula, Howard, and Korg with special guest appearances by other random MCU characters.
Episode 2: What If…Peter Quill Attacked Earth's Mightiest Heroes?
This episode was something hinted at in season 1 when Ego actually finds Peter as a child. Now we can sit back and see the devastation that would have occurred had Yondu delivered him like he was paid to do. Kurt Russell is back as Ego, thankfully, because he has the right gravitas for the role. I maintain he was underused in Guardians 2, so knowing just how powerful this guy is in the comics, it was nice to see him unleash some true chaos into the universe.
If What If wants to continue the trend of bringing back characters that deserved more (mostly the villains), I'm here for it.
Episode 3: What If…Happy Hogan Saved Christmas?
Die Hard fans, this one's for you. Also I think it settles the whole is Die Hard a Christmas movie debate. Just saying. Happy essentially alone in Avengers Tower, watching as Justin Hammer attempts to take control of all of Tony's tech. JARVIS is busy being defragmented so it is up to Happy and Darcy to save Nakatomi Plaza I mean, Avengers Tower. Luckily he gets an unwanted boost that will certainly sway the odds in his favor.
This one is just plain fun, as Happy, the head of security with the worst passcode in the world, now has to stop a villain from taking his boss' stuff. Sam Rockwell returns as Hammer, just as charming and slimy as ever. Oh and if you are looking for Die Hard references, they deliver without the increasingly bloody and torn white tank top.
Episode 4: What If…Iron Man Crashed into the Grandmaster?
The battle of New York from Avengers is infamous in the MCU. Tony delivered a special package to the Chitauri and everyone was saved. In this universe, Tony never made it back to Earth but rather flopped around in space until he crashed onto Sakaar, meeting the ruthless and quirky Grandmaster. To escape he will have to participate in a Mario Kart style death race and get Gamora to like him. Tall order.
Goldblum goes full Goldblum and it is absolutely delightful. This is one of my favorite episodes this season because of him. The racing is exciting and there are plenty of other familiar Sakaarian faces to spot. A new “fluffy” friend also makes a splash on the track plus this one has a mini post credit scene. Now to figure out how to get an episode or two with the Grandmaster and his brother, the Collector next season…
Episode 5: What If…Captain Carter Fought the Hydra Stomper?
Another more direct continuation from season 1, this episode is Captain America the Winter Soldier only with Peggy discovering Steve is still alive and working for Hydra. It follows the beats of The Winter Soldier with some slight twists. Black Widow serves as the Sam stand-in, encouraging Peggy to get out more and to use the internet. There is a surprise when a different version of a character we know appears. I never thought I would see this person like that, but that is all I will say so it doesn't spoil it for anyone.
Episode 6: What If…Kahhori Reshaped the World?
This one felt like a beautiful combination of anime, Marvel comics, and indigenous culture. The story is told almost 100% using the Mohawk language and is informed by the history of the Akwesasne region. Kahhori is a new character not only to the MCU but to Marvel as a whole. Her story begins when she discovers a hidden lake that has been imbued with power thanks to The Tesseract. She is transported to another world where cosmic powers are unlocked within her. She then uses those powers to save her people and bring peace to the world.
As much as we all love seeing characters we know, I was equally fascinated by Kahhori. She is written as a determined and powerful young woman long before she begins to glow with power. The animation of this episode is stunning, the blue hue of the power is bright, commanding the eye, while the power usage is also impressive as things float, fly, and dissolve. It reminds me of the incredible fight scenes in Avatar the Last Airbender and other elemental style anime. I hope we see her show up again, not just here but in the live action MCU as well.
Episode 7: What If…Hela Found the Ten Rings?
Remember how in Thor Ragnarok, everyone learned Thor had an older sister named Hela, who happened to also wield Mjolnir before he was even born? Well in this episode, Hela gets the Thor treatment, when Odin strips her of her powers (awesome crown included) and banishes her to Earth. Once she gets there she meets Wenwu (Shang-Chi's dad in another timeline) and the Ten Rings. She eventually ends up training in Ta-Lo which helps her gain some perspective on herself and her powers. This eventually leads to another confrontation with the All-father but he is not ready for this new Hela.
Shang-Chi meets Norse Mythology? This is the combo I didn't know I needed until now. Wenwu and his wife Jiang Li gave us one of the most talked about Phase 4 encounters to date. So, seeing them back in this capacity was a welcomed surprise. Hela herself has always deserved more screen time, I had once hoped she would be the MCU stand-in for Death, Thanos' comic book lady love, but it didn't happen. Praise Odin that not only is Hela getting the spotlight she was made for but Cate Blanchett is just as wickedly enticing as ever. This is another of my favorite episodes for all those reasons plus it boasts some killer visuals in the final battle.
Episode 8: What If… The Avengers Assembled in 1602?
Tom Hiddleston goes back to his stage days to open this episode, as Loki acts out Hamlet, reciting the famous lines “to be or not to be…” as a crowd watches. Aside from getting more Loki (which is never a bad thing), this Shakespearean-style episode also connects to the end of Peggy's episode this season. Scarlett Witch is the one who summoned her, thinking she could somehow stop the timeline from dying. However Thor doesn't trust her and wants her locked up. Determined to fulfill her mission, she teams up with some medieval Avengers to save the day.
Okay but the real reason to love this episode is the fact we get 1600s versions of our favorites and it is as hilarious and cheesy as it sounds. If you too bought William Shakespeare's Avengers by Ian Doescher like me, this is like that only better. Leaning all the way into the theatrics of it, the voice acting in this episode is amazing. They are all clearly enjoying the camp of it, whether they are acting as Robin Hood or snooty princes. It has some more serious moments as well, in case you are worried it's all Shakespeare in the park.
Maybe it's the literary nerd in me but this is one that immediately made it onto my favorite list. This also makes me want a Three Musketeers one shot with Steve, Bucky, Scott, and Tony.
Episode 9: What If… Strange Supreme Intervened?
Marvel Studios fanfare plays as the What If… animation fills the letters. Calling back to the final moments of Season 1, Strange Supreme has returned revealing to Peggy he has been going around collecting world-ending bad guys but one has escaped. He needs her help to capture the powerful woman– Kahhori. But something's not quite right.
There isn't a lot I can say without spoiling things here but this episode is WILD. Everything culminates here in one massive showdown with so many things to see I want to go back and pause it to study the frames. And when I say everything, I'm talking season 1 and season 2. The visuals, the scale, the powers… be prepared to geek out.
Simply put, Marvel's What If season 2 is a total blast! The stories are intriguing and clever with voice performances to match. Visually everything seems smoothed out and plussed from season 1, making it feel even more like a comic book come to life. Introducing a completely new hero was a total win for the overall plot and for the Marvel pantheon.
In the word of Thor–Another!
Marvel's What If…? Season 2 episode 1 is streaming now on Disney+. Each night a new episode will be released, like an advent calendar but for TV!