Do not read if you haven’t seen Season 1, Episode 9 of “What If…?” currently streaming on Disney+.
If there were any question of how deep Marvel Studios was willing to dive into its multiverse, then consider the breathless Season 1 finale of the company’s first animated series, What If…? In Wednesday’s episode, the all-seeing Watcher (voiced by Jeffrey Wright) breaks his oath of non-interference to recruit alternative versions of beloved characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to become the Guardians of the Multiverse in order to stop an alternative version of Ultron (Ross Marquand), who controls all of the infinity stones from wiping out all sentient life in all possible universes for all time!
What If…? has been a fascinating experiment for Marvel Studios, allowing the show — led by head writer A.C. Bradley and director Bryan Andrews — to explore corners of the nascent MCU multiverse that the live-action feature films and Disney+ TV series could never go. Season 1 has showcased fizzy adventures, like in Episode 2 where the late Chadwick Boseman voices a version of T’Challa who becomes Star Lord instead of Black Panther.
The show also leaned into real darkness, like the grim tragedy of Episode 4, in which Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) loses himself into the dark arts in a futile quest to keep his beloved Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) from dying.
And just about every episode has ended on a cliffhanger, like Loki (Tom Hiddleston) taking over the Earth after Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) kills all the Avengers in Episode 3, or Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) covertly conquering Wakanda, only to have Pepper Potts (Beth Hoyt) and Shuri (Ozioma Akagha) vow to take him down in Episode 6.
With so many storytelling possibilities, it’s perhaps not surprising to learn that Marvel Studios was developing a spinoff series for at least one What If…? character.
“There was planning to have Star Lord T’Challa spin off into his own show,” Andrews tells Variety. “We were all very excited. We know [Chadwick] would have loved it, too.”
And by the time What If…? Season 2 comes out in 2022, we’ll possibly have a whole slew of new heroes to get into the mix. Maybe Simu Liu comes in as Shang-Chi, or Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight? Maybe some of the Eternals, or Black Knight? Hell, maybe by that point we start hearing from some mutants or members of the Fantastic Four? Who’s to say?