While Marvel Studios is officially back in action with releases again, its next piece of Disney+ programming is one of the more unique entries in the franchise's 13-year history. This comes thanks to the MCU's first effort into animated storytelling with What If...?, a retrospective look back at the MCU's Infinity Saga with some major twists in the story.
The debut episode of What If...? centered around Hayley Atwell's SHIELD Agent Peggy Carter as she took Steve Rogers' place in Project Rebirth to become the superhero Captain Carter.
Retelling the adventures of Captain America: The First Avenger with Peggy as the lead, Marvel had the opportunity for some fun nods to the original story throughout the half-hour installment. This largely came through things like joking about the USO Tour that Steve had to endure and Peggy almost ripping Bucky Barnes' arm off and teasing his Winter Soldier days.
Additionally, a deeper look into a piece of text from the episode gives a hilarious reminder of what fans have already experienced in the core Infinity Saga story.
"THE UNIVERSE LIES WITHIN YOUR GRASP"
Reddit user u/kenneth_on_reddit spotted a tongue-in-cheek nod to Thanos in the premiere episode Marvel Studios' What If...?.
Among Italian placeholder text about Earth and its geography in the book that Captain Carter reads about the Teseract, the last line before the image of the Infinity Stone vessel roughly translates to, "Don't let the angry purple boy touch this."
As most MCU fans know, the purple Mad Titan Thanos got hold of the Tesseract at the start of Avengers: Infinity War as part of his quest to gain possession of the six Infinity Stones. The Tesseract was the first Stone he took on screen after defeating the Hulk and forcing Loki to hand the powerful object over to him in the movie's first scene.
A THANOS JOKE FOR EAGLE-EYED FANS
Even with the opportunity for Marvel Studios to use stories and characters from 23 previous movies, this is quite the hilarious nod to the Tesseract's journey through the Infinity Saga.
Playing a key role in both Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers, the Space Stone was notably one of Thanos' prized targets as the Mad Titan searched the galaxy for all six Infinity Stones. With a fan having found the translation that came in Episode 1 of What If...?, it brought an inevitable round of laughs by warning readers that the object was not to fall into the hands of the big purple guy.
With plenty of opportunities to include Easter eggs through the course of What If...?, Marvel was clearly on its game right from the start by paying tribute to one of the story's most notable subplots. Fans will be on the lookout for more nods like this, particularly ones that could relate to the Infinity Stones, with more classic characters finding their way into this alternate universe.
Episode 1 of What If...? is now available to stream on Disney+.