The Avengers have gone through many evolutions of team line-ups over the years, and the Multiverse has opened the doors to exploring even more variations, including one led by Hayley Atwell's Captain Carter in What If...? Season 2.
What If Debuts New '80s Avengers Team
What If...? Season 2, Episode 2 saw a new team of Avengers assemble in 1988 as a young Peter Quill attacked Earth with his Celestial powers from Ego.
In this universe, instead of keeping ahold of Quill after taking him from Missouri, Yondu fulfilled his contract to deliver him back to Ego, thus leading to his villainous direction and eventual attack on Earth.
This iteration of Earth's Mightiest Heroes was assembled by Howard Stark and Peggy Carter, with Chris Hemsworth's Thor and Sebastian Stan's Winter Soldier being the only retained members from the familiar line-up.
Here are the five new heroes who joined the Avengers for the first time in the latest episode of What If...? on Disney+:
Black Panther (King T'Chaka)
While Wakanda usually keeps itself away from international threats, the Black Panther came to help in this What If...? episode due to the global danger posed by Peter Quill and Ego's attack on Earth.
The older T'Chaka was played in live-action in the MCU by John Kani and the younger by Atandwa Kani, who reprises the role on this Avengers roster.
Mar-Vell (Wendy Lawson)
Some will remember Mar-Vell from Captain Marvel as, under the alias of Wendy Lawson, the Kree scientist joined the U.S. Air Force and Project PEGASUS to research the Tesseract.
While Annette Bening brought Mar-Vell to life in Captain Marvel, the role was recast for her What If...? voice, as Keri Tombazian took over the character.
Ant-Man (Hank Pym)
Hank Pym may be the Ant-Man most famously associated with the Avengers in Marvel Comics, having been a founding member of the team in their first-ever appearance, but he never got the chance to join the roster in the MCU.
In the MCU, Michael Douglas' Pym was far older, retired, and more of a mentor to Paul Rudd's Scott Lang. But as the Avengers assembled years earlier in this universe, Douglas' shrinking hero got his time to shine in What If...?
The episode brings Pym back into action following the disappearance of his wife, Janet Van Dyne, aka the Wasp, while his daughter Hope was still a child.
Goliath (Bill Foster)
In Ant-Man and the Wasp, fans only heard stories of the past of Lawrence Fishburne's Bill Foster in the '80s, but those tales are better explored in What If...? as he makes his on-screen heroic debut as Goliath.
By this time, Foster had already had a past of working with Hank Pym, and since then he had made some upgrades to his suit to the point he could grow even taller than buildings throughout the fight.
By this point Foster, if things flow similarly to Earth-616, should have already met Ava Starr, who would go on to become Ant-Man 2 villain Ghost.
Peter Quill (Star-Lord)
Despite starting as the villain that assembled Earth's Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers were eventually able to turn Peter Quill against his father and convince him to help destroy the seeds Ego had planted to terraform the planet in his image.
Quill seems to have some insane Celestial powers, but with the team now off into the galaxy to destroy Ego's planet, it's unclear how long those will remain intact.
Will What If's '80s Avengers Return?
As these Avengers formed so many years earlier, one has to wonder what that means for the future and which heroes will join them along the way.
For one, with Hank Pym back out of retirement, it's easy to see his daughter Hope donning her wings far sooner to become the Wasp. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier also introduced Isaiah Bradley as a new Captain America who had been around in the '70s and '80s, perhaps he could join the roster.
The ending ought to leave many intrigued about the fate of the Winter Soldier as, on some level, the real Bucky had seemingly begun to break back through. Perhaps he will eventually manage to regain control altogether and rejoin his fellow Avengers for more missions in the years to come.
In terms of whether these Avengers will ever return, one can only hope this will be one of the few lucky What If...? episodes to receive a sequel. The episode left off with the threat of Ego not quite unresolved, but any possible follow-up would likely switch focus to a fresh story with an expanded roster to go along with it.
The first two episodes of What If...? Season 2 are streaming now on Disney+ with new episodes set to release daily until December 30.