As the first season of What If...? begins to wrap up on Disney+, it seems as though a multiversal crossover has all but arrived. At the end of the seventh episode titled "What If... Thor Were an Only Child?," all seemed well as viewers watched a half-hour-long party thrown on Earth by the God of Thunder.
The episode seemed to be taking a more comedic and light-hearted approach rather than showcasing a world-ending threat such as a zombie outbreak. However, the cheers and fun of the party only lasted so long before a new and improved Ultron made his presence known in the final moments, wielding the Infinity Stones with an armada of Ultron Bots at his back.
With an unstoppable force as powerful as Ultron and the Infinity Stones coming into play, it leads one to wonder whether a multiversal-level team-up is needed to stop him. The seemingly disconnected stories being told week after week in What If...? appear to be finally ready to coincide, and the show's head writer has even given reasonable insight into what can be expected.
A.C. Bradley on What If...?'s Final Episodes
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, What If...?'s head writer A.C. Bradley sat down and talked about the culmination of the Disney+ show's first season.
Bradley revealed that the upcoming eighth episode, "What If... Ultron Won?," will showcase the return of some familiar faces that have been introduced throughout the first season. The Watcher, voiced by Jeffrey Wright, has been a prominent character in many of the episodes, and Bradley also teased that even he will "learn a few important lessons" himself:
"As we battle toward the finale, we will see some of our heroes again. And the Watcher learns a few important lessons about what it means to be a hero and comes to a realization about how much these stories, how much these worlds mean to him."
Some fans may have noticed that the Watcher has become more and more involved as the series goes along. Director Bryan Andrews confirmed that the series "was designed to be a certain way," and that everything "is coming to an arrow's tip point:"
"It was designed to be a certain way, and some people have been vibing and savvy enough to notice that we're slowly seeing more and more of the Watcher's visual appearance as we move forward. And that was all orchestrated from the very beginning. It's all now coming to an arrow's tip point."
Staying on the topic of one of Marvel's more mysterious characters, Bradley made an interesting comparison between the Watcher and the audience, talking about him becoming more real as the episodes progress. She alluded to his character being similar to the MCU's fanbase in that viewers "start(ed) off very distant," but as time has gone on, it has almost become a tradition of life for many people that has extended beyond "just entertainment:"
"He starts off very distant and literally watching from afar, but for so many of us, Marvel movies have become more than just entertainment. Marvel movies have become more and more of a cultural touchstone and a bigger part of our lexicon, so the notion that, for the Watcher, as he peruses these multiverses, as he lives through these heroes, as he suffers their triumphs and their tragedies, he becomes also more emotionally invested, and therefore becomes more and more part of their world and wants to be more part of their world even though he knows he's not supposed to."
The Watcher is sworn under oath to only do what he is named after - watch. He is not to interfere under any circumstances, but Bradley also teased that his oath will be a "major source of tension" in the coming weeks:
"Going into the finale, a major source of tension is: Will the Watcher ever break his oath? Or will he remain who he is? Will he stay the Watcher, only observing the triumphs and tragedies? Will there ever be a story that forces his hand?"
Another tidbit of information that Bradley discussed in her interview was if the upcoming eighth episode "is its own episode," or if it ties into the season finale in any way:
"[Episode 8] is its own episode, [but] it does flow in to 9. You can watch 8 as a standalone, but 9 is — for once we actually answer the end tag."
She then ended by playfully joking about her struggles in trying to please the Twitter community, but then revealed yet another detail about the Watcher with a title idea that suggests he may be breaking the oath that was previously mentioned:
"What If the What If…? Writers Stopped Trying to Piss Off Twitter? It's more just: What If the Watcher Met His Heroes?"
A War on All Fronts
A.C. Bradley revealed a hefty amount of information about What If...?'s final two episodes. The seventh episode about Thor's lively party on Earth was fun, but the excitement of seeing Ultron decked out in Infinity Stones was most definitely the highlight, and it has the potential to create a buzz that would really elevate the show.
When the series was first announced, it was marketed heavily as the MCU's first animated Disney+ series. The studio wanted to ensure fans knew these would be standalone stories told in a near fan fiction form, alluding to it being an anthology-like show that held no true importance to the canon of the universe.
However, with all that has happened so far and with a multiverse well on the way thanks to Loki, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the stakes and the possibilities for these "fan-fiction" characters are endless.
It will be extremely interesting to see what happens when Ultron wreaks havoc on Earth's Mightiest Heroes, but it will be even more intriguing to see these new characters that fans have been introduced to fighting side-by-side for the first time.
"What If... Ultron Won?" premieres on September 29, 2021 exclusively on Disney+.