The latest episode of What If…? took a break from tragedy, and instead took a light-hearted detour, showing the world what an only-child Thor would look like. The answer? He parties… a lot.
There weren’t any world-ending threats, just Thor partaking in reckless tomfoolery and getting pummeled by Captain Marvel. It was certainly an interesting premise to choose, but the writers had fun with it nevertheless.
While most of the story was carefree, things quickly did a 180 when an army of Ultron bots started marching out of an inter-dimensional portal in the closing seconds of the episode; which is never a good sign. But what exactly is Ultron, who has all six Infinity Stones, doing?
The Ultron Equation
As seen in the final moments of this week's episode, this version of James Spader’s murder bot has finished his stone collection—yet he is clearly going about this a little differently.
Ultron’s arrival isn’t all too surprising. Many have already seen footage in the marketing for What If…? that shows these new characters teaming up and in the same place—the classic Avengers circle, but with these new multiverse heroes, comes to mind.
There was even a car commercial that showcased plenty of footage of the group fighting an onslaught of Ultron bots with even The Watcher joining in.
The Ultron that fans know from Avengers: Age of Ultron never had conquest in mind, something which is the first assumption based on how this particular rogue AI entered the room. So, it’s probably not that.
In his debut film, Ultron’s goal was basically a hard reset. He wanted to take all of Sokovia, lift it as high as he could, and then drop it onto Earth, thus creating an extinction-level event; reset complete. That Ultron, however, didn’t know about the multiverse.
The one fans are set to meet in the coming weeks clearly has that knowledge, and then some. But with all six Infinity Stones, why not do exactly what Thanos threatened to do in Avengers: Endgame? Maybe there’s a limit to the stones' power over the multiverse as a whole? It’s hard to tell, and nearly impossible to speculate more concrete details about it.
Interestingly enough though, Ultron’s body/armor has basically become his version of the Infinity Gauntlet. All stones have a spot within this new piece of hardware, and it would seem he is able to harness their abilities with ease. This indicates that the stones work perfectly fine in every universe Ultron visits. In the comics, this simply wouldn’t be possible.
In the Marvel Universe comic canon, Infinity Stones only work in the universe in which they were created. So what Ultron seems to be doing isn’t something that could happen in that world. In the MCU, however, it would seem the stones are not bound to the specific timeline they originate from.
With all six stones in his possession, how can anyone hope to stop Ultron?
The Watcher Solution
What If...? has made it very clear that The Watcher is not allowed to intervene in each universe's events—he even let an entire reality die under the weight of Dr. Strange’s mistakes, or at least that’s what it looked like.
For anyone that knows the comics, while The Watcher speaks these grand words, there always comes the moment where he steps in. For this show, it would seem that a multiverse invading Ultron is just the right situation to call for his involvement.
When Ultron stepped out of his portal, The Watcher was clearly surprised. This all-knowing cosmic being did not see him coming, which is quite a scary prospect. He is likely about to learn just how big of a threat that murder bot is about to become.
So what will he do about it? Well, he’s been watching some people that are good in a fight, all of whom would be quite handy when trying to save all existence.
Will The Watcher be the one responsible for pulling together a team to fight Ultron? Or would that occur without his help?
Multiversal Agent Carter
Last viewers saw Agent Carter, she had jumped out of a portal decades after entering it in WWII. On the other side were Nick Fury and Clint Barton––two who clearly had some understanding of how to navigate the multiverse where Carter was stuck.
With Carter being the first one The Watcher showed the audience, she is likely going to get the call to action before the others.
There are lots of rumors pointing to the character showing up in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, something that could indicate that the character has more experience and knowledge of how it all works than anyone else fans have followed in the series thus far.
The Watcher may reveal himself to her, or he could simply pull the strings to push Agent Carter into recruiting across the multiverse.
Multiverse-Lord T'Challa, and... Thanos?
It’s not hard to picture T’Challa joining the fight. After all, he’s basically a perfect person––he also somehow talked Thanos out of being… well… Thanos.
Speaking of, how great would it be to see Star-Lord bring his entire crew with him. Particularly, seeing that Thanos fight Ultron with all the stones; that would be awesome.
In general, it would be weird not to address the fact that Ultron has the stones Thanos has been hunting his entire life, so hopefully, the topic is brought up in some respect.
While there’s no sign of Thanos being a part of the Guardians of the Multiverse, T’Challa is, and he will be going up against waves of Ultron bots to save all existence.
Maybe he can try smooth-talking Ultron. If it worked on Thanos, maybe a rogue killer robot could be receptive.
Doctor Strange Supreme Saved?
Seeing Doctor Strange Supreme as part of the group is a little confusing. The end of his episode ended in tragedy, and seemingly the destruction of his entire universe. So, how is he fighting this souped-up Ultron?
It would be strange for the show to pull a Strange with a similar journey from a timeline that hadn’t collapsed, so it’s safe to assume that the Strange seen is the exact same one from the fourth episode.
But how did he make it out of his collapsing universe? Did the Watcher end up saving his life in the nick of time, so that Ultron could be stopped?
The power this particular Stephan Strange was tapping into and controlling, is something that would come in handy against a threat such as Infinity Ultron. Not to mention the good Doctor is itching for a chance at redemption, having seen his mistakes far too late.
The man has the weight of an entirely collapsed universe on his shoulders, so his journey going forward could make for one of the more interesting dynamics of the group.
Many people had a fun time seeing a Quantum zombie virus spread across the MCU. Seeing interactions between the oddly assorted group of heroes was the highlight for sure. However, is that the last time fans will see them?
The answer is… probably? Nobody from that episode has been seen in the glimpses of the finale which are out there. That’s not to say they won’t, but again, that episode didn’t end with a particular key hero, like Agent Carter or T’Challa Star-Lord.
It’s hard to imagine The Watcher wanting to go back to the timeline; it seems pretty doomed. Though, that zombie Scarlet Witch looks like she could wreck Ultron’s henchman supply––shame she comes with a world-ending virus.
Killmonger the Murderer, and... Hero?
Killmonger, from the sixth installment of What If…?, has been spotted in the same scenes with everyone else. This indicates that the new team of Avengers/Guardians of the Multiverse will have a villainous, backstabbing traitor amongst their ranks.
Personally, the idea of having Killmonger be one of the Guardians of the Multiverse is troublesome. At that point, the show is putting the guy who killed countless people, including Tony Stark and T’Challa, on a pedestal.
Hopefully, the writers were aware enough of this, and it becomes a plot point in its own right. Making Killmonger out to be a hero after everything he did does leave a bad taste in the mouth.
With how short the episodes tend to be, it wouldn’t be surprising if these conflicts get no attention at all. Murderer or not, if he can help stop a multiversal threat like Ultron, then that’s help The Watcher could use.
Odinson and The Most Dangerous Woman in the Galaxy
There’s not much to speculate on when it comes to how Thor becomes involved, seeing as he’s right there when Ultron arrives. Out of all the characters, the Thor which everyone witnessed in the latest episode of the show is the closest to the version that audiences know from the MCU prime.
It’s hard to know if Thor will play an important part in Ultron’s invasion. There isn’t really any motivation for him besides smashing his enemies, which, to be fair, is pretty much all that The Watcher needs right now.
Then there’s Gamora the Mad Titan, who is seen in the same shots featuring these many new heroes ready to face off against Ultron. Not much is known about her episode, besides the fact that it could revolve around Gamora hunting down Tony Stark, who has gotten lost in space and ended up on Sakaar.
Does this Gamora have any similarities to Thanos when it comes to motivations? It would be interesting to see a Gamora who has been hunting the Infinity Stones end up face-to-face with Ultron, one who has achieved that very goal.
The Black Widow
One aspect of the big finale with Ultron is the sole surviving member of the Avengers that went up against him originally: Natasha Romanoff. Granted this is based on rumors, but the timeline where Ultron wins is one in which Black Widow is stuck navigating alone.
How will she play into everything? Could she somehow be responsible for bringing some of the multiverse heroes together? The character can be seen in several promotional posters and is sporting Red Guardian’s shield at one point.
If Ultron originates from the same place as this badass Black Widow, why is he now all of a sudden in Thor’s timeline? Is the big confrontation going to happen in Ultron’s original timeline, or somewhere else?
With a show like What If…?, it’s nearly impossible to guess what may happen. That’s the best part of the show––they have endless options and can do literally anything they want.
Hopefully, in this case, fans are treated to an incredibly fun and epic final showdown with Ultron.
The Multiverse of Ultron
Ultron walking in on Thor is the first indication of any overarching story happening throughout the show. Most of the installments have felt like one-offs, and generally, quality aside, feel meaningless to the bigger picture.
Seeing a threat like this, Ultron appearing, knowing that it will lead to a bigger team-up, injects a sense of importance to the show which it hadn’t had up until this point. The seeds for his arrival probably should have been planted a little earlier in the show, but better late than never,
With just two episodes of What If…? left, fans are in for a wild ride. Everyone thought Thanos was bad news, but it seems that Ultron may be a few notches above the Mad Titan.