MCU Writer Explains That Confusing Tony Stark Cameo in Marvel’s What If Finale

By Russ Milheim Updated:
Tony Stark, What If Finale

Marvel Studios has finally taken the plunge and started exploring animation. Not only that, but it's all within the MCU.

Obviously, their first project has been What If...?, a show which dives head-first into those alternate timelines made possible by Sylvie's murder in Loki's closing moments. Really, fans can thank her for the existence of Captain Carter.

The show just had its finale, and with it came quite the surprise.

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As The Watcher is going around collecting people for his Guardians of the Multiverse, he drops by a universe that was not seen throughout the previous eight episodes. 

Here, fans can see Tony Stark's Iron Man in a new suit of armor, alongside Gamora, who is donning her father's armor.

So what's that all about?

What If...?'s Confusing Cameo Explained

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Speaking with VarietyWhat If...?'s head writer A.C. Bradley commented on that confusing cameo of Gamora and Tony Stark in the show's finale, which just aired.

According to Bradley, fans will see them again. The reason that there wasn't an episode to explain their story was because of "the COVID pandemic," which hit "one of [Marvel's] animation houses... incredibly hard:"

"... due to the COVID pandemic, one of our animation houses was hit incredibly hard, and the episode needed to be pushed into Season 2, because it would not be finished in time. Given everything that we’ve all went through over the past two years, pushing an episode of television is absolutely nothing in comparison. And we understood." 

Bradley hopes for this episode's eventual arrival in Season 2 and shared confidently that "fans [will] enjoy the ride," while teasing that she thinks "everyone's going to be surprised by the way Gamora gets that armor:"

"We hope fans enjoy the ride next year... I think everyone’s going to be surprised by the way Gamora gets that armor, and how her relationship with Tony evolves, because they’re obviously good friends in that bit that we see. So, it will be a fun universe to see, hopefully, next year... It is a promise of more stories to come."

In a separate interview with Entertainment WeeklyWhat If...?'s director Bryan Andrew's confirmed that the unseen episode was intended "to be the fourth episode," and that "[he] was [just] seeing some shots [from it] the other day:"

"It's a great episode; it's funny. It was supposed to be the fourth episode so Strange would have been fifth and everything else would move back in that order it was. But it's an exciting Tony adventure with Gamora and then we would go into Doctor Strange and get a little bit darker. But it's coming — I was seeing some shots on it just the other day so it's coming. It will be there for our second season."

Tony Stark's Interesting Friendship With Gamora

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There are certainly plenty of questions that arise when, without context, viewers see Gamora in Thanos' armor alongside Tony Stark in a massive suit of armor built from Sakaar scraps.

The unspoken thing that fans likely noticed first is that it seems Thanos is probably dead––given the armor situation. So why then, are they forging The Infinity Gaunlet? fans likely noticed first is that it seems Thanos is probably dead––given the armor situation. So why then, are they forging The Infinity Gaunlet?

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Seeing as the Gaunlet still matches the armor set, maybe Gamora is looking to harness the power of the Infinity Stones. However, instead of how her father would handle things, she could be looking to protect the galaxy with them––at least, hopefully it would be something heroic, seeing as The Watcher selected her for his team. Though he did pick up Killmonger, so it seems that anyone is fair game.

But how did she and Tony Stark meet? Let alone become friends? They seem pretty close, and they are both there together forging this weapon of immense power. Could Stark have been involved with Thanos' downfall?

Iron Man, Gamora, MCU, Marvel, What If

He certainly knows about the Infinity Stones, as he mentions them by name. He still has protecting the world on his mind, given he even gives a speech very similar to that of the one he spoke in Avengers: Age of Ultron:

"These Infinity Stones... Look, I'm out of the weapons business, not my cake, but how do we put a suit of armor around the world? Around the galaxy? You can't tell me there's another big-bad lurking in the shadows, a monster under the bed."

Fans won't be getting any answers until the show's second season, one which has no release window besides a hopeful 2022 debut. Hopefully the episode will still turn out to be a fun ride, despite fans already having witnessed the payoff for the character––well, at least for Gamora.

What If...? is now streaming on Disney+.

- In This Article: What If...? (Season 2)
Release Date
December 22, 2023
Jeffrey Wright
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.