The ultimate threat of What If…?’s first episode might be a big problem if the rumors about its other appearances in the MCU are true.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for What If…? Season 1, Episode 1, « What If… Captain Carter Were The First Avenger, » streaming now on Disney+.
What If..? promises to introduce a host of worlds and realities where things played out differently than in the main Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline. But while many of these stories will likely remain self-contained, others are potentially going to have ramifications across the entire multiverse. As such, the massive and monstrous creature that appears at the end of « What If… Captain Carter Were The First Avenger? » might actually tease a greater threat to the entire multiverse — something soon coming to the core-MCU.
The divergence of Peggy Carter receiving the Super Soldier Serum instead of Steve Rogers ended up having a major effect on the long-running battle with Hydra. In the core-MCU, Steve Rogers was kept off the line of duty for a time, participating in U.S.O. shows and not immediately taking to the battlefield. Captain Carter is a far more aggressive soldier, though, quickly throwing herself into the conflict despite the doubts of Colonel Flynn. After discovering the Tesseract and Zola are being moved through France, Stark recruits Carter to ambush the transport. As a result, the Allies acquire the Tesseract and capture Arnim Zola, leaving Red Skull in a more desperate place.
Without the Tessaract-fueled weaponry at his disposal, Red Skull spends his time trying to raise a mysterious and powerful force from another dimension. Relocating to Castle de Kraken in the heart of the German Black Forest after recovering the Tesseract from the captured Steve Rogers, Red Skull goes about the process of drawing the creature to Earth in the hopes of conquering it (or at the very least destroying it). Discovering this information through interrogating Zola, Carter leads a squad to the castle — even finding and releasing Rogers and his HYDRA-Stomper Armor. But they arrive too late to stop the process from being completed, leading Red Skull to create a massive rift in reality.
Large green tentacles soon slink through the portal and wreak havoc on the lab, crushing Red Skull and letting out a screech that seems to almost mentally break the Howling Commandos. Ultimately, Captain Carter must use all of her might to push the creature back through the portal, in turn taking her through space and time to land in front of the Nick Fury and Hawkeye of her reality. The dimensional rift takes on a whole new meaning considering the kinds of threats Doctor Strange and Loki established exist within the ether of the Marvel multiverse. Whatever force tried to rip open the rift to Earth was a clearly powerful and deadly force — and one capable of thought.
Realizing that Stark was trying to find a way to shut down the gate and stop it from reaching the world, the creature grabs the edges of the portal and keeps them open, implying a degree of problem-solving. This indicates the creature, whatever it is, is smart enough to figure out how to stay in the world and clearly wants into the world, making it a major threat. There are a handful of possibilities of what this creature could be, even possibly just being some unknown, unspeakable cosmic horror.
But it could also tie into one of the rumored multiversal threats that are set to appear in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. Both Shuma-Gorath and Gargantos 2 would fit the villainous role in that film. They look similar to the creature’s tentacles. Both of them are intergalactic threats in their own right, having been reported to appear in the upcoming Sam Raimi-directed film. If the creature that appeared in What If…? is indeed one of those creatures, then it would also give a level of credence to the rumor that Captain Carter could appear in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, given her experience with the creature and ability to help explain what it is.
Created by A.C. Bradley, the first episode of What If…? is now available on Disney+, with new episodes debuting on Wednesdays.
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