Disney+'s 'What If...?' Season 1 Ending Explained: Universe Jumping

When The Watcher gets caught and tries his best not to intervene, bad things happen. The story of 'What If...?' follows a group of superheros who come together to fight a multiversal threat.

Cover Image Source: Disney+ Hoststar

The Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t generally dabble in animation, however, with the What If…? series on Disney+, it has opened up the multiverse to a lot of different stories that we may not have seen in the MCU. The story that originally seemed extremely fragmented came together in the end as one of the biggest showdowns from Phase 4 currently. 

The first episode following Captain Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) showed audiences what would happen if Peggy took the super serum, Steve Rogers is of course still in the mix but he only joins the team as the prototype Iron Man that Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) created. Since he figured out how to harness the energy from the Tesseract, it was easy to make a suit that would help fight against the Nazis, instead, Herr Schmidt (Ross Marquand) did open a portal using the Tesseract and got sent to Vormir (potentially) meanwhile Peggy Carter is sent to Earth in the future. 

In the second episode, we see T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) being the Starlord traveling across the galaxy making unexpected friends (like Thanos) and being the overall charming guy saving his world, he is reunited with his family on Earth while Ego comes to take care of Peter Quill. The third episode we see Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) take on a darker turn by killing all the Avengers apart from Natasha Romanoff (Lake Bell). To avenge Thor, Loki comes to Earth and defeats Hank Pym taking him into Asgardian custody. He then takes over Earth which prompts Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to assemble other heroes and call on Carol Danvers.


The fourth episode is pivotal, we see Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) grappling with his identity and the added understanding of happiness when it comes to Christine (Rachel McAdams). To be together with her, he causes an entire universe to collapse. The breaking of an Absolute Point causes it enough for Strange to notice an entity watching him. Uatu, The Watcher, (Jeffrey Wright) has been observing all our heroes till now and Strange is one of them. In the fifth episode, we see the world taken over by Zombies, the Avengers have split, some becoming zombies while others fight to stay alive. The episode ends with Wanda Maximoff facing off against a Zombie Thanos (Josh Brolin)

The sixth episode shows us Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) saving Tony Stark (Mike Wingert) (of course it is for his own agenda) that involves getting plans for the tesseract and building a weapon that would neutralize all his enemies. In the end, the Americans and especially Thaddeus Ross figure out his plan and finds him in Wakanda. Pepper Potts and Shuri were already suspicious so they decided to work together to expose Killmonger. Taking a break from all the seriousness, we see Thor as an only child becoming what he was going to become without Loki to torment him, a dude-bro. Arriving at Earth to party gloriously (without Frigga’s consent), Thor and his patrons use the Bifrost to invite beings all across the Yggdrasil for this rager. Unfortunately, Nick Fury gets a wind of this and decides to end it by calling Captain Marvel. She ends up helping Thor with the clean-up and almost saves him from damage before they see a mysterious Vision walk in Ultron’s body with all six infinity stones.

The eighth episode provides an explanation for this, we see Ultron win (because of Vision) and take up this body, while the Earth goes to waste we see Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) find a way to defeat him but it proves difficult, he has all the stones, Barton sacrifices himself and Zola is used as a weapon to destroy Ultron, but because he has a hive mind and has already left the universe, it was rendered impossible. We finally see Ultron facing off Uatu, as he finds out that there is someone narrating these stories without consequences. Taking over one universe is just the beginning, what if he could take over all of them?


The ninth and final episode prevents exactly that from happening, The Watcher takes help from Doctor Strange and brings together the heroes we had seen earlier in a dramatic showdown. However, after multiple attempts, including having Zola infiltrate Ultron’s mind only for him to take over or Killmonger betraying the Guardians of the Multiverse, the ending is really interesting when Doctor Strange traps Eric Killmonger and Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) in a pocket dimension.

The next season should probably feature more adventures of Zola and Strange. While Strange may have had much of an arc here, it seemed like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was a direct continuation of his episode in What If…? And now with Captain Carter becoming canon both ways in the MCU, the post-credit scene has much potential to be something bigger in the MCU within the animated series and even out of it. 


All episodes of What If…? are currently streaming on Disney+.