The finale episode of What If…?, an animated series that explores alternate timelines in MCU, was not just another self-contained story like most other episodes, but a suitable conclusion.
In the episode, the Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) entered the fray himself to battle Ultron, the all-powerful one who has multiverse-conquering ambitions. To accomplish this purpose, the Watcher recruited an eclectic group of MCU heroes and characters to form the Guardians of the Multiverse.
Here is everything we need to talk about the episode:
Guardians of the Multiverse
Forget Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Multiverse protects not just earth, not just one universe, but the entire multiverse. Formed by Watcher, who interfered (thus the episode name What If… the Watcher Broke His Oath?) to choose characters to bring down Ultron, and he called the group Guardians of the Multiverse. The members of the team were alternate versions of major MCU characters. For instance, Doctor Strange Supreme was the version of Doctor Strange we saw in the fourth episode, the more villainous one who destroyed his entire universe to save the woman he loved, Dr. Christine Palmer.
Similarly, other members of Guardians of the Multiverse were T’Challa as Star-Lord (as opposed to Peter Quill), Captain Carter (Peggy Carter’s Super Soldier), alternate version of Gamora who did not grow under Thanos, Wakandan king Killmonger who betrayed Tony Stark, and Black Widow from an earth in which she is the last human alive and possessor of a weapon that can destroy Ultron (an arrow loaded with a computer virus), and finally Thor himself as Party Thor.
Guardians of the Multiverse vs Ultron
While Ultron was possessed with Vision’s nigh-indestructible body, each member of Guardians of the Multiverse was carefully chosen for their specific set of skills. First, Ultron was lured to a specific universe, and not Watcher’s observatory that is beyond space and time, as he would not have been vulnerable otherwise.
In the end, they were successful. Black Widow, protected by Doctor Strange, shot the arrow into Ultron’s eye, wreaking havoc with his systems.
Disposing of the Infinity Stones
Defeating Ultron was not enough, the Watcher had to get rid of the Infinity Stones as well. And he did by pitting Killmonger against Zola. As they fought over the stones, Watcher locked them in a pocket dimension, where they, if they wish to, can fight forever. The dimension will be overseen by Doctor Strange.
Guardians of the Multiverse is disbanded until next time
It is clear that Guardians of the Multiverse will be called upon the next time there is similar trouble. As even as they were disbanded, they were allowed to retain memories of what they had done, and they were aware of the multiverse’s existence.
Remember Steve Rogers’ ending in Avengers: Endgame in which he was reunited with the love of his life, Peggy Carter, for that promised dance? The same thing sadly did not happen in What If… the Watcher Broke His Oath?. Peggy did not get her happily ever after. The Watcher said she was needed to defeat somebody who has occupied the Hydra Stomper. It was not revealed who was inside the suit, but it may be Steve Rogers, who is perhaps this universe’s Winter Soldier.