What If Made a Quantum Leap Into the Darkest Timeline

Although Marvels heroes rarely die on screen (or remain dead for very long), in live-action productions at the studios, this is not the case with Disney+'s animated series What If. The show has shown many timelines from the MCUs multiverse, where some Avengers have died in terrible ways. As the first season progresses, characters mortalities become a larger part of What If and the series is becoming more interesting.

This week's What If... is similar to other episodes of What If? Zombies? The MCU movies are heavily referenced in!, but this episode takes a horror-themed turn.

The fifth episode begins with a glimpse of Avengers: Infinity War. Mark Ruffalo's Hulk crashes to Earth via the Bifrost and crashes into Doctor Stranges Sanctum Sanctorum, New York City. This universes Bruce arrives in a dazed panic after he received his ass from Thanos in space. Instead of being welcomed by the gray-templed sorcerer, this Banner discovers Stranges brownstone and the rest Manhattan seem empty for some strange reason. He wanders about in search of people and his spirits are temporarily lifted when the Bifrost arrives to deliver another person to Earth. Bruce discovers that Ebony Maw, and Cull Obsidian are new arrivals, which he presumably sent to end his life.

What If? condenses elements from Avengers: Endgame and Infinity War into a single What If... Zombies? The title of this song is Zombies! The portals appear much earlier and instead of providing backup, a trio of zombified Avengers emerge from the circular holes in space. They immediately begin to devour half the Black Order. Banner would have been defeated if not for Cloak Of Levitation's help. Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Iron Man and Wong all proceed to eat him. The Hulk continues to refuse to resurface. The zombies are able to eat Banners gamma-irradiated flesh. However, a swarm ants descends upon them and completely eat their flesh.

Banner could be forgiven for getting confused by Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lililly), who suddenly returned to full-size wearing her Wasp costume, alongside a human-sized insect large enough to eat a decapitated head of a zombie. Hank Pym's inability to understand how Janet contracted the zombie virus accidentally while exploring the quantum realm is also something one could forgive. It is difficult to understand the What If... Zombies? The idea that this section of the MCU became a zombie apocalypse is what! suggests.

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Although apocalypses are often depressing, What Ifs Peter Parker (Hudson Haynes), is an optimist who managed to make a video that explains how to survive in times of zombified plague. Bruce is able to view other survivors such as Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), Ant Mans Kurt (David Dastmalchian aka Polka Dot Man), Bucky Barnes, Sebastian Stan, and Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp). Okoye (Danai Gurra) reminds him it's not the time or the place for lightheartedness. Within a matter of weeks, the zombies had managed to overthrow society and infect most of the world's population. Only a handful of survivors escaped from Peters castle of webbed-up train cars high above New York City.


The only thing that this episode shares with Marvel Comics' Marvel Zombies comics franchise is the appearance of undead heroes. This will likely be a problem for comics fans. Important Marvel Zombies characters such as the Fantastic Four or the X-Men, which should already be obvious, are not present in this episode. This is because they have yet to be canonically incorporated in the MCU following Disneys acquisition of Foxs film rights. Instead, what if... Zombies? The creature concept is used somewhat successfully by! to create another desperate, almost hopeless environment in which all odds are against a small band of heroes who want to restore the world to its former glory.

As in Avengers: Endgame the survivors' desperate need to make things right is what keeps them going. However, it is hard to imagine how they could actually pull this off. The logical solution would be to ask for help from aliens on another world, but that idea never got off the ground, possibly because it was assumed that Thanos' approach is keeping the rest of the galaxy busy. However, it seems like a good idea for everyone to follow the beacon from New Jersey, where Okoye believes there may be uninfected others. Everyone's best chance of making it to Jersey as non-flying heroes is beelining to Grand Central Station and hotwiring a train car. Peters is the only one who appears to have taken the time to see some zombie movies before the world went into hell. This means that no one else seems to realize how vulnerable they are to attack.


Moments after everyone has split up to catch their train, infected Hawkeye and Falcon attacks them. The battle ends with Happy being turned by Okoye and Falcon being killed. Falcon's death does not phase Bucky. It feels more like What If reminding everyone, despite what The Falcon or the Winter Soldier may have said to you, that they have never seen it for each other. Bucky's encounter with Captain America, a zombie, says the same thing about his feelings for Sharon. Steve turns Sharon around just seconds before Bucky arrives. Although there are not many words exchanged during this fight, the most memorable (and inadvertently hilarious) scene is the one where Bucky casually pushes Sharon aside and dispatches Steve before taking his shield.


After Hope is swallowed by the zombie Sharon, What If turns back to grimness. Hope wants to grow to normal size to pop the zombie from the inside. Hope's plan works but her suit and skin are torn. Everyone knows what the cut in Hopes arm will mean after all theyve endured. Hope, even though she was on her way to a possible cure for her infection and is now unable to save her friends, decides to give her life to help her fellow passengers to safety when her train runs out of fuel. Hopes was able to carry her companions in her arms and grow large enough to finish the last leg of the journey.


The strange thing about the zombie horde the heroes face after Hope drops them off, is that none of them rush the uninfected even though the fence keeping them apart has fallen. Vision (Paul Bettany), who is a visionary, doesn't think to ask anyone what's up with these ghouls standing around when he invites them to the compound where they have been working. Except for a few yelps and a few grunts, everyone seems to enjoy learning how Vision (Paul Rudd), cured Scott Lang (Scott Lang) from his infection through a series experiments that left Scott a talking head in an jar.

If anyone had had the time and ability to catch WandaVision's last episode, they might have seen What Ifs final twist, or had the foresight to ask Wanda if she was still at the base. Vision's explanation of the Mind Stones energy tests that he ran to kill the disease and the fact that SHIELD base looks like Baron Von Struckers lab in Age of Ultron points to an undiscovered danger that the Avengers don't know about until it is too late. Bruce and Peter are having a good time chatting with Vision. Bucky discovers TChalla in the room where the remaining survivors are kept. He tells Bucky the truth about Visions plan to keep them feeding a zombified Scarlet Witch.


Bucky and TChalla arrive to confront Vision about Vision's deeds. Wanda, who hadnt eaten in days, breaks out of her cage in a burst of chaos magic and begins to try to satisfy her hunger. As Wanda starts to tear through the people, Vision admits that he was wrong and he snatches the Mind Stone from his forehead. This further emphasizes the similarities between this reality and the Sacred Timelines. One of the few touching moments in the episode is when zombie Wanda shows how she retains her sentience. He depicts her falling to the floor in grief, then going into a rage after realizing that Visions wrongdoings. Vision then takes the Mind Stone from his forehead, allowing Scott, TChalla and Peter to escape in the Quinjet. They have the Mind Stone in their hands and a plan for Wakanda. They don't know that Thanos is already there, with five Infinity Stones in his gauntlet. This means that they have little chance of survival.


Although the Death from Marvels comics is yet to make an appearance in What If?, the chapter's real star is death as a concept. It makes the episodes more interesting and allows for fresh plot twists that are not as expected. What Ifs has four more episodes, and it is still able to make its stories work, despite the episodes being short. It remains to be seen if the series can maintain its momentum as it builds towards its final episode.

Disney+ airs What If Wednesdays.

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