What If… ? is billed as an excuse for Marvel to tell stories it normally wouldn’t be able to in the MCU, and this one was a doozy. Over half an hour, we saw multiple split timelines, a bestiary of cosmic beasties, reality falling apart and, to cap it all off, the end of the universe. All this came courtesy of Doctor Strange, driven mad with grief after Christine Palmer’s death.
This is apparently a fixed and unchangeable moment in time that cannot be altered without dire consequences. Despite repeated warnings, alt-Strange harnesses sinister powers in order to break this rule, becoming corrupted into a winged demon, and dooming this reality.
What was interesting was that Strange never turned outright evil, instead being broken by grief and ending the episode trapped inside what appeared to be the Power Stone (fun implications!). Reactions have begun flooding in and, as you’d expect, they’re fairly gloomy.
One thing we didn’t see was Spider-Man wearing the Cape of Levitation, which had been teased in preview images. Even so, we’re just four episodes deep into the first season, so there are many more opportunities for things to continue in this weird, depressing and very cool manner.
Fans are also predicting that it won’t be too long before this demonic version of Strange escapes his purple prison. The ‘Prime’ MCU Sorcerer Supreme is about to embark on a cosmic trip in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness next year, so we might see him exploring this dark timeline.
It’s also reassuring that the second season of What If… ? has already been greenlit, as so far, this has been my highlight of the Disney Plus slate.
More on that as we hear it, but What If… ? will continue to air on Disney Plus each Wednesday for the next five weeks.