Disney Plus premiered the third episode of Marvel’s What If…? today, revealing another alternate timeline where the story took an unexpected turn. And this week’s episode was definitely the bleakest universe the Watcher has revealed so far. This one imagined a world where the Avengers never came together, as they were all assassinated across a single week by a mysterious killer with a vendetta against Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
Yup, four out of five of the original founding members of the team were murdered, as it turns out, by a vengeful Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who blames Fury for the death of his daughter. His actions ended up leaving this world unprotected against an Asgardian invasion led by Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Considering the first two episodes were fun animated adventures, fans were not expecting things to take such a devastating turn in episode 3, so Marvel Twitter is pretty shaken up today.
While it was shocking to see Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) killed, there was something depressingly familiar about the deaths of Tony Stark and Black Widow (voiced in this ep by Mick Wingert and Lake Bell, respectively). Some aren’t too pleased at Marvel for tricking us into experiencing these beloved characters’ demises all over again.
Why is it so hard to keep Natasha alive?
Why you gotta be so mean, Marvel?
What if we had one timeline where Natasha doesn’t die, huh?
Episode 3 is clearly the darkest timeline we’ve seen yet in What If…?, though it did end with a renewed sense of hope. Fury uncovered Steve Rogers in the ice in the final scene, before being visited by Carol Danvers, having returned to Earth at his call. The implication is that both Captains—Marvel and America—will team up and defeat Loki together. That actually sounds like it would make for an epic episode itself.
Marvel’s What If…? continues next week on Disney Plus.