What If…? is currently expanding the MCU multiverse, with Jeffrey Wright’s Watcher introducing us to another vast, new reality each week. Marvel clearly planned the release of their original TV shows well as the animated anthology series works as the perfect follow-up to Loki, with its own multiversal, timeline-changing storyline. However, episode 4 of the ongoing show appeared to conflict with the Tom Hiddleston vehicle in a major way.
Episode 4 saw a variant of Doctor Strange become obsessed with reversing the death of his girlfriend Christine. The Ancient One warned him, however, that her fate was “an Absolute Point” in the timeline, a moment upon which events hinged, so it could not be altered. In other words, it was a Nexus Point, to use the terminology established in Loki. So why didn’t What If…? namecheck the term that had already been created in its predecessor?
Showrunner A.C. Bradley has revealed the reason why that explains everything: Loki wasn’t even written when this episode was in the works. While speaking on The GOAT Movie Podcast, Bradley revealed that episode 4 was penned way back in February 2019 and the animation was finished before the scripts for Loki were complete. Therefore there couldn’t be any collaboration between the two writing teams to make sure everything lined up.
“When you’re writing animation, you’re writing so far into the future that you can’t think four years down the line,” Bradley said. “That Doctor Strange episode, I wrote in February of 2019. I think I should’ve called it a Nexus Point instead of an Absolute Point. The Loki scripts weren’t even written yet, so that animatic locked before Loki even finished their scripts because you’re always writing about two years ahead of animation. It’s kind of intense and insane.”
To be fair, Marvel fans have had to deal with far stickier continuity errors than this in the MCU. There are various explanations that could fit why The Ancient One calls it an Absolute Point instead of a Nexus event. For one, this is a different timeline we’re talking about. Also, an Absolute Point could be the term preferred by mystics while the Time Variance Authority like to go with Nexus Point.
What If…? continues Wednesdays on Disney Plus. A second season of Loki, meanwhile, is on its way.