Marvel’s What If…? is finally here, but fans noticed the first episode contradicted the rules of time travel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In the first episode of What If…?, Captain Carter is sent through time after using the Tesseract to teleport away from Red Skull’s fortress to save the world from Shuma-Gorath, an interdimensional monster. Captain Carter ended up 70 years in the future, which contradicts the rules of time travel previously established in the MCU.
As reported by ScreenRant, the Tesseract does not send individuals to different points in time, just different locations, as the Space Stone powers it. The Time Stone controls time, meaning the latest episode contradicts previously established lore—or changes the rules of time travel altogether.
Confused? Understandably so. This is not the first time the rules of time travel have been messy in the MCU. Avengers: Endgame established that individuals cannot change their future by traveling to the past and required the team to travel through the Quantum Realm to another point in the timeline. But Captain America traveled back in time to the main timeline at the end of the movie without the Pym Particles, and the creative team has not revealed how this was possible.
There are other cases of time travel getting messy in the MCU, showing how tough it is to keep a confusing concept consistent throughout the universe. The latest retcon in What If…? slightly undermines the time travel in Endgame, but chalking it up to a mistake might be the best option for now.
Expect more changes to the MCU’s understanding of time, space, and the multiverse as What If…? continues to air on Disney Plus.