Two words, but enough to upset the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

A new series begins this week on Disney Plus, as an alien named Uatu (known as the Watcher) guides fans though alternate timelines that show what would happen if things were different.

It’s not a new idea, of course. Buffy fans can point to “The Wish” as a “what if” story that even had an unlikely sequel. Even It’s a Wonderful Life can be included.

To paraphrase the Watcher, whether the multiverses are connected to the events from Loki, it’s not for us to say. There’s been hints of such things before on SHIELD and Tom Holland’s second Spider-Man movie. This time, fans get a deeper experience of what could have happened, and how they can affect everything.

The first story is the most anticipated of all:  what if Peggy Carter was the first Super-Soldier instead of Steve Rogers? It will wind up in an almost familiar place.


The point here is that one decision can change everything. It starts in a scene from First Avenger, with Steve about to get into the chamber to become a super-soldier. The only difference is that Peggy is on the floor, not in a booth. That’s important.
When a HYDRA agent blows up the lab, Steve is shot. He can’t get in.
Of course, Peggy does, and she becomes….taller.

A fussy colonel named Flynn (Bradley Whitford) doesn’t like the idea (apparently unaware of her military skills and right cross). It doesn’t take long for Peg to prove him wrong. It’s great to see her really enjoy her new powers, as anyone would. She’s careful not to let them go her head, but seeing her slugging a heavy bag is something to see.

As for Steve, he gets into the game thanks to the HYDRA Stomper, powered by a mysterious cube called the Tesseract. In short, this is a Variant version of the First Avenger, but still entertaining. It even hints that Steve and Peggy are made for each other, in any ‘verse.

By the way, the guy on the left is Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). His fate winds up to be quite different here.
What’s also interesting that Armin Zola (Toby Jones) doesn’t work with the Red Skull because the Allies grab him early.

Speaking of the Skull, he wants the Tesseract to summon a very nasty alien to help HYDRA, not the Third Reich. Peggy and her crew try to find him at a train, but it turns out to be a rolling bomb. It looks like Steve, the Tesseract and his suit are gone.

The climax happens at HYDRA headquarters, where the Red Skull summons the biggest space-octopus ever. It’s so big no one, including the Skull, can stop it. Steve and his Stomper Suit give it a try. Again, he and Peggy fight together, showing they are more meant-to-be than FitzSimmons. She shoves the octopus off the Earth…and herself with it. All that’s left is a sad Steve Rogers and the Tesseract.

Cut to someone using the Tesseract, opening a portal where Peggy gets through along with assorted pieces of space calamari. She’s met by….Nick Fury and Clint Barton? She’s told it’s been nearly 70 years since the war was won (just like in First Avenger).  She’s relieved, but sad. She’ll never get that dance with Steve…unless she gets a chance to replace Infinity Stones someday.

Again, as the Watcher says in the comics, whether this is better or worse, it’s not for him to say because he can’t interfere (although he did many times, but that’s another issue). It creates a new universe where Peggy leads something called the Avengers Initiative, and a TV show called Agent Rogers runs on TV for two years. Fans can expect to see this version of Peggy for some time, as this will connect with future stories. However, what happened to Bucky and Steve, and how will they fit into the multiverse?

As far as the voices are concerned, hearing Hayley Atwell as Peggy is a welcome treat, but fans want all of her to come back. Hearing Sebastian Stan and Dominic Cooper voice their movie roles was great, too. Josh Keaton as Steve worked pretty well, even if they couldn’t get Chris Evans.
One more thing: Howard Stark talked about how he spent a few days with Hedy Lamarr, but made it clear it wasn’t all “sexy times”. It’s good that the show hinted Howard appreciated women who had skills.

Next week, what if a kid from Missouri wasn’t kidnapped by aliens…but a kid from Wakanda was? That will also connect with the rest of the season, too.

What If airs new episodes every Wednesday on Disney Plus.

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