What If …? is an American anthology animated television series produced by Marvel Studios and broadcast on Disney + since 2021. The series itself is part of Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
It is based on a comic book of the same name published by Marvel Comics. As its name suggests (“What if …?”), the show presents us with alternative versions of the history of the main characters of the MCU, showing us what could’ve happened if things happened differently.
In this article, we are going to rank the episodes as they come out, bringing you the best episodes of the show in order. It wasn’t an easy task, believe us, as all episodes were really great and we hope we’ll help you find your way around the show.
Best What If…? episodes
1. “What If… Ultron Won?”
Air Date: September 29, 2021
Starring: Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Toby Jones (Arnim Zola), Ross Marquand (Ultron)
Ultron, having taken Vision’s Mind Stone and vibranium body, has defeated the Avengers and launched a global nuclear holocaust. Thanos appears on Earth to complete the Infinity Gauntlet, but Ultron instantly kills him and takes his five Infinity Stones, thus gaining control of all six.
He uses them to create a massive army of drones and eradicate all life throughout the universe, leaving Carol Danvers, Clint Barton, and Natasha Romanoff as the only survivors. Danvers fights Ultron, but he also kills her.
Barton and Romanoff find a copy of Arnim Zola’s consciousness and try to upload it to Ultron’s mind to destroy him. Barton sacrifices himself to allow Romanoff and Zola, now in the body of an Ultron drone, to escape.
The charge fails because Ultron’s main body is no longer in his universe: Ultron has realized the existence of the multiverse and attacks the Watcher. They fight through the multiverse until Ultron gains the upper hand. The Watcher flees and reluctantly asks Strange Supreme for help.
2. “What If… Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?”
Air Date: September 1, 2021
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer), Benedict Wong (Wong), Tilda Swinton (Ancient One)
After losing his girlfriend, Dr. Christine Palmer, in a car accident, Dr. Stephen Strange travels to Kamar-Taj and learns of the Mystic Arts. He discovers the Eye of Agamotto, which can manipulate time, but the Ancient One and Wong warn him that doing so could destroy reality.
Two years later, Strange tries to use the Eye to save Palmer, but he always dies in all settings. The Ancient One tells Strange that Palmer’s death is an “absolute point” on the timeline that cannot be undone, but Strange refuses to listen.
Using the power of the Dark Dimension, the Ancient One divides Strange into two alternate versions: one where Strange accepts Palmer’s death while in the other he discovers how to gain power by absorbing mystical beings, becoming Doctor Strange Supreme. This evil version defeats the good Strange, absorbs him, and uses his power to resurrect Palmer, shattering reality.
Supreme Strange asks the Watcher for help, but he refuses to intervene. Palmer disintegrates and the universe collapses, leaving Supreme Strange crying in his loneliness.
3. “What If… the Watcher Broke His Oath?”
Air Date: October 6, 2021
Starring: Jeffrey Wright (Uatu, the Watcher), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Hayley Atwell (Captain Carter), Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa), Michael B. Jordan (Killmonger), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Benedict Cumberbatch (Stephen Strange), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Kurt Russell (Ego), Toby Jones (Arnim Zola)
The Watcher seeks out and recruits Captain Carter, Star-Lord T’Challa, Party Thor, Killmonger, and a variant of Gamora who killed Thanos from their respective universes, and along with Strange Supreme, establishes a team nicknamed the Guardians of the Multiverse to fight Ultron.
After the Watcher sent the team to an uninhabited world so they can prepare for battle, Thor accidentally draws Ultron’s attention to them. A battle ensues before T’Challa is able to steal Ultron’s Soul Stone, and the team escapes as a herd of zombies, including the zombified Wanda Maximoff, falls on Ultron to stop him.
Upon reaching Ultron’s home universe, they attempt to use the Soul Stone to power Gamora’s Infinity Crusher, but are interrupted by that universe’s Natasha Romanoff. Ultron finds them again, and an intense battle for the Soul Stone ensues, until Romanoff and Carter are able to shoot Ultron with the arrow containing Arnim Zola’s AI.
Zola eliminates Ultron from the inside, while Killmonger betrays the team and attempts to take the gems for himself. Zola, now in control of Ultron’s body, battles Killmonger for control of the Gems, until they are both frozen in a pocket dimension by Strange Supreme and the Watcher.
Strange Supreme returns to his collapsed universe to protect Zola and Killmonger for eternity. The Watcher then returns each Guardian to his own universe, with the exception of Romanoff, whom he brings to the universe where the original Black Widow was killed so that she can help restore peace to that Earth.
In a mid-credits scene, Carter discovers the Hydra Stomper armor, with someone inside.
4. “What If… Zombies?!”
Air Date: September 8, 2021
Starring: Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner / Hulk), Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa), Paul Bettany (Vision), Sebastian Stan (James « Bucky » Barnes), Evangeline Lilly (Hope Van Dyne / Wasp), Paul Rudd (Scott Lang / Ant-Man), Jon Favreau (Happy), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter)
While searching for Janet van Dyne in the Quantum Realm, Hank Pym discovers that she has been infected with a virus that has turned her into a zombie. She infects Hank before they both return to her lab, spreading the virus across the United States.
Weeks later, a group of survivors consisting of Bruce Banner, Hope van Dyne, Peter Parker, Bucky Barnes, Okoye, Sharon Carter, Happy Hogan, and Kurt, they learn of the existence of a camp of survivors with advances in the cure.
They are attacked by zombies on the way and lose both Happy and Sharon. Hope also becomes infected and sacrifices herself, allowing the group to reach the camp. There, they discover that Vision has been luring survivors to the camp, including a beheaded Scott Lang and a one-legged T’Challa, offering them to an infected Wanda Maximoff.
Wanda breaks free and attracts a huge horde of zombies to the camp. Bucky, Kurt, and Okoye are killed, while Vision is killed by delivering the Mind Stone to Parker, revealing that his power can cure the zombie virus.
Bruce transforms into the Hulk and fights Wanda, allowing the others to escape. Peter, Scott, and T’Challa head to Wakanda to transmit Mind Stone energy across the planet, while Wakanda is besieged by another horde led by a zombified Thanos.
5. “What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?”
Air Date: August 18, 2021
Starring: Chadwick Boseman (Star-Lord / T’Challa), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Michael Rooker (Yondu Udonta), Benicio del Toro (Taneleer Tivan / The Collector), Josh Brolin (Thanos), Seth Green (Howard the Duck), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Kurt Russell (Ego)
In 1988, the Ravagers are sent to Earth by the Celestial Ego to retrieve their son Peter Quill, but they mistakenly kidnap a young T’Challa from Wakanda. Twenty years later, T’Challa has become the famous intergalactic mercenary “Star-Lord”, and the Devastating leader Yondu Udonta has convinced him that Wakanda was destroyed.
Nebula approaches the Ravagers and proposes to steal the Fathoms of Genesis, a cosmic artifact capable of eradicating galactic hunger, from the galactic maniac Taneleer Tivan. At Tivan’s headquarters in Knowhere, he is offered the Power Stone as a distraction.
At the same time, T’Challa searches the Fathoms, but finds a spaceship from Wakanda that was looking for him. Nebula apparently betrays the Ravagers, who are captured, but this is another ruse to obtain the Fathoms. Tivan’s slave Carina rescues T’Challa and helps the Ravagers defeat Tivan.
T’Challa forgives Udonta for lying about Wakanda, and they return there so T’Challa can rejoin his family. Elsewhere, Ego approaches Quill, a Dairy Queen janitor.
6. “What If… the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?”
Air Date: August 25, 2021
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton / Hawkeye), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner / Hulk), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulson), Frank Grillo (Brock Rumlow), Michael Douglas (Dr. Henry « Hank » Pym / Yellow Jacket)
Over the course of a week, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury attempts to recruit heroes for the Avengers Initiative, but each one of them mysteriously dies.
Natasha Romanoff injects Tony Stark with an unexpectedly fatal injection, Clint Barton accidentally shoots and kills Thor before dying at the S.H.I.E.L.D. base, Bruce Banner / Hulk explodes, and Romanoff is attacked and killed while investigating the other murders; Before she dies, Romanoff tells Fury that the murders are related to “Hope”.
The Asgardians, led by Loki, arrive on Earth to avenge Thor; Fury proposes an alliance to apprehend the killer. Fury deduces that Hank Pym is the killer and has been using his reduction technology to commit the murders as revenge for the death of his daughter, Hope Van Dyne, who died while fulfilling her duty as a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent.
Fury and Loki defeat Pym, who is taken into Asgardian custody. Loki chooses to stay on Earth, becoming his ruler. Fury begins gathering more heroes, finds Steve Rogers frozen in ice, and summons Carol Danvers to Earth.
7. “What If… Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?”
Air Date: September 15, 2021
Starring: Michael B. Jordan (Killmonger), Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan), Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa), Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda), Dani Gurira (Okoye), Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaue), Don Cheadle (Rhodey), Paul Bettany (J.A.R.V.I.S.), Mick Wingert (Tony Stark)
In Afghanistan, Tony Stark’s convoy is ambushed by the Ten Rings, but Erik “Killmonger” Stevens saves him.
Upon returning to Stark Industries with Tony, Killmonger exposes Obadiah Stane’s involvement in the ambush plan, and together, he and Stark build a humanoid drone using Killmonger’s vibranium. Needing more vibranium to create an army of drones, they arrange for James Rhodes to buy it from Ulysses Klaue.
At Killmonger’s urging, Klaue leaks the news of the transaction to Wakanda to lure T’Challa into the exchange. Killmonger kills T’Challa and Rhodes, making it appear that they have killed each other.
Tony confronts Killmonger using the drone, but Killmonger defeats him and kills Stark, disguising him as an attack by the Wakandians. Killmonger kills Klaue and reunites with his estranged family in Wakanda.
The Americans, led by Thaddeus Ross, send Stark Industries’ drone army to attack Wakanda in retaliation for the murders of Rhodes and Stark; Killmonger leads the successful defense of Wakanda.
After the battle, Killmonger ingests the grass in the shape of a heart, becoming the new Black Panther. As the United States prepares to eradicate Wakanda, T’Challa’s sister Shuri informs Pepper Potts of Killmonger’s deceptions and proposes to expose the truth.
8. “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?”
Air Date: August 11, 2021
Starring: Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter / Captain Carter), Josh Keaton (Steve Rogers), Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark), Sebastian Stan (James « Bucky » Barnes), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton / Hawkeye), Stanley Tucci (Dr. Abraham Erskine), Toby Jones (Arnim Zola)
During World War II, Steve Rogers is chosen to become the world’s first super-soldier, but is wounded by a Hydra spy before he can receive the super-soldier serum. SSR agent Peggy Carter kills the spy and volunteers to receive the serum herself.
She is successfully upgraded but banned from combat by the SSR leader, John Flynn. After she takes the Hydra Tesseract with a vibranium shield created by inventor Howard Stark, Flynn reluctantly promotes her to the combat role of “Captain Carter”.
Stark uses the Tesseract to create an armored suit for Rogers to pilot as the “Hydra Stomper”. Carter and Rogers fight many battles until he disappears while attacking a Hydra train. Carter and her allies encounter Rogers when they infiltrate a Hydra base and see Red Skull using the Tesseract to open a portal and summon an interdimensional creature, who kills him.
Carter enters through the closing portal to force the creature back. Almost 70 years later, the Tesseract opens another portal from which Carter emerges and meets Nick Fury and Clint Barton.
9. “What If… Thor Were an Only Child?”
Air Date: September 22, 2021
Starring: Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Natalie Portman (Jane Foster), Kat Dennings (Darcy Lewis), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Jeff Goldblum (Grandmaster), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Clark Gregg (Phil Coulson), Taika Waititi (Korg), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Jaimie Alexander (Lady Sif), Seth Green (Howard the Duck)
After the war between Asgard and the Frost Giants, Odin discovers an abandoned Baby Frost Giant and returns the child to his father, Laufey. Years later, Odin’s son Thor grows up to be a boisterous prince, preferring to spend his party time than studying.
When Odin falls into a dream and Frigga goes to a solstice, Thor, along with Sif and the Warriors Three, travel to Earth to organize a gigantic party, inviting aliens from all over the galaxy.
Thor’s arrival on Earth attracts the attention of Jane Foster and Darcy Lewis, who track him down to Las Vegas and end up joining the party. The next day, Foster is contacted by S.H.I.E.L.D., who wishes to eliminate Thor as his shenanigans have caused vandalism around the world.
Maria Hill calls Carol Danvers to Earth, who then engages in battle with Thor, but is ultimately defeated. Hill suggests that Danvers lure Thor to an open area in Siberia where he can fully wield his powers.
Foster, who is opposed to Hill’s plan, manages to contact Heimdall, who teleports her to Frigga, allowing him to explain her situation to him. As Danvers and Thor prepare to fight once more, Frigga intervenes and announces his imminent arrival, forcing a scared Thor to clean up the mess from him.
Afterward, Thor asks Foster to go out on a date. He then encounters an army of Ultron drones coming from a portal, led by Ultron himself, who has taken control of Vision’s body and acquired all of the Infinity Stones.