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How Marvel's 'What If' TV Series Might Answer The Questions Of 'Avengers Endgame'

Welcome to our new series Comic Connections where resident comics fanboy Jeremy dives into the nexus where comics, animation and movies meet! This week, with Avengers Endgame smashing records and the animated Marvel's What If.. announced for Disney+ we wonder if the new series could explore the fallout from the events of the movie.  WARNINGCONTAINS SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS ENDGAME.

All the different Spider-men from the multiverse way before Spider-verse
The first animated show to be announced for Disney's upcoming streaming service Disney+ is Marvel's What If series. Basically, (in the comics) it's a series where Marvel writers had an idea for how key events in Marvel history could have turned out differently. For example, What If Flash Thompson Became Spider-Man? Or What If Spider-Man became a member of the Fantastic Four? I think a lot of What If comics are Spider-Man based.

Funny thing though, in a large variety of What If comics a lot of the status quo remained the same as if Marvel was saying that a lot of stuff in the Marvel Universe is destiny and even if things had gone in a different direction ultimately though, our protagonists would eventually find themselves in the roles of the main timeline dubbed by Alan Moore 616.

He came up with that number because 616 in some early translation of the Catholic manuscripts is the actual number of the devil rather than 666.

Every reality has its only particular universe number by the way. If you look closely at one scene in Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse, the panel shows where all the different Earths/reality/dimensions each of the Spider-people came from.

E-1610 is the Earth that is home to Miles Morales. I believe Gwen's reality is E-65 which seems to be the closest

Now the Marvel Cinematic Universe is no different. It's designated as Earth-199999. (who's job it is to name these Earths? I want that job) It's already been announced that the What If series will explore events in the MCU specifically.

Now, if you saw Avengers Endgame,  you'll know that the way time travel works is that any change you make you essentially make a different Earth reality. What if (no pun intended) the new show used this to wrap up possible plotholes caused in Endgame or just to introduce characters they couldn't due to legal reasons?

For example Captain American and the Invaders (Submariner and Human Torch)

Namor, Captain America and the Original Human Torch (Not Johnny Storm)
2 out of the 3 characters of Invaders were mainly owned by Fox because Namor and Human Torch are known as Fantastic Four characters. Johnny Storm named himself after a WWII hero in his universe so even though this Human Torch has nothing to do with the Fantastic Four due to the powerset and the name it'll probably be too confusing for most people and Namor by default for his years of trying to bone Sue Richards is probably also seen as a Fantastic Four character.

Oddly enough why they can't use said characters in movies (prior to the Fox deal)?. Animated illustrations must fall under a different category. So that's one example. Another Example would be What if Wolverine and Captain America worked together during WWII?

And I want you to notice a theme here. A lot of these What if stories are Captain America based. Because what happens at the end of Endgame? Captain America goes back in time and marries his longtime sweetheart: Peggy Carter! Creating one of the biggest plotholes of the movie.

Now I want to make it clear. I loved that scene when I first watched it. Even the second and third time I watched it but it creates ... problems?

Q1) How is he in the same timeline?

A1) He wasn't ... he warped to that bench from the timeline he created -- Russo Brothers via Twitter

Now, you might be thinking well okay that's solved but in actuality that creates problems of its own when you stop to think about it.

For one ... there are now TWO Captain Americas in that reality!

Does Steve tell Peggy and the government that he's still alive? If they find him and revive him how does newly awaken Captain America take to knowing the love of his life is married to his future self? Does that mean Peggy Carter has two husbands? They both are Steve Rogers after all.

Does he leave his past self in the ice ... which is another moral quandary!

And also speaking of moral quandaries ... Captain America knows about all future atrocities that will happen in the world. Well maybe all is a little too much but it's safe to say he knows about stuff like September 11, 2001. 

Does he find Osama bin Laden as a baby and kill him?  For him it wouldn't be hypothetical. He knows that Osama bin Laden will grow up to be a monster and if you say no to killing him as a baby when do you take him out?

I believe a story that wrapped up these unexplained elements is a story worth telling.

And that's not all.

Another big unexplained element is Loki steals the Tesseract. Now this will likely be explained in his own show but they can also answer it here as ...

What if Loki had won in the first Avengers movie!?

Wasn't it his job to steal the Tesseract? Yes, it's revealed he was supposed to give it to Thanos but Loki isn't the trustworthy sort. Then there are things like Present Day Thor stealing the hammer from his 2013 counterpart on the day that his mother dies.

What if Captain America was present for Thor the Dark World?

And does he have to return the stone back into Jane Foster or does he just have to give it back to the Asgardians? 2013 Thor's mother just had a talk with her son and now here comes Present Day Captain America ... do those two talk? Does she make Cap stay for a while long enough to change events so she doesn't die?

And one year into the past, Thanos leaves for 2024?? and Dies??! and he takes Gamora with him. Do the Guardians of the Galaxy not happened in that reality?

What if Peter Quill never meets Gamora?

Does Ronan win in that reality? Do the members of the Nova Corps all die? Including their families?

Seems to me that Endgame by bringing time travel into the mix actually leaves more questions than answers.

And would all this have happened if Peter had never been dusted?

What if Peter Parker had lived in Avengers Infinity War?

The only reason Tony agreed to help at all was because of survivors guilt over losing Peter Parker. People bring up the fact that since it had been five years makes bringing back all the people that were dusted a logistical nightmare.

Like, say what if you got remarried or you adopted a kid whose parents were dusted what happens?

Which are all very good questions but none of that even mattered to the Avengers because they couldn't move on with their failure!

So in this reality, The Avengers lose. Thanos snaps his fingers and 50 % of the world's population gets dusted; but Peter Parker doesn't get dusted. Tony in this new reality has absolutely no reason to invent Time Travel, in fact, he has a reason to stop Hulk and Cap from even trying to time travel in the first place.

Because while it's not said, losing Peter is the only strong motivation he has for doing this Time Travel adventure in the first place.

But one thing is for sure ... they don't have to take themselves too seriously, they can do whatever they want no matter how goofy.

And I for one welcome the more goofier aspects if they decide to do it.

After all, my favorite parody, What If story of all is...

It's a What If story where Superman lands in Great Britain instead of America. It's a parody of Red Sun where Superman lands in Russia instead of America.

Okay, so it's a DC rather then a Marvel but What If stories aren't unique to Marvel. Even Ben 10 did a What if Story called "Gwen 10" where Gwen gets the Omnitrix

What If stories are just fun episodic stories and with Spider-Verse introducing them to a mainstream audience and now Marvel is finally making a show dedicated to What If's like Fox did with Sliders back in the day. A whole new generation can have fun with the idea of parallel realities. And with the new Spider-Man Far From Home trailer suggesting the multi-verse is coming to the MCU, and Lord and Miller developing a suite of Spider-Verse shows for Sony TV... it looks like What If could only just be the beginning!