What If…?: What’s hidden in plain sight in episode 8

Ultron in Marvel Studios' WHAT IF...? exclusively on Disney+. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Ultron in Marvel Studios' WHAT IF...? exclusively on Disney+. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /
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The Watcher (voiced by Jeffrey Wright) in Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF…? exclusively on Disney+. © Marvel Studios 2020. All Rights Reserved. /

Other worlds, alien and otherwise

As this episode revolves around Ultron acquiring all the Infinity Stones, it’s also the first episode of What If…? to venture all across the universe and other one’s besides. In less than five minutes, for example, we see Ultron and his robot army invade Asgard, the Sovereign from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Sakaar from Thor: Ragnarok, Ego the Living Planet (although, technically he should already be dead as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is set one year before Avengers: Age of Ultron) and Xandar.

When it comes the universes beyond the one from this particular timeline, the places we see during the Watcher and Ultron’s fight are some doozies. The first one is a world in which Steve Rogers (voiced by Josh Keaton) becomes President of the United States. This is directly lifted from What If…? #26 under the title “What If… Captain America Were Elected President?” Just to be sure no Democrats or Republicans could feel slighted, Steve ran as a third party candidate. He also solved the world’s energy problems and climate change with a new form of solar energy. Unfortunately, since What If…? can’t have happy endings, Steve Rogers died when defeating the Red Skull from destroying Washington D.C.

Another Earth appears to be one that’s still stuck in the middle ages based on the architecture. This may be an allusion to Marvel 1602, the limited series by Neil Gaiman which re-imagines the Marvel Universe set in the Elizabethan-era and early Colonial America. There’s another Earth in which it seems Wakanda, not Europe, settled the New World, and another in where Skrulls are the dominate species. That last one may be a nod towards Secret Invasion, wherein the Skrulls taking over Earth was their ultimate goal for religious reasons.

Is the Watcher really that powerful?

The short answer is yes. Even though Uatu isn’t a god, he certainly has the powers of one, which are limited only by the writer’s imagination. In various appearances over the years, the Watcher has shown abilities ranging from teleporting millions of light years across space to time travel to changing his size. He’s gone toe-to-toe with the world devouring Galactus and was one of the only beings who survived when Thanos used the Infinity Gauntlet in the comics.

So seeing him defend himself against an Ultron who possesses all six Infinity Stones and holding his own wouldn’t be unheard of. Though considering how we see Ultron capable of eating entire galaxies, it’s no wonder the Watcher would be forced to turn towards Strange Supreme (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help. And we certainly won’t have too long a wait to see just how well the Watcher and whomever else he recruits to save the multiverse.

Next. What If…?: 5 burning questions fans need answered from episode 8. dark

Any other clues, Easter Eggs, or curiosities we missed from What If…? episode 8? Let us know what they are below in the comments section.