What If…?: What’s hidden in plain sight in episode 9

The Watcher in Marvel Studios' WHAT IF...? exclusively on Disney+. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
The Watcher in Marvel Studios' WHAT IF...? exclusively on Disney+. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /
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Captain Carter in Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF…? exclusively on Disney+. © Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

The return of Steve Rogers?

“What If… The Watcher Broke His Vow?” and the first season of What If…? ends with the series’ one and only mid-credits stinger. Rather than recovering data for Project: Insight as in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it appears that the ship Captain Carter and S.H.I.E.L.D. rescued contained the Hydra Stomper armor. What’s more, Peggy is told that “there’s someone inside it.” Naturally, Peggy and the audience assumes it’s Steve Rogers.

But remember, this is a world where both Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier not only has Peggy taking the place of Steve, but that events unfold almost the same way that they did in both films. Consider also how, in Captain Carter’s world, Bucky Barnes was never captured by Hydra… but Steve Rogers was. And yes, while he’s still alive in “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?”, it’s clear that Hydra was doing some kind of experiment on him while in captivity?

Seeing that Hyrda will still have likely infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. in this universe as they did in the main MCU timeline, it’s also very likely this world had their own version of The Winter Soldier. What if that Winter Soldier was… Steve Rogers using his Hydra Stomper armor? That would certainly be an interesting spin on things in this version of the MCU. It’d would also be a nod towards the very controversial Secret Empire storyline in which Steve Rogers is revealed to be a secret Hydra double agent.

This is assuming, of course, that the second season of What If…? will revisit the Captain Carter universe again like they did in this episode. They could just as easily leave this as a tease and let the viewers fill in the details with their imagination. There’s also been some speculation that Hayley Atwell could appear as a live-action version of Captain Carter in a future Marvel Studios project, but there’s been no confirmation that anything of the sort is happening.

But whether Captain Carter, Supreme-Strange, T’Challa Star-Lord, Party Thor, or any of these variants should make a reappearance, one thing is clear: A series like What If…? wouldn’t be starved for material. Now that Phase 4 is underway, that leaves the door open for variations of Shang-Chi, The Eternals, Sam Wilson as the new Captain America, and loads of others. Not to mention different takes on the MCU Spider-Man movies, WandaVision, or upcoming projects like Hawkeye (the next show up for our Easter Egg hunt), Ms. Marvel, and Fantastic Four. And since you can do more with animation than you can with live-action, there’s “endless possibilities” for stories, indeed.

Marvel’s What If…?: 10 best moments from season 1. dark. Next

What Easter Eggs, references, and callbacks did you spot in the season one finale of What If…? What new stories do you expect from season two? Don’t forget to let us know in the comments section.