Key Takeaways and Things You Might Have Missed from ‘What If...?’ Episode One
Marvel’s animated series, What If…?, immediately follows Loki season one’s finale, where the multiverse is opened, creating possibilities for alternate realities. Episode one of the 10-episode anthology deals with one of the first and most important storylines in the mainline MCU.
The episode is set during World War II, where, in the mainline MCU, Steve Rogers becomes Captain America. But here, things go a bit differently.
1. Where It All Goes Differently
"Agent Carter, don't you think you'd be more comfortable in the booth?" asks Abraham Erskine in the first few minutes of the episode before Rogers is set to undergo the Super Serum infusion.
In the mainline MCU, Peggy Carter agrees. But here, she’s even more assertive than in the mainline universe and decides to stay put.
A secret Hydra agent causes some havoc, stops the procedure, and injures Rogers. As he cannot step into the pod anymore, Carter steps in. And thus, we get the amazing Captain Carter.
The first official clip from #WhatIf has been released, featuring #CaptainCarter, #BuckyBarnes, and #SteveRogers' Hydra Stomper in action! Watch: https://t.co/fCarYBAOpA pic.twitter.com/sMD8Wn7uTG — MCU - The Direct (@MCU_Direct) August 4, 2021
2. Spot On Animations
The first thing you observe after starting the episode, if you didn’t already notice in the trailer, is that the animation is amazing.
The cel-shaded animation makes the characters look straight from the comics, and the animations are smooth. In addition, the color palette is nice — neither too dark, not too light — making for a great viewing experience.
It’s safe to say that the show will be a delight to watch, at least visually, and Squeeze Animation Studios did a great job for the series.
3. Iron-man Foreshadowing
Steve Rogers couldn’t become Captain America. But he wasn’t going to be kept out of the battleground for too long.
After Carter gains hold of the Tesseract, along with Doctor Zola, she brings it back to Howard Stark and presumes he will put it to good use.
Stark then goes on and builds a suit with the Tesseract as the main power source. And who does he ask to drive the thing? Rogers, of course.
The suit, or rather, the ‘Hydra Stomper,’ with rectangular eyes and glowing chest, looks a lot like the very first iteration of the Iron-Man suit — the one Tony Stark built in that cave in the mainline MCU.
4. The Inter-dimensional Monster with Tentacles
The monster that Red Skull summons through the use of Tesseract has its origins elsewhere in the mainline MCU.
Another similarity between the two is that, like Gamora in Guardians Vol. 2, who uses her sword to slay the monster, Carter also does the same. A minor thing to mention here is that Red Skull is now an idiot in two different realities.
5. A Plethora of Real-Life References
There is more than one reference to real-life things in the episode. The first one shows up when Stark gives Carter her costume.
The top of the box has the label “Howards Costume Design.” The interesting thing is that the styling of the text is (kind of) like Harrods, a luxury brand based in London. Since Carter is British, it makes for a subtle but nice touch.
The next one is an audio clue. The train heist that Carter and company attempt is called “Operation: Where Eagles Dare.” This could be a direct reference to a Clint Eastwood movie from 1968 of the same name.
Howard Stark gives the third real-life reference in the form of a name he utters. “Hedy Lamarr and I spent a weekend together,” says Howard at the 25th-minute mark, of someone who just so happened to be an amazing person in real life.
Hedy Lamarr was a person of multiple talents. She had a career in Hollywood that stretched for more than 15 years during the 1930s. Lamarr also helped design a frequency-hopping system during WWII.
What If...? is, no doubt, off to a great start. Episodes two and three are set to enter emotional territories, so it should be a fun ride for us viewers.