Marvel’s What If…? has mainly been disconnected from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Fans don’t think that will last long. Narrated by The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright), the animated Disney+ series has so far taken viewers into eight different universes within Marvel’s expansive on-screen multiverse — all of which have been defined not by their similarities to the MCU’s prime reality but by their differences.
But even if What If…? Season 1 doesn’t end by directly connecting to any pre-existing or upcoming MCU titles, that doesn’t mean future Marvel films and TV shows won’t feature nods to the multiversal Disney+ series.
The Leaks — Earlier this week, The Direct reported that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would see Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) crossing paths with a legion of Ultron sentries. The outlet did not specify what role the robots will play in the film — only going so far as to say that Strange will interact with them while exploring the multiverse.
Shortly after, an alleged pre-viz shot from the Doctor Strange sequel (courtesy of @gettingsussed) appeared to show the Sorcerer Supreme being presented (with hands cuffed) to an unknown character by a pair of Ultron sentries.
Given the unconfirmed nature of both these leaks, take this one with a grain of salt for now.
Familiar Robots — Assuming that these leaks are legitimate and Multiverse of Madness will feature several Ultron sentries — which is an admittedly large assumption to make — it’s hard to know how exactly they could factor into the film’s overall plot.
As of now, the most obvious explanation is that they’ll appear merely as a meta nod to both What If…? Season 1 and the MCU-at-large, appearing as an extension of Strange’s rumored multiversal travels in the film.
It’s worth noting that Ultron bots included in the allegedly leaked image are all glowing green instead of red, which would imply that Ultron no longer controls them. What If…? Episode 8 featured an Ultron bot that glowed green after its network was hijacked by the AI mind of Dr. Arnim Zola. Therefore, it’s possible, based on this image, that Multiverse of Madness will see Strange entering a universe where Zola successfully took over Ultron’s army — possibly even the same universe shown in What If…? Episode 8.
Alternatively, consider that a previous, alleged Multiverse of Madness leak claimed the MCU sequel would feature a universe ruled over by a Tony Stark-created Iron Legion. If accurate, the scene depicted in this leak could occur during Strange’s visit to that universe.
The Inverse Analysis — Until Marvel Studios releases more info about the plot of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it’s impossible to pinpoint the accuracy of these leaks.
That said, it’s possible a version of the Ultron bots shown in both Avengers: Age of Ultron and What If…? will appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The film is expected to feature multiple different universes within the greater multiverse, which means the door is open for an endless amount of MCU callbacks.
With Captain Carter also rumored to make an appearance in the film, it’s also looking increasingly likely that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will feature more than one What If…? homage.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to hit theaters on March 25, 2022.