Binge Watcher

'What If?' just opened the door to a new Marvel crossover event

“A story for another day.”

What If…? Episode 2 boasts more than its fair share of unexpected twists and surprises. From a blonde Nebula (Karen Gillan) to a reformed version of Thanos (Josh Brolin), the episode takes the show’s alternate reality premise much further than last week’s What If…? premiere did. Titled “What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?”, the episode somehow even finds room to give obscure comic book characters like Howard the Duck (Seth Green) and Cosmo ample screen time.

It also concludes with a shocking cliffhanger that could very well come back into play at the end of What If…? Season 1, or possibly, in its already confirmed second season.

The End of the World — Episode 2 of What If…? builds its story around a straightforward dramatic question: What would have happened if Yondu (Michael Rooker) had accidentally kidnapped T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) from Earth instead of his intended target, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)? As the episode reveals, the answer is T’Challa would have gone on to become a much more selfless (and renowned) space adventurer than Quill, despite adopting the same “Star-Lord” moniker as him.

The only problem is T’Challa being kidnapped instead of Quill also opens the door for the latter to be more easily corrupted by his father, Ego (Kurt Russell), than he was in 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. That’s why the episode ends with Ego finding an older Quill working in a Dairy Queen (with headphones on, of course), only for The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) to dryly note, “Too bad this might spell the end of the world.”

Ego (Kurt Russell) making his ominous What If...? debut.Marvel Studios

Father & Son — As far as endings go, What If…? Episode 2’s final moment is about as shocking and ominous as you can get.

Even without The Watcher’s added narration, Kurt Russell’s line delivery and the way Ego’s eyes light up as he smiles provides us with enough information to know that this family reunion likely won’t go down nearly as well as it did in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. With The Watcher concluding the episode by cryptically teasing that the threat caused by Ego and Peter is “a story for another day,” What If…? also effectively sets up the storyline as one that could very well be revisited sometime down the line.

That’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility either. While both the first and second seasons of What If…? are expected to consist mostly of standalone episodes, there’s plenty of room for the series to reuse certain characters and revisit familiar timelines. The show’s creative team has even hinted that some of the show’s figures — namely, Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell) — will show up in more than one episode of the series. So it’s within reason to believe that What If…? will pick up where its second episode leaves off at some point.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 also, notably, established that Peter and Ego have the potential to be an extremely powerful and dangerous duo — especially if the former willingly agrees to help his father take over the universe. In other words, they pose the kind of threat that would require the strength of a massive superhero team to take down. Fortunately, What If…?’s first two episodes have already introduced some incredibly powerful good guys, many of whom could put up a legitimate fight against Ego and Peter — if they were to band together, that is.

“What, Peter? Can’t spare a little time for dear old Dad?”Marvel Studios

The Inverse Analysis — Whether What If…? will actually follow through on the promise of its second episode’s conclusion is, unfortunately, a mystery for the time being. The episode does leave the door open for that to happen, though, and if it did, then it could conceivably be the catalyst for an Avengers-style crossover team-up between the show’s various variant heroes.

That’s an undeniably exciting idea, which is probably why the What If…? writers decided to plant the seed for it in the first place.

What If…? is streaming now on Disney+.