What if Ultron won?
That’s the central conceit of What If…? Episode 8, which takes Marvel Cinematic Universe fans to a timeline in which Ultron not only beat the Avengers in 2015 but also went on to take down Thanos, take control of all six Infinity Stones, and continue his genocidal mission throughout the entire universe.
It’s a dark and thrilling episode of television that follows Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton as they scramble to try and survive a post-apocalyptic version of Earth under near-constant surveillance by Ultron sentries.
Unfortunately, they’re not the only beings forced to deal with the danger of a victorious Ultron, as the episode sees the AI’s genocidal vision of peace threaten to spread beyond the limits of his own universe.
Major What If? Episode 8 Spoilers Ahead
What If? Episode 8 ending: What happens?
After opening with Earth's nuclear destruction and losing most of the Avengers, What If…? Episode 8 takes an even darker and more dangerous turn around the 10-minute mark.
Standing in the remains of a destroyed universe, Ultron becomes aware of The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) and the multiverse at large. In case that wasn’t already bad enough, things get worse when Ultron manages to break through the boundaries of his own universe just a few minutes later, coming face-to-face with The Watcher in the latter’s interdimensional realm.
The two begin to fight, with Ultron mocking The Watcher for maintaining such a passive role in the multiverse despite having complete and unrestricted access to it. While The Watcher manages to put up one hell of a fight, too — anyone who can withstand the full might of all six Infinity Stones is someone to be respected — he ultimately loses his battle with Ultron and is sent fleeing into the multiverse.
One good thing is that he’s not alone in the multiverse. Not yet, at least.
What If? Episode 8’s Ending, Explained
The final scene of What If…? Episode 8 sees The Watcher returning, in disgrace, to the destroyed universe last seen in the show’s fourth episode, “What If... Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?” Once there, he comes face-to-face again with Doctor Strange Supreme (Benedict Cumberbatch), the only other character outside of Ultron who has been powerful enough to become aware of The Watcher’s presence up to this point in What If…?
Only, this time, The Watcher isn’t refusing to help Doctor Strange Supreme but asking him for it.
“I need your help,” he says, asking the Doctor Strange variant for aid in his fight against Ultron. Fortunately, it’s an invitation that Strange seems to accept just before What If…? Episode 8 cuts to black for the last time.
On its own, it’s an epic and fun scene — one that functions as both a callback to What If…? Episode 4 and helps to set up What If…?’s presumably action-packed season finale next week. Notably, it also confirms what many Marvel fans had already long-suspected about the animated series: It will end with The Watcher assembling a team out of all the various, multiversal heroes featured this season to make one final stand against Ultron.
Doctor Strange Supreme is one of those “heroes,” but he’s far from the only familiar What If…? character that fans can expect to see in the show’s season finale.
What If? Episode 8 ending: What to expect in the finale?
Previous What If…? trailers have already confirmed that fans can look forward to seeing Doctor Strange Supreme and The Watcher team up with:
- Party Thor (Chris Hemsworth) from What If…? Episode 7
- the surviving Natasha Romanoff from What If…? Episode 8
- the Star-Lord version of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) from What If…? Episode 2
- Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell) from the show’s premiere
Whether or not they’re the only multiversal heroes we get to see team up against Ultron in What If…? Episode 9 is, for now, a mystery. Regardless, they should be a more-than-formidable group when assembled — one that may very well have a chance at stopping Ultron and his legions of sentries. That’s assuming, of course, that Natasha and her Arnim Zola-controlled Ultron bot are also successful in hijacking the Ultron hive mind, as was set up in the third act of What If…? Episode 8.
Either way, What If…?’s Season 1 finale already promises to be one of the craziest MCU stories we’ve ever seen. It could very well span the entire multiverse.
What If…? Episode 8 is streaming now on Disney+.