What If...? Season 2 is Setting Up a Huge Avengers Twist

Hulkamania has taken over the MCU.

Marvel Studios

When it comes to the founding members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is right up there with original Avengers like Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. Tony’s personal assistant turned head of security hasn’t had quite as much to do recently, but the MCU’s latest entry suggests that could finally change.

Happy Hogan, the Freak

What If...? Season 2’s holiday special, “What If... Happy Hogan Saved Christmas,” gives Happy Hogan a starring role when Iron Man 2 villain Justin Hammer attacks the Avengers tower in an attempt to steal some Hulk blood and turn himself into a superhero.

With the Avengers busy celebrating Christmas, Happy steps in to save the day, but winds up injecting himself with the blood by mistake. This transforms him into a Purple monster with Hulk strength and a bit of a rage issue (though it seems Happy’s mind is still in control of this body).

The entire thing appears to be a reference to “The Freak” (Happy’s name in the comics on the rare occasions he’s mutated into a Hulk-like monster) and also possibly a Hulk Hogan pun. And if it was just one episode, we’d leave it at that, but What If Season 2 manages to double down on Hogan’s transformation.

Happy Hogan in Marvel 1602

What If Season 2 teleports the MCU to the 17th Century, where the Scarlet Witch (and Happy Hogan) have taken on new roles.

Marvel Studios

In What If Season 2 Episode 8, “What If…The Avengers Assembled in 1602?”, Captain Carter sees herself transported back to a version of the Elizabethan era populated by variants of the Avengers ensemble. Loki is treading the boards performing Hamlet, Thor is king, Tony Stark is a mad scientist inventor, Steve Rogers is now a highwayman, and Happy Hogan is a fancy-hat-wearing aristocrat.

At the start of the episode, it’s revealed that Thor asked the Scarlet Witch to transport Captain Carter back in time to help deal with an apocalyptic event. When she fails, Thor tries to have her arrested and she flees, teaming up with Steve Rogers and a few other Avengers in a last-ditch effort to repair the timeline and save this world. It all culminates in a big epic showdown where Carter accidentally slices off the feather on Happy Hogan’s hat, which enrages him, causing the aristocrat to transform into the Purple Hulk yet again.

So if Happy Hulk Hogan exists in two different universes, could that mean it’s only a matter of time before we see the same thing happen in the mainline MCU?

Happy Hulk Hogan in the MCU

Peggy confronts the Watcher while stuck in 1602.

Marvel Studios

Happy Hogan is clearly being positioned in a more consistent position in the MCU after movies like Spider-Man: No Way Home, so his appearance in What If is no surprise. But turning him into a Hulk is a great way to show his depth as a character and the range of Jon Favreau’s portrayal. With this upgrade, he could go from civilian sidekick to full-fledged Avenger himself, a fitting path for Tony Stark’s old friend. He might even get to join the team in Avengers 5.

It’s a testament to What If as a series that these hypotheticals can be played out. Hopefully, MCU canon will take note and adopt this fun variant itself, either by having the Happy we’ve known ever since Iron Man somehow get injected with Hulk blood or by bringing one of his (apparently multiple) Hulk variants into the fold through the multiverse. And let’s be honest: the “Hulk Hogan” jokes write themselves.

What If Season 2 is now streaming on Disney+.

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