Ahead of the release of Avengers: Endgame, some Marvel fans were convinced that Ultron would return in the aftermath of Thanos’ destruction. That obviously didn’t happen, but in What If...? Episode 8, those fans finally got their wish — sort of.
Here’s how What If... Ultron Won wades into a classic Avengers debate. Warning! Spoilers ahead for Episode 8.
What If Episode 8, “Ultron Won,” ending explained
I won’t go into a full beat-for-beat recap, but to boil things down to the basics, What If Episode 8 begins with the assumption that Ultron succeeds in putting his AI mind into the Vibranium body that became Vision in the movies. From there, Ultron/Vision makes quick work of the Avengers, blowing up Iron Man and wiping out pretty much all life on Earth. All that remains is Hawkeye and Black Widow, who are forced to ally with an old enemy (the AI version of Arnim Zola) to take Ultron down.
But that’s just one plotline. Elsewhere, Ultron manages to conquer the entire universe after defeating Thanos and claiming all six Infinity Stones. He then takes on the Watcher himself and sets out to conquer the multiverse. After trying and failing to defeat Ultron in battle, the Watcher turns to his own unlikely ally, the evil Doctor Strange from What If Episode 4, and asks for his help. The episode ends on a cliffhanger, but we assume this is the beginning of a new superhero team-up.
What If... Ultron vs. the Avengers
Throughout this episode, What If also manages to answer several eternal questions about Avengers movie history. As I mentioned above, Ultron makes quick work of Thanos, which should be satisfying for any Marvel fans who ever wondered if a Vision ever stood a chance against Thanos in the movies. However, the more interesting showdown happens later in the episode.
The introduction of Captain Marvel to the MCU basically created a huge problem in every Marvel movie released before that one: why didn’t Nick Fury just call Carol Danvers when he needed help? This is particularly true of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Fury is on the run and the Avengers desperately need some assistance. So why couldn’t Nick ask his old friend to lend a hand dealing with these pesky robots?
We still don’t know, but we may have an answer to how that fight would have played out. Captain Marvel confronts Ultron/Vision during his assault on the planet Xandar in What If Episode 8 and, to put it bluntly, it doesn’t go well for Carol. To be fair, she’s not fighting regular Ultron, she’s fighting a Vision-Ultron mashup with all the Infinity Stones. But still, considering this is the only MCU-canon version of the two characters fighting, we have to give the win to Ultron.
So why didn’t Captain Marvel help in Avengers 2? Maybe it was because she knew she couldn’t stop Ultron. Or maybe she was just busy punching aliens. Or maybe that’s a question for another episode.
What If...? is streaming now on Disney+.