So, Damsel is not in distress anymore. The first episode of Marvel’s “Animatic” Universe, What If, is narrated by an observer of the multiverse, The Watcher (who appeared in comics as Utau). According to the “god-like” voice of Watcher, time, space, and reality are more than a linear path. It’s a prism of endless possibility where a single choice can branch out into infinite realities creating alternate worlds from the ones we know. It’s thrilling to see one’s beloved heroes under a different spotlight, illuminating them up with different shades and weaving them in the alternate narrative. Jaco Van Dormael’s 2009 film Mr. Nobody follows a similar premise, but let’s not start a debate.
The title of What if Episode 1, “What If… Captain Carter: Were the First Avenger?” suggests everything there is to fathom in a 30 minutes episode. However, it does give Peggy Carter the center stage and limelight she deserves. In the alternate narrative, she is the one who “can do this all day.”
Episode 1 ‘What If Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?’ Recap
Set in an alternate universe, Episode 1 travels to the events of June 1943 when the world was stricken with World War 2, started by a man with a toothbrush mustache. In another dimension, during the experiment to create the first avenger with the help of super serum, the experiment is disrupted by an undercover Heinz Kruger. This time, Kruger decides to shoot before the experiment starts, and Steve Rogers suffers casualties before being injected with the serum. Agent Carter takes the shot to save the project and their last hope to save the world, and engineer Howard Stark doesn’t hesitate to push the buttons.
Carter transforms into a muscular super-soldier, Captain Carter, but Colonel John Flynn doesn’t want a girl in the S.S.R.
“Women aren’t soldiers, and they sure as hell don’t fight on the front lines.”Colonel John Flynn
Skinny Steve Rogers tries to cheer up an annoyed Cater, and a romantic breeze passes through them. In the meantime, Hiter’s Supernatural Sciences Division, Hydra-headed by Johann Schmidt, Red Skull steals Odin’s prized jewel, Tesseract, from the treasure room. However, in What If Episode 1, he doesn’t aim to develop weaponry, rather wants to unlock doors across the universe.
Captain Carter, Skinny Steve Rogers, and Howard Stark plan an attack and steal the Tesseract. The battle against Red Skull and Hydra becomes much more captivating from here on.
‘What If’ Episode 1 Ending Explained
The imaginative turn of events unravels Howard’s genius and Skinny Steve’s resilience. Howard designs a mechanized armor suit called HYDRA Stomper and powers it up with Tesseract’s nuclear power. The armor suit may become an inspiration for Howard’s son, Tony Stark, who will design his Iron Man Suit. Nevertheless, in this alternative plot, Skinny Steve Rogers does get bulky in the end.
Captain Carter and HYDRA Stomper save Bucky Barnes and his unit from HYDRA prison. The incredible duo becomes the War Heroes, and their romance flourishes further. However, on their operation “Where Eagle Dares” to capture Red Skull, HYDRA Stomper falls into a trap. The train blasts suggesting a tragic end for Steve Rogers. In this universe, Bucky survives without losing a hand.
With the help of a stolen Tesseract (space stone) from HYDRA Stomper, Red Skull unleashes an interdimensional tentacle monster to fulfill his desire for world domination. Captain Carter and her team infiltrate Red Skull’s Castle de Karke in the Black Forest. But as they reach, the HYDRA champion monster loses control and crushes his master, Red Skull. Bucky finds Steve alive and helps him to recharge his armor suit without the Tesseract. Stark and Carter try to stop the tentacle monster with failed attempts. In the end, Captain Carter thrust the creature back to the interdimensional portal and sacrificed her life to save the world. Carter gets lost in the unknown domain.
Seventy years later, Nick Fury and Hawkeye open a wormhole in a S.H.I.E.L.D. while experimenting on the Tesseract (Space Stone). Captain Carter heroically jumps out of the wormhole and instantly inquires about Steve. A similar inquisition was noticed in the Post Credit Scene of Captain America: The First Avenger. Connecting the dots, hopefully, Captain Carter will join the Avengers in this Alternate Universe. And suppose the flow of events will be the same thereon, then probably after the Endgame. In that case, Carter will return the stones to their proper timelines and remain in the past to live with Rogers. He owes her a dance, after all.
With What If Episode 1, Marvel is just warming, and hopefully, there will be more alternate adventures to cherish. The Watcher will be our host for the show and will keep telling us tales of the multiverse without interfering.
What If…? is a 2021 Animated Anthology Series created by A.C. Bradley, based on Marvel Comics.