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The Big Thanos Question MCU Fans Have About What If...? Episode 8

Episode 8 of "What If...?" deviates from the Infinity Saga we know in a big way. The story focuses on what would happen if Ultron defeats the Avengers shortly after his creation. Fans of the MCU will remember the superhero group took down the AI in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." In the universe we know, the team was able to stop Ultron from uploading himself into Vision's body, which ultimately saved all life on Earth and beyond. In Episode 8, we see things play out in a reality where everything went according to plan for Ultron.

After destroying almost all life on Earth by setting off every nuclear weapon, Ultron is briefly met by Thanos, who enters the planet through a portal. Wielding the Infinity Gauntlet with every stone except for the Mind, Ultron splits him in half and takes all the stones for himself. Once he integrates them into his suit, he realizes there are other universes with other planets that he feels he must destroy.

We watch Ultron wipe out entire worlds, including Asgard, Sakaar, Xandar, and Ego. He also takes out the Sovereign, where we see the Guardians of the Galaxy fighting an Ablisk before they too are demolished. This particular scene has some MCU fans scratching their heads as something doesn't quite line up.

How did Thanos get the Soul Stone?

As previously mentioned, Thanos has five stones in his possession when he arrives on Earth. One of these is the Soul Stone, which we know takes a sacrifice to get. In the timeline we know, Thanos sacrifices Gamora — quite possibly the only thing he loves — and is one step closer to omnipotent power. However, in this universe, we see that Gamora is still alive after Thanos already has the Soul Stone.

Some fans discussed this very detail in an Episode 8 breakdown on the "What If...?" subreddit. Thanos would have had to sacrifice someone, so who was it? How did he get the Soul Stone? Redditor u/Mhunterjr reminded fans who were confused that this is an entirely different universe, and we can't assume that anything is the same. "Maybe Thanos yeeted a different kid. Maybe someone other than Thanos acquired the soul stone and Thanos got it from them. This is a completely vastly different universe from the main one, so it makes sense that things behind the scenes played out differently," they wrote.

In this universe, Thanos may favor Nebula, and maybe she was the one he threw off the cliff on Vormir. He could also have children we've never seen. Perhaps the Soul Stone doesn't even require a sacrifice in this particular reality. We can never assume that anything is the same from universe to universe and timeline to timeline.