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What If...? Season 1 Finale Explained

The first season of "What If...?" has come to a close with a finale we only wish we could have seen in live-action. Episodes 7 and 8 built up to this epic ending where Infinity Ultron is on a mission to destroy every universe in existence. Before discovering the multiverse, the murderous super bot successfully kills the Avengers and subsequently obliterates the universe he's a part of. Once sensing the Watcher's presence, he breaks into the multiverse and starts taking down other realities one by one. Without interference, Ultron eventually achieves his goal of destroying all life and worlds in every reality that ever existed.

Thankfully, the Watcher finally decides to intervene — something we've been waiting for — and he assembles a team of surviving heroes from different realities. Dubbed the Guardians of the Multiverse, this Avengers-esque group consists of Peggy Carter, Star-Lord T'Challa, Killmonger, Party Thor, Gamora, and Strange Supreme. The Watcher summons each hero (or villain if we're talking about Killmonger) from their reality and brings them together to take down Infinity Ultron once and for all. The new team was ready to jump into battle, and so began the crusade for all life.

Gamora's role in the What If...? finale

Gamora was included for promotions for "What If...?" for some time, but unfortunately, her starring episode didn't make its way into Season 1. According to Deadline, showrunner A.C. Bradley admitted the covid pandemic threw a wrench in the series' production, and the season needed to be cut short. Gamora's episode was the one to go, but it will appear in Season 2.

As the Watcher called on different characters we had seen throughout Season 1, his stop on Nidavellir to pick up Gamora seemed entirely random. She is with Tony Stark, sporting one of his bulkiest suits yet, and Etri, who is working on the Infinity Crusher weapon. We can only speculate on what her story entails, but we do know that she is a survivor of Sakaar and the "destroyer of Thanos," which the Watcher mentions in the finale episode. Since she is developing the Infinity Crusher during the episode, it seems like Thanos never got the Infinity Stones in this reality. We'll have to wait until Season 2 to find out just what happened to this ever-so-powerful Gamora.

The takedown of Infinity Ultron

There are several moments in the "What if...?" finale when it seems like the Guardians of the Multiverse have bested Infinity Ultron. After each failed attempt at taking him down, an unlikely hero shows up. Battling on the original Earth where Ultron first obtained the Infinity Stones, the Guardians are at a loss after the AI comes back from their blows time and time again. Black Widow rides in heroically on a motorcycle amid the chaos — the same Natasha who worked alongside Clint Barton in Episode 7. She is in possession of the Zola-infected arrow Clint left behind, which turns out to be the key to taking down Ultron.

As Strange Supreme holds Ultron back, Captain Carter jumps on the villain and pulls his head back, opening up Natasha's target just enough for the arrow. As her motorcycle leaps into the air, she sends the arrow soaring mid-flight — because Marvel — and the Zola virus takes down Ultron.

After Ultron is defeated, Killmonger summons the Infinity Stones into his own armor using a severed head of an old sentinel. Earlier in the episode, Gamora asks Thor if she trusts Killmonger, and it turns out her suspicions are correct.

The fallout of Killmonger's plan

Killmonger reveals his plan to the rest of the Guardians of the Multiverse. He wants to use the Infinity Stones to fix their worlds, citing that the Watcher owes them that. While some of the team considers his offer at first, they know it's not the right thing to do. Killmonger starts to fend off the Guardians with his power, but a resurrected Ultron — now possessed by Zola — rises and fights him for the Infinity Stones. The gems float in limbo between the two villains as they battle for possession, and Strange Supreme has a revelation.

"We were never meant to win," he says. "We were here to separate the stones from the body." Strange Supreme rises into the sky and uses a power on a level we've never seen before and creates a pocket dimension around Killmonger and Ultron. The Watcher also jumps in and seems to snatch the dimension. He takes this handheld dimension back with him and Strange Supreme to the Nexus of All Realities, where the former resides. It is now Strange Supreme's responsibility to watch over the Killmonger and Ultron dimension to ensure they can't escape.

If the writers wanted that to be the end of the story for Killmonger and Ultron, we suspect they would have suffered darker fates. Now that they're stuck in an eternal battle, we have to wonder if and when they'll break out and what repercussions will that have on the MCU as a whole.

Where are the heroes now after the What If...? finale?

After a nice pat on the back from the Watcher, the remaining Guardians of the Multiverse are sent off to their respective realities. Party Thor reunites with a giddy Jane in Las Vegas, Gamora heads back to her mysterious reality, T'Challa meets up with Peter Quill and the two fire off their guns in front of Dairy Queen.

As for Captain Carter, she hints that she would rather return to another time. She still longs for Steve Rogers, just as we saw him long for her in the Sacred Timeline of the MCU. The Watcher tells her that her own reality needs Captain Carter, and she heads back from where she came.

Natasha is the most reluctant to head back to her universe, and with good reason. She is the only survivor on Earth in her reality, and the planet is in absolute shambles, and going back there would essentially be a death sentence. After giving the Watcher a piece of her mind, he allows her to go to another time, one we saw in an earlier "What If...?" episode. Natasha shows up aboard a Helicarrier, which is fending off an army of Lokis. Captain America, Nick Fury, and Captain Marvel are all fighting off the evil God of Mischief, who is wielding the Scepter with the Mind Stone intact.

This is the reality we were thrust into in Episode 3, where Hank Pym murders Earth's Mightiest Heroes. With Thor, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Natasha, and the Hulk gone, only a few superpeople left to take down Loki, who took over Earth in the meantime. Nick Fury sees this other Black Widow and understands she's from another time but notes she has his Natasha's spirit.

Everyone is exactly where they need to be in the finale of "What if...?" and the surviving heroes live to fight another day.

The "What If...?" finale mid-credits scene

We were given the much-looked-forward-to mid-credits scene for the first time in Season 1 of "What If...?" In this surprising scene, we're taken back to Peggy Carter's world, where she is onboard the Lemurian Star fighting Batroc with Natasha. The latter takes her friend to a large storage container aboard the ship and shows Peggy the HYDRA Stomper suit is inside. This is a throwback to Episode 1, as Steve Rogers used the suit to help Peggy fight off the Red Skull.

As Peggy tries to process how the suit is aboard the ship and what it means, Natasha adds the fun little tidbit that there's someone inside. As Peggy's eyebrows raise, the show cuts to black, and the world is left screaming for little Steve. However, does the appearance of the suit mean definitively that Steve is inside? Unfortunately, no. But probably, yes.

At this point in time, Natasha and Peggy believe the Lemurian Star is a vessel of SHIELD. If this reality lines up with the one we know in our MCU timeline, it's actually in the hands of HYDRA. This prompts many questions. Why does HYDRA have the Stomper? How did they get it? How could a scrawny Steve still be alive inside, almost 100 years later?

If he is inside, we'd love to find out that this was a Steve who had since been captured by Hyrda and given a supersoldier serum — much like Bucky Barnes — which would explain how he was alive all these years later. For now, this is all just speculation, and we'll have to wait until Season 2 of "What If...?" for any concrete answers.