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What If...?'s Season Finale Destroys This Spider-Man: No Way Home Theory

It's safe to say the season finale of Marvel's "What If...?" on Disney+ brought the house down as the series, which initially seemed to be an anthology series, revealed itself to be a single narrative building to the powerhouse season-ender with Episode 9, "What If... The Watcher Broke His Oath?" In the episode, The Watcher gathers heroes from across the various corners of the multiverse to battle an Infinity Stone-upgraded Ultron (Ross Marquand) for the fate of all life. The Watcher's first recruit is Strange Supreme, though not the traditional sorcerer supreme of the "real" MCU, but rather the one who lost the love of his life and delved into dark magic in a failed attempt to bring her back that destroyed his universe. Additional team members include Captain Carter, Star-Lord T'Challa, Killmonger, Gamora, and Party Thor, all introduced in previous "What If...?" Season 1 episodes.

At the end of Episode 9, Strange Supreme creates a pocket dimension containing Erik Killmonger and Ultron (now controlled by an AI Arnim Zola), both of whom are frozen in a single moment as they eternally battle to control the Infinity Stones. The Watcher and Strange Supreme reconvene in the Nexus of All Realities, and The Watcher charges his repentant ally with guarding the dimension to ensure the villains don't escape.

According to Reddit users, this particular development for the Doctor Strange character may impact the events of "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Fans immediately connected one popular "No Way Home" theory to Strange Supreme's fate in "What If...?" Episode 9, focusing on how the events of the Season 1 could negate that theory altogether.

Fans think Strange Supreme's final What If...? Episode 9 scene negates a No Way Home theory

Fans on Reddit r/MarvelsWhatIf took a closer look at the final moments of "What If...?" Episode 9. In particular, the moment Strange Supreme promises to remain in the Nexus of All Realities and watch over the pocket dimension containing Killmonger and Ultron and reconsidered it against what they saw in the "Spider-Man: No Way Home" trailer

Eagle-eyed viewers noted that, in the "No Way Home" trailer, there is a moment where Spider-Man appears to be under attack by none other than Doctor Strange, who doesn't have his signature cloak and whose costume seems to have a slightly darker hue. With this in mind, after the episode "What If... Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead Of His Hands?", it's easy to see how one could theorize that the Doctor Strange seen at that moment in the trailer was, in fact, the same person in the "What If...?" episode. But in the wake of the finale, that theory may no longer hold water.

According to Redditor u/jjosh_h, the revelation that the "What If...?" Doctor Strange variant is now a watchful guardian ensuring the safety of the multiverse destroys the idea that the character will play a role in "No Way Home." The Redditor writes, "I was so hoping the Doctor Strange who f***s up the multiverse in the Spiderman trailer was actually evil strange [...] but, now it seems that's unlikely. Evil Strange's redemption arc in the finale seems to suggest otherwise." The likelihood that the "What If...?" Doctor Strange isn't the variant in "No Way Home" leads to more speculation as to just who the latter Strange is, which should keep Marvel fans occupied until "No Way Home" hits theaters on December 17, 2021.