Warning! This article contains spoilers for What If…? season 2, episode 8.


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Summary

  • What If…? season 2, episode 8 introduces a new twist on the concept of multiversal incursions, changing the rules once again.
  • The episode explores the idea of incursions and reveals that they are caused by a character dubbed the Forerunner, impacting the Marvel universe of 1602.
  • The rules of incursions in What If…? season 2 align with the concept introduced in Doctor Strange 2, yet make the ending of The Marvels more confusing as the latter film introduced that incursions can be caused by other means.

What If…? season 2, episode 8 just changed the rule surrounding the MCU’s multiversal incursions for the second time in as many months. Initially in the MCU, Doctor Strange 2 introduced multiversal incursions. This concept was taken directly from Marvel Comics, described as the colliding of two different universes for a sustained period that destroys both realities with the only difference being that one person could cause these incursions. However, The Marvels somewhat retconned the idea of incursions, changing the rules slightly to fit the final theatrical MCU release of 2023.

With What If…? season 2’s various episodes, the animated MCU show has continued to explore the vast realities of the multiverse. In doing so, What If…? is similarly delving into the rules and regulations of the MCU’s multiverse as other projects have before it. This includes incursions, with What If…? season 2, episode 8’s story directly dealing with the idea of two universes clashing together. That said, the rules of how incursions are caused were once again changed in What If…? season 2, episode 8, making one of the other explanations from earlier Marvel movies make less sense in retrospect.

Related

What If…? Season 2 Cast & Marvel Character Guide

What If…? season 2 premieres on December 22, 2023, on Disney+, bringing new and returning voice actors to the animated worlds of the MCU’s Phase 5.


The Avengers 1602’s Incursion Explained

Captain Carter crossing her arms in 1602 from What If...? season 2

Firstly, it is worth exploring how What If…? season 2, episode 8 explored the idea of incursions. In the episode – “What If… the Avengers Assembled in 1602?” – It is revealed that Peggy Carter has established herself as a hero in 1602 after being transported there at the end of What If…? season 2, episode 5. However, incursions begin impacting the world, terrorizing the denizens of the Shakespearean Marvel universe. Carter sets out to stop the incursions which are supposedly being caused by someone dubbed the Forerunner, a person who has also been transported to that universe besides Carter.

This rule of incursions is very similar to the one presented in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. In both projects, incursions are caused when a person interacts too heavily with a universe other than their own, thus destroying both. In What If…? season 2, episode 8, it is revealed that Rogers Hood, Steve Rogers as a Robin Hood-esque thief, is aptly the man out of time. Rogers Hood was actually from a future in which he battled Thanos, accidentally hitting the Time Stone at one point and being sent back to 1602. This was causing the incursions, meaning Rogers Hood was eventually returned to his rightful universe.

What If…? Season 2 Makes The Marvels Ending More Confusing

Monica Rambeau powering up as Photon in The Marvels

While What If…? season 2, episode 8’s incursion makes sense in comparison to Doctor Strange 2, it makes the ending of The Marvels more confusing. In The Marvels, Dar-Benn used Quantum Bands to cause a rift in time and space. This rift was revealed as somewhat of an incursion, causing the prime MCU timeline to blend with another in the multiverse. Monica Rambeau then fixed this rift, finding herself in a timeline filled with X-Men such as Hank McCoy/Beast, Professor X, and Binary.

This made sense within the context of the film itself but does not match with the idea of incursions from Doctor Strange 2 or What If…? season 2. Rather than have individual characters interact with other universes to destabilize them, The Marvels introduced the idea that time and space could be directly altered to crash two universes together. Given that What If…? season 2 has teased the return of Strange Supreme from season 1, perhaps the confusing rules of the MCU’s multiverse will be more adequately explored in the final episode of the animated show after another change in incursion-based regulations.

Marvel’s What If…? season 2, episode 8 is streaming now on Disney+.

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