Summary

  • What If…? season 2 shows that if Peter Quill had remained on Earth, the Guardians of the Galaxy would have never formed, potentially preventing Thanos’ snap.
  • Yondu’s decision to keep and raise Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy indirectly caused Thanos’ snap in the live-action MCU.
  • Peter Quill wiping out eight of the Nine Realms before coming to Earth in What If…? suggests there may have been no right choice for Yondu.


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One small change in the timeline of the MCU could have saved millions of lives, which has now been proven by Marvel Studios’ What If…? season 2. After the concept of the multiverse was introduced in Phase 4’s Loki season 1, Marvel Studios began to explore alternate realities and variant characters in What If…?. The animated anthology series has introduced new characters such as Captain Carter, Strange Supreme, T’Challa’s Star-Lord, Happy Hogan’s Freak and Kahhori, each inhabiting universes that make major changes to the MCU’s main continuity. However, What If…? season 2 introduced a storyline that proved a huge amount of devastation could have been avoided in the live-action MCU.

What If…? season 2, episode 2, “What If… Peter Quill Attacked Earth’s Mightiest Heroes?,” altered the events of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy to make the young Peter Quill a villain in the MCU. The episode introduced a team of Avengers from 1988 to battle Quill, who had realized his Celestial abilities long before 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and had been helping his father, the Celestial Ego, with his expansion. While this already marked a significant change from the MCU timeline, the fact that the young Quill remained on Earth at the end of the episode means some major future storylines won’t unfold in the same way.

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What If…? season 2 explored Peter Quill’s life as a villain, proving that his Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ending came at the perfect time.


Peter Quill Staying On Earth In What If…? Season 2 Changes The MCU Significantly

Towards the end of What If…? season 2, episode 2, the young Peter Quill joins 1988’s Avengers team in the battle against his father, Ego. Using his Celestial abilities, Quill is able to thwart Ego’s plans on Earth, and is subsequently seemingly adopted by Hank Pym as a new sibling for Hope Van Dyne in the wake of her mother’s disappearance. The fact that Peter Quill remained on Earth after the battle against Ego means many pivotal moments in the MCU’s future won’t come to pass. Most notably, Quill won’t form the Guardians of the Galaxy, meaning they will never be able to stop Ronan the Accuser from decimating Xandar.

During 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Ronan the Accuser promised to take out the Mad Titan Thanos following his attack on Xandar, so it’s possible that this event occurred in What If…? season 2’s 1988 timeline. Without the intervention of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ronan may have wiped out Xandar and the Nova Corps, but would have also stopped the Mad Titan’s conquest before it had ever really begun, meaning Thanos’ Avengers: Infinity War snap would never happen. This means that Quill remaining on Earth could have saved trillions of lives across the entire universe, but this also came at a monumental cost.

Yondu’s Betrayal Indirectly Caused Thanos’ Infinity War Snap In The Live-Action MCU

Yondu teaching young Peter Quill to shoot in the MCU

What If…? season 2, episode 2’s storyline unfolded because Yondu decided to deliver Peter Quill to Ego as he was hired to do, rather than keeping him and raising him among the Ravagers. This ultimately means that Yondu’s betrayal of Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy caused the chain of events that led to Thanos’ snap in Infinity War. However, it’s possible this choice could have saved more lives, as What If…? saw Quill wipe out eight of the Nine Realms before coming to Earth, including Asgard. It seems that there was perhaps no right choice for Yondu, though Peter Quill would end up becoming a hero in both timelines.

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