Summary

  • What If…? Season 2 reveals Odin’s true reasons for banishing Thor in the first Thor movie.
  • Hela’s storyline in What If…? follows a redemptive arc similar to Thor’s, showing the potential for a more favorable future for Asgard.
  • Odin’s decision to send Hela to Midgard instead of Hel could explain why he made the same decision for Thor, highlighting his growth as a character.


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What If…? Season 2 has recently explained Odin’s real reasons for banishing Thor in the MCU’s first Thor movie 12 years ago. Disney+’s What If…? series has recently continued to delve into alternate timelines in which single decisions change huge aspects of the MCU when compared to the Sacred Timeline. This has seen heroes become villains and villains become heroes, with one of the most unexpected moral U-turns recently being committed by the Asgardian goddess of death and the onetime right-hand of Odin, Hela.

What If…Hela Found the Ten Rings shows what would have happened if, instead of banishing his bloodthirsty daughter to Hel with her powers intact, Odin stripped Hela of her powers and sent her to Midgard instead. The sequence of events shows that Hela’s own narrative would have followed a similar redemptive arc as her younger brother, among other pretty stark parallels between the fates of the two. It also resolved that Odin’s decision in What If…? could have brought about a far more favorable future for Asgard and the Nine Realms, and helps to demonstrate why he would later make that decision with Thor.

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Hela’s What If Season 2 Story Sheds Light On Why Odin Sent Thor Away In The MCU

Odin on Asgard by the mouth of the Bifrost in Thor

What If…?

Release Date
August 11, 2021

Cast
Samuel L. Jackson , Stanley Tucci , Michael Douglas , Sean Gunn , Mark Ruffalo , Karen Gillan , Tom Hiddleston , Jeffrey Wright , Michael B. Jordan , Toby Jones , Sebastian Stan , Paul Rudd , David Dastmalchian , Natalie Portman , Josh Brolin , Dominic Cooper , Jeff Goldblum , Hayley Atwell , Djimon Hounsou , Chadwick Boseman , Taika Waititi , Chris Hemsworth , Neil McDonaugh , Jeremy Renner , Michael Rooker

Seasons
2

The pivotal moment in What If…? Season 2, Episode 7 comes with a single decision made by Odin that changes the course of the MCU. Hela’s aggression, which she calls “ambition,” worries Odin enough that he decides to send his daughter to Midgard with her powers stripped, a fate he would later condemn his son to for his unbridled arrogance. This comes with a single line to explain his reasoning: “no god should have dominion over death who has so little appreciation for life.” The reasoning would later give rise to a familiar character arc as Hela foregoes her warlike nature in favor of newfound heroism.

While Thor is not the god of death specifically, his ascension to the Asgardian throne would have given him that dominion by proxy, spurring Odin to condemn Thor to the fate that he probably should have condemned Hela to. Odin’s snap decision to bind Hela to Midgard instead of Hel proved to be exceptionally consequential and explains why he made the same decision for Thor. Thor’s hubris was tantamount to a lack of respect for life after being responsible for breaking the shaky truce between Asgard and Jotunheim.

How What If Season 2’s Odin Makes The First Thor Movie Even Better

Odin looks serious in What If...Hela Found the Ten Rings

Interestingly, despite making the right decision with Hela, What If…Hela Found the Ten Rings portrayed Odin as a far more ruthless figure than when he appeared in Thor. While Thor: Ragnarok briefly touches on Odin’s regrettable past with Hela at his side, this episode is the closest look at Odin in that era and helps to flesh him out as a character in his later appearances. Evidently, Odin has undergone a significant amount of growth as he favors mercy and self-sacrifice in Thor, something which Hela helps him to recognize as virtues worth pursuing in the events of What If…?.

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