Marvel’s “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?” Episode Recap

The next entry in Marvel’s increasingly bonkers Phase Four is here with the launch of the premier episode of the animated anthology series What If…? Instead of doing a straightforward review, each week we are going to recap the episode and discuss the changes to the established MCU story, compile any easter eggs you may have missed, and do a round-up of the most popular theories. Make sure you follow us on Twitter to see when the next recap posts!

Synopsis: The premier episode of Marvel’s What If…? asks the question: What if Captain Carter were the First Avenger? One simple decision—the desire to be in the room where it happens—leads to Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) entering Howard Stark’s (Dominic Cooper) chamber to receive Dr. Erskine’s (Stanley Tucci) super soldier serum and become Captain Carter. Now with super strength, enhanced speed and a Union Jack uniform and shield to go with it, Captain Carter sets her sights on defeating Hydra and ending World War II.

Key Quotes

Space, time, reality. It’s more than a linear path. It’s a prism of endless possibility.

The Watcher

You owe me a dance lesson.

Steve Rogers

Whew. Thanks. You almost ripped my arm off.

Bucky Barnes

The way people view me has changed. I’m no longer screaming to be heard, to be seen, to be in the room.

Captain Carter

Changes to the Original MCU Story

  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) takes the super soldier serum and becomes Captain America.
  • Howard Stark creates the proto-Iron Man suit for Steve Rogers, decades before Tony Stark creates it at the beginning of the first Iron Man film. 
  • Bucky Barns almost falls of the train at the end of the episode, but Captain Carter saves him from falling, thus saving him from becoming the Winter Soldier.
  • Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) is captured much earlier in this story than he is in the original movie, therefore either advancing the storyline of Hydra infiltrating the yet-to-be-created SHEILD, or completely obliterating that storyline.
  • Because there is no Winter Soldier, Tony Stark’s parents most likely aren’t murdered meaning there is potential that he does not become Iron Man or that even if he does, Civil War doesn’t happen the same way we saw it play out in the movies. 
  • Johann Schmidt/Red Skull (Ross Marquand) dies towards the end of the episode at the tentacles of his inter-dimensional beastie, which means he will not be on Vormir protecting the soul stone.
  • Similar to Captain America, Captain Carter finds herself 70 years in the future with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) being the one to tell her what happened and her lamenting the fact that she had a date. 

Easter Eggs

  • Captain Carter’s desire to be in the room where it happens is a common plot thread of the two-season Agent Carter tv show on ABC.
  • Bradley Whitford reprises his role as John Flynn from the one-shot Agent Carter film.
  • Several references are made about Bucky’s fall from the train (“Maybe you’re afraid of trains”) and eventually becoming the one-armed Winter Soldier.
  • The shot of Captain Carter and the Howling Commandos shooting down Nazi’s is an exact replica of the shot of Captain America and the Howling Commandos in Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • In fact, several scenes were pulled straight from Captain America’s first film.
  • The scene with Johann Schmidt in Tønsberg, Norway is an extended version of the scene from Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • The trailer for The Eternals has a very similar line to the one spoken by The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) at the beginning of this episode:
    • The Eternals: “We have never interfered—until now.”
    • The Watcher: “I am the Watcher. I observe all that transpires here. And I do not, can not, will not interfere.”
  • Howard Stark interrupts a kiss between Captain Carter and Steve Rogers by exclaiming that Bucky stole a jeep. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) asks Steve Rogers “Where did Captain America learn how to steal a car.”
  • Bucky Barnes says “Good, because we don’t have all day,” a play on Steve Roger’s iconic “I can do this all day” line.

Theory Round-Up

  • There is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot in Loki, where it looks as if Peggy Carter is being apprehended by the TVA. Could her shenanigans in this episode lead to the TVA capturing her and bringing her in? – Mark, Boss Rush Entertainment 
  • I think that Captain Carter is going to show up in live-action at the culmination of the Multiversal War that everything has been building up to so far. Imagine a shot similar to the portals scene from Avengers: Endgame, but it’s not just heroes we’ve seen in live action, its everyone. Alternate versions of heroes, characters from non-MCU movies, Captain Carter, etc. – Mark, Boss Rush Entertainment
  • On the Reddit thread /MCUTheories, user SuperDaly10 states “It seems that the show might not be an anthology like we were told. I have a theory, that the show will start off as an anthology, but its stories will eventually come together.”
  • Many people thing that the Champion of Hydra, the tentacled monster that killed Red Skull, was none other than Shuma Gorath, a powerful ancient demon from the Marvel comics.

There you have it–lots to talk about with this week’s episode of Marvel’s What If…? Was there anything we left off? Any interesting theories you have? Let us know in the comments below!

Mark Pereira is a staff writer for Boss Rush Network. He loves all video games, but his top three favorites are Skyward Sword, Super Mario 3D World and Batman: Arkham Asylum. You can find him on Twitter where he’s usually talking about Nintendo, video games, movies, and TV shows.

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