Marvel’s “What If… The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?” Episode Recap

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Synopsis: The third episode of Marvel’s What If…? takes a look at Nick Fury’s infamous “Big Week” from Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, spanning the background stories of Iron Man 2The Incredible Hulk, and Thor. Just as Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury (the best voice performance yet) tries to desperately pull together his team of mighty heroes, an unknown assailant starts targeting the would-be Avengers and killing them before they can even join the team.  

Key Quotes:

There was an idea…

Nick FUry

It’s an accurate description. Sir, he’s gorgeous.

Agent Coulson

Same as always: hope for the best. Plan for the worst.

Nick Fury

Changes to the Original MCU Story

  • The episode starts off similarly to a scene from Iron Man 2, with Fury and Natasha Romanoff (Lake Bell, providing a serviceable Black Widow) trying to recruit Tony Stark (Mick Wingert). However, when Romanoff tries to inject Stark with lithium dioxide, instead of providing relief from his palladium poisoning, it kills him. 
  • The events from the first Thor film play out as they do in the film at first, with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in Clint Barton’s (Jeremy Renner) sights, but in this episode, Barton actually shoots Thor in the heart, killing him.
  • The elevated hallway scene from The Incredible Hulk is recreated as well, this time with Romanoff joining him. However, in the battle that ensues, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, taking over from Edward Norton’s time in the role) continues to grow until he just explodes.
  • Barton and Romanoff also eventually die in this episode, leaving Fury with limited options when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) arrives with an Asgardian army to avenge Thor’s death.
  • Hope Van Dyne has been killed prior to this episode and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) takes a villainous turn to avenge her death. 
  • Loki is successful in his conquest of Earth because there is no team of Avengers to defeat him; however it is not with Chitauri that he conquers Earth, but with his adopted race.
  • At the end of the episode, Fury is successful in recruiting new heroes to join his Avengers initiative, including Captain Marvel and Captain America.

Easter Eggs

  • The Iron Man in a donut scene is perfectly recreated in animated form.
  • When Romanoff is in custody in the back of the transport van, she is surrounded by agents of SHIELD and successfully defeats them all, similar to Captain America (Chris Evans) in the elevator in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
  • Romanoff does her signature superhero landing—the one that Yelena (Florence Pugh) makes fun of her for in Black Widow.
Twitter User @Wandasgoldrush
  • Agent Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) love of Captain America makes a comeback, along with his new love of Thor and his glorious hair. 
  • In Black Panther, one of the Dora Milaje commands Romanoff to move out of her way, saying “Move, or I’ll make you.” Romanoff repeats the line in this episode. (shout out to @natashasmygem for pointing this out!)
Twitter user @Natashasmygem.

Theory Round-Up

  • Twitter user @Parkernromanoff thinks that the Winter Soldier killed Hope Van Dyne. In the episode, Fury mentions that Van Dyne was killed outside Odessa. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Romanoff is telling a story about an encounter she had with the Winter Soldier when he blew out her tires outside of Odessa. 
  • We are starting to see the Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) more and more, as he looms ominously in the background of several scenes of this episode. Could he be taking a more active role in future episodes and break the ‘anthology’ theme of the series? 

This was probably the best episode of Marvel’s What If…? yet, and there is a lot to discuss! 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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