Towards the end of December 2023, Disney and Marvel released the eagerly anticipated Marvel’s What If…? Season 2 after nearly two years of waiting. But now that it’s here, I have watched every episode at least five times as I was trying to figure out which episodes were my favorites out of the bunch and believe me, that was a task.
Unlike Marvel’s What If…? Season 1, this season’s episodes are all great. Sure, some have more greatness than others, but putting these in a spot was an ordeal. But I’ve done it and ranked Marvel’s What If…? Season 2 episodes from worst to best. Again, there is no worst episode here, but I can’t say this episode isn’t as good as the other one, but it is still good. Right?
For those unfamiliar with Marvel’s What If…? series, these animated series are a continuation of Marvel’s What If…? comic books. Both seasons 1 and 2 of Marvel’s What If…? take a look at all of the MCU movies and provide different alternatives, providing a different ending or changing up events that are happening with those movies. Be sure to check out our review of Marvel’s What If…? Season 2 to get caught up.
Ok, enough rambling. On to the list.
9. What If…Happy Hogan Saved Christmas?
While this episode was fun, it was a lot of fun, with some comedy. While it finally gave Kat Denning’s Darcy some much-deserved screen time, it didn’t serve any purpose, unlike the rest of the episodes. It was also nice to see a familiar face return after being wiped from the face of the MCU: the return of Justin “I’ll be Back” Hammer. We haven’t seen him since he was hauled off by the police towards the end of Iron Man 2. I also enjoyed the creation of Happy Hogan’s version of the Hulk, which also appears in several other episodes this season as well. This episode is a fun Christmas gift, but nothing more.
8. What If…Nebula Joined the Nova Corps?
I’ve never liked how the MCU portrayed the Nova Corps. The once super-powered space police, Marvel’s versions of DC Comics Green Lanterns, have never been compelling, interesting, or SUPER POWERED! That said, I enjoy Nebuila and her growth as a character since her introduction. In this Blade Runner-like episode, we see Nebula tasked with tracking down Youdu’s killer and eventually saving Xandar. Oh, she also works alongside Yon-Rogg from Captain Marvel. Who? This episode had so much potential, but it was also way too easy to connect the dots, and for an episode that was more of a detective episode, that’s never a good sign.
Also, this wouldn’t be the same Nebula that nearly killed Thanos but gets stomped by a bunch of non-powered corrupted cops wielding sticks. Really? Bonus points for Howard the Duck making an appearance.
7. What If…Peter Quill Attacked Earth’s Mightiest Heroes?
I’m not going to lie; this episode was all over the place. The premise is what would happen if Ego sent his son to Earth to carry out his plan of taking over the universe instead of doing it himself. Lazy father much? We get a much younger Peter Quill taking on a 1980s version of the Avengers, who don’t do a good job, that is, until Thor crashes the party and takes down Quill, but not before being missing for someone from a music group. Then we have Hank Pym’s daughter, a younger version of Hope, bonding with Peter, finding out why he’s here, and freeing him. Why couldn’t the Avengers talk to him instead of attacking him?
In the end, Hank Pym saves the say by inviting Peter into his family to replace his deceased wife, turning Petter and his power to the side of the Avengers, and they all take down Ego at the end. It was too much, too fast, but the concept was cool. I also loved that Bill Foster finally got some time to be Giant-Man/Goliath. This episode should have been called “What If… A Little Girl Outclassed the Avengers” because that’s what it was.
6. What If…Iron Man Crashed Into the Grandmaster?
At the end of The Avengers, Tony Stark stops New York from being eradicated by the nuke headed to the city, sends it into a portal, and makes it back in one piece. In this episode, that doesn’t happen, and instead, Iron Man doesn’t fall fast enough to escape the closing portal. Instead, he was sent to Sakaar, where he encountered Gamora, the Grandmaster, Valkrie, and Korg. Instead of fighting in the arena, he races chariots and eventually a super-powered suit that turns into a car to take on the Grandmaster while convincing Gamora to become a good guy. Well, that, and not kill him.
The racing bit was fun, but this episode didn’t do much for me outside of that. There are also a few plot holes that weren’t cleared up. How did Iron Man conveniently make it to Sakaar? Why doesn’t the episode explain how Gamora and Stark work together, as seen in What If…? Season 1? How did Stark even make that suit without a lab? Why the heck is Korg so annoying?
5. What If…Hela Found The Ten Rings
This one is another episode where you could have seen the ending a mile away. A take on Thor: Ragnarok, instead of Odin sending Hela to hell, away with her powers, he sends her to Earth without her magical helm, but enchanting it so that only someone pure of heart could use it. Then, she ends up meeting Xu Wenwu from Shang-Chi, and he falls in love with her fighting ability and beauty. She escapes him and ends up in the enchanted murder forest, where she encounters Jiayi, who teaches her the ways of the force (yes, I did drop a Star Wars reference).
But instead of naturally fighting Wenwu, Odin makes an appearance (surprise), and suddenly Wenwu and Hela take on Odin… and win. Yes, against God Freaking Odin. Of course, it was all a test, and Odin sent Hela to Earth to teach her humanity and to mend her ways. And instead of having a redemption arc for one former villain, Hela and Wenwu become Guardians of the Galaxies. The episode title is a bit confusing, as Hela didn’t find the Ten Rings, but she found the man who had the rings, who fell in love with her. Sure, I guess that works instead of saying all that.
4. What If…Captain Carter Fought the Hydra Stomper?
I’ve been a big fan of Captain America for as long as I can remember. And I’ve been perhaps a bigger fan of Captain Carter/Peggy ever since she appeared in Marvel Puzzle Quest, which happened to be her first official appearance. In this episode, we see Icon take on Icon in a Captain America: The Winter Solider scenario, with bits of Black Widow sprinkled; it was pretty damned cool. Continuing from What If…? Season 1, Captain Carter discovers that Steve Rogers is still alive, thanks to the Hydra Stomper suit. However, since he’s been out of the picture, it’s been discovered that the Red Room captured Steve and has been performing missions for them.
Not too thrilled about that, Carter takes on Steve, rekindles some romantic feelings, and the two almost share a kiss that has been waiting for a lifetime. Only to be cut short by some mind games, lovers fighting each other, and eventually, the loss of Steve Rogers again, which hits Peggy where it counts. This episode has bunches of action, but more than that, feelings and desire that it hurts to see Peggy and Steve still not getting the happy ending they both deserve.
Oh, and I’ll need all the toy companies working on an updated Winter Solider Hydra Stomper version. Let’s go!
3. What If…The Avengers Assembled In 1602?
Oh, Peggy, it isn’t in the cards for you. At the end of What If…Captain Carter Fought the Hydra Stomper? Peggy was swept into time (again) to the year 1602 of a different universe, thanks to the Scarlet Witch of that universe. Something has been causing rifts that would send people to places unknown, and the Scarlet Witch figured Captain Carter was the answer to the situation. This episode was a mixture of Robin Hood, as we also got a huge support cast of Bucky, Ant-Man, Bruce Banner/Hulk, Loki, Nick Fury, Thor, Steve Rogers, and even Happy Hogan Hulk.
Sadly, it turns out that these rifts were caused by someone who didn’t belong in that world and is somehow causing them. That part was never explained and was glossed over. Sadly, in the end, Steve Rogers was the person who was out of time (again) and needed to be sent home. Yet again, Peggy and Steve had a few tender moments, only to be ripped apart again. I shed a tear seeing Rogers and Carter finally together, closer than ever, then seeing Peggy so distraught at the end.
2. What If…Kahhori Reshaped the World?
This episode was amazing, and picking between the final three episodes was hard. In truth, I loved them all equally, but this is a ranking, so here we go. I loved how much was accomplished in this episode. First, we get introduced to a new character, Kahhori, a Native American. Not only that, but she and her people also spoke their native tongue for most of the episode. We get most of her backstory and witness her transformation from a loving sister to a person coming into her powers, but instead of wanting to do crazy things with them, she only wants to protect her people. She is a willful, confident, firm protector of her tribe who only wants peace. I hope that Marvel does something more with Kahhori instead of leaving her stuck in the What If…? universe because it would be a shame and a waste of a character destined for more.
1. What If… Strange Supreme Intervened?
Here, we see Strange Surpreme return after going from a misguided (not actually bad) that has his redemption story during the finale of What If…? Season 1. Now, he’s collecting back, seemingly collecting possible universe killers: An admirable endeavor. Picking up Peggy Carter from her prior outing in 1602 that left her stranded there, he recruits her to help him track down a missing prisoner. Or so we thought, as we found out Strange had gone bonkers, and he’s trying to recreate his universe and the love of his life, Christine, by snatching anyone with significant power and offering them up to a device he’s created. We got to see some excellent fights involving Captain Carter, Kahhori, and Strange, as well as other characters we’ve seen in the past battling it out. This episode was a “What If…we had everyone fight everyone else.”
Though, in the end, the episode left me scratching my head. I mean, Strange Supreme is a character who could take on Infinity Ultron pretty much on his own. Yet, he didn’t have the insight or power to take down Kahhori (more on her later) without involving Captain Carter, the character who ended up being the entire cause of his failure. But perhaps the biggest kicker in this episode is that at the end of it all, we get to see Loki, the newly formed Yggdrasil, the World Tree, as seen at the end of Loki Season 2. This caused me to believe this meant that there were more stories to tell and that we would get an announcement of Marvel’s What If…? Season 3. I was hiding under a rock when it was mentioned that season 3 was already in production.
That’s my Marvel’s What If… Season 2 ranking and I’m sticking to it. Of course, if you disagree with me, let me know in the comments section.
Marvel’s “What If…? Season 2” is streaming on Disney Plus.