Why You’ve Never Seen The MCU"s Best Marvel Multiverse Story

  • A What If...? spinoff presents an interactive story with two unique endings based on viewer choices.
  • The episode takes the concept of branching timelines to new levels by involving the audience in affecting the multiverse.
  • Unfortunately, the story is limited to certain viewers, making it an overlooked addition to the MCU.
This article contains spoilers for What If...? - An Immersive Story
Three years since the Multiverse Saga began, what may be the MCU's best What If...? story so far may not have been seen by many. Ever since Loki season 1 sparked its rebirth, the multiverse has been affecting all corners of the MCU. This has resulted in the arrival of Spider-Man variants in Spider-Man: No Way Home, a jaunt across several universes in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and the arrival of the MCU's biggest threat yet - the Council of Kangs - in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
The animated MCU show, What If...?, meanwhile, has been exploring in greater depth other universes in which branching timelines arise from the smallest of diversions from the main MCU timeline. Although What If...? season 2 concluded in December 2023, a bonus episode of sorts has recently emerged in an unusual guise. What If...? - An Immersive Story is a collaborative effort between Marvel Studios and the Apple Vision Pro to deliver another branching timeline story, and it may be one of the best multiverse stories yet.
Related What If...? Season 3: Stories, Characters & Everything We Know What If...? season 3 is in development at Marvel Studios, continuing the animated series and exploring more realities in the MCU"s multiverse.
What If's VR Story Explained Close What If...? - An Immersive Story is an interactive episode of What If...? that turns the viewer/player into the so-called "Hero of the Multiverse," a protagonist with an innate talent for sorcery that Wong helps to hone in a matter of minutes. It opens with the Watcher beseeching the Hero for their help in halting three villains from getting hold of select Infinity Stones in their timelines and changing the natural course of the multiverse. The hero does this with the help of the Soul and Space Stones and the Watcher's ability to transport them to new universes.
What If...? - An Immersive Story Villain
Infinity Stone
Reality Stone
To reshape Titan so that it has enough resources to aid his dying people.
Bandaged Man/Steve Rogers
Power Stone
To help end a version of World War 2 that continued after the Allied Powers disbanded.
Young Hela and The Collector
Time Stone
To rescue a young Fenris from the Collector's captivity by trading her for the Time Stone.
The Hero collects Infinity Stones in the process of stopping the villains in question, only for "The Watcher" to reveal himself as Scarlet Witch in disguise. Scarlet Witch seizes the Infinity Stones for herself, intending to use them to create a brand-new multiverse in her image. She then sends the Hero to the Soul Realm alongside the villains. Here, the player meets Vision, whose death is an Absolute Point in time and something that Wanda intends to prevent.
After being freed by Wong and aiding in the Scarlet Witch's defeat, the Hero transports Wanda and Vision to the Soul Realm to be together forever. The Hero of the Multiverse then faces a difficult decision: destroy the Infinity Stones and allow the multiverse to run its natural course, or allow the villains to use them as they intended. This then gives way to two very different endings.
Destroy the stones
Thanos reconciles having no power and leads his people on Titan.
Steve Rogers
Steve, Red Guardian, and Bucky form the tri-musketeers and help defeat HYDRA independently of global governments.
Hela accepts losing Fenris and learns the meaning of life, becoming the Goddess of Life.
The Watcher introduces the Hero to Captain Carter, who enlists the Hero's help.
Use the stones
Thanos restores Titan but gets a taste for power and turns his sights to the universe.
Steve Rogers
Steve gives the power stone to Thunderbolt Ross, who uses it to create an army of super soldiers.
Hela gets her way and becomes the warrior her father wanted her to be, turning into a warlike tyrant.
The Hero is visited by Miss Minutes, who foregoes pruning their timeline to enlist them as a TVA agent after introducing them to the TVA's newest recruit, Deadpool.
What If's VR Story Beats Marvel's Current Multiverse Stories Because It Takes Things To The Next Level Close The notion of branching timelines created by single decisions feels far more real when placing that decision at the viewers' feet.
What If...? - An Immersive Story treads entirely new ground in MCU storytelling. The nature of the multiverse and What If...? stories lend themselves perfectly to a choose-your-own-adventure structure and this project encapsulates that potential. By placing the viewer front-and-center, it takes the mind-bending premise of What If...? to all-new levels as the audience themselves affect the multiverse.
The notion of branching timelines created by single decisions feels far more real when placing that decision at the viewers' feet. This heightens the concept even more, as it feels far less restrictive than the stories being told within the closed structure of a standard episode. The two endings also appear to herald even more interactive What If...? stories, suggesting that Marvel intends to tell more stories in this particularly unique setting.
What If's VR Story Further Proves It's The Multiverse Saga's Most Underrated Release Unfortunately, What If...? - An Immersive Story is restricted to the handful of people who own Apple Vision Pros. This precludes a huge swathe of MCU fans from even being aware of this particular Multiverse Saga story, making it a criminally overlooked addition to the MCU that finally treads new ground as fans clamor for new genres. While playthroughs can be watched online via platforms like YouTube, the fact that it is not watchable through typical means like Disney+ or cinemas means that it will largely fly under the radar.
This is a status that is shared by no other MCU installment. The canonicity of What If...? - An Immersive Story is up for debate, but the very nature of the multiverse suggests that it is as canon as any other universe, including Sony's Spider-Man franchises and Fox's X-Men franchise. Thankfully, this also means that the consequences of missing out on this underrated MCU installment extend only to the fact that it is worth a watch, even if it does not impact the main MCU storyline.
What If...? Where to Watch *Availability in US
stream rent buy Not available
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What If… ? is an animated anthology series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe which features fan-favorite characters, including Peggy Carter, T’Challa, Doctor Strange, Killmonger, Thor, and more. The new series, directed by Bryan Andrews with AC Bradley as head writer, features signature MCU action with a curious twist. The show sees Uatu the Watcher, an omnipotent being that observes the events of multiple universes from afar as they unfold, unable to interfere. However, things shift when an entity peers beyond the veil, jeopardizing the multiverse. 
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 Release Date August 11, 2021 Seasons 2 Streaming Service(s) Disney Plus Writers Ashley Bradley , Matthew Chauncey Directors Bryan Andrews Expand Upcoming Marvel Movies
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