The Most Violent And Disturbing Moments 'What If...?' Introduced To The MCU Multiverse

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Vote up the 'What If...?' moments that push the MCU into dark, new places.

Marvel's What If...? first entered print in 1977 with a story about what would happen if Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four. The series has been in and out of print since then, but the concept of putting familiar characters in new and strange situations has never changed.

In 2021, What If...? came to the small screen as an animated anthology series that showed audiences just how different the MCU would be if small pieces of lore worked out differently. The thing about this series is that it gets dark - like really, really dark. Some of the dark MCU What If...? moments are so upsetting, it's surprising they made it to air.

Which of these grim What If...? moments push the MCU into dark, new territory, and which of them are just interesting looks at things that could have been?

  • The Vision Feeding Fellow Avengers To A Zombified Wanda
    Photo: Disney+

    While undead Avengers aren't a new thing to comic book readers, anyone who gets their Marvel fix directly from the MCU has to be freaked out to see a zombie apocalypse take down their favorite heroes. The most upsetting and very off-brand aspect of this episode is the reveal that Vision is so in love with the zombified Wanda Maximoff that he's feeding her human remains.

    It's not just any human remains, though; when the surviving members of the Avengers make their way to Camp Lehigh in New Jersey so they can snag the Mind Stone from Vision, they discover he's been keeping Wanda sated by feeding her survivors who've responded to a signal Vision has been transmitting from his base. The reveal of Vision's misdeeds are cross-cut with Bucky's discovery of a half-eaten - but still living - T'Challa on a cold medical table.

    This piece of plot development is fitting in a horror movie, but it's really disturbing within the context of the MCU. However, if you've been craving more zombies in your life, this may be the What If...? episode for you.

    741 votes
  • The Hulk Blowing Up Due To Pym Particles
    Photo: Disney+

    In episode three of What If...?, most of the original Avengers eat it in one upsetting way or another, but the Hulk's explosive final moments have to be upsetting to anyone who's fallen in love with this nerdy green monster. As an MCU fan favorite, no one wants to see this guy go out this way.

    After Black Widow tracks Banner down to a discreet laboratory, he's shot by a mysterious bullet that seems to come from one of the hundreds of cavalrymen who have circled the place. Banner Hulks out and starts whomping the military before he starts expanding to an even larger size than we're used to. He grows and grows until he straight-up explodes into a puddle of green goo. 

    Banner's blood is on the hands of an insane Hank Pym, who uses his Pym Particles to make the Hulk go boom. As comic-booky as that is, it's still a grim fate for this beloved hero.

    591 votes
  • The Zombified Avengers Devouring Cull Obsidian And Ebony Maw
    Photo: Disney+

    Horror movie fans will argue forever about which is better: fast zombies or slow zombies. But what about zombies that used to be members of the Avengers? Episode 5 of What If...? posits that very question, and while there are no hard answers on the fast-versus-slow debate (these are fast, by the way), it does show audiences just how bad it would be if Earth's greatest heroes started eating brains. 

    The episode begins with Bruce Banner falling to Earth and landing in the Sanctum Sanctorum before walking out into the deserted streets of New York City. Thanos's boys, Cull Obsidian and Ebony Maw, show up to taunt Banner, and moments before they take him down, a zombified Tony Stark, Doctor Strange, and Wong show up and lay waste to the two goons.

    The former heroes don't just whomp Thanos's henchmen; they eat them alive and turn them into unwilling participants in the zombie apocalypse. It's brutal out there.

    400 votes
  • 4
    371 VOTES

    Ultron Launching All Of The Earth's Nuclear Weapons At Once

    Ultron Launching All Of The Earth's Nuclear Weapons At Once
    Photo: Disney+

    In the absolutely wild eighth episode of What If...?, things go upside-down from the jump after Ultron defeats the Avengers after taking over Vision's body and the Mind Stone. With an Infinity Stone powering his machinations, Ultron wastes no time in launching all of Earth's nuclear weapons at once, thrusting the planet into nuclear winter and wiping out pretty much everyone on the planet aside from Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton.

    Yeah. It's pretty grim stuff, and it happens within the first six minutes of the episode. The MCU has dipped its toes into depressing moments before (the Snap, Asgard's destruction) but having one of the most chatty villains destroy the entire planet and wipe most of its heroes out is absolutely grim.

    The thing about the Snap is that it was reversed, and Ragnarok just led to the people of Asgard being moved to Norway, but this is a world-ending catastrophe that no one comes back from. You're not going to see that happening in theaters any time soon.

    371 votes
  • Ultron Slicing Thanos In Half
    Photo: Disney+

    As depressing as this episode is - what with everyone on the planet perishing in a nuclear holocaust - it does have one super fun moment. Following the Earth's destruction, Thanos shows up to take the Mind Stone from Ultron, and the AI that just wiped out humanity doesn't waste a second in bisecting the big, purple bad guy with the flick of a laser.

    Thor may have decapitated Thanos in Endgame, but this is next-level. Do we want to see an MCU where the Earth is in a nuclear winter? No. But it would be kind of cool to see Thanos cut in half about 10 seconds into Infinity War.

    422 votes
  • Clint Barton Dying Alone In S.H.I.E.L.D. Custody
    Photo: Disney+

    After taking Thor out with an arrow straight to the heart, Clint Barton is remanded to S.H.I.E.L.D. custody until he can be questioned. Before that can happen, Barton keels over from mysterious circumstances. It's not really the kind of thing that we're used to seeing in the MCU - at least not in the case of major players like Hawkeye.

    Even though it's explained that an insane Hank Pym shrunk down to the molecular level to pull off the hit, it's still really upsetting that a guy with a wife and kids was just taken out with no pomp and circumstance. There's a brutal efficiency to this death that only gets worse when you think about how sad it is that he perished alone in a prison cell. 

    367 votes