BY MATT TUCK
The latest episode of What If..? may have connected the series’ alternate reality to the main MCU by way of a Loki Easter egg. SPOILER ALERT.
WHAT IF…? EPISODE THREE SPOILERS AHEAD
The newest installment of What If…? was less Disney than we have seen so far. The first two episodes featuring Captain Carter and Star-Lord T’Challa were lighthearted, fun adventures that fit in the traditional Disney pantheon. Episode Three took a dark turn as a serial killer murders superheroes before Nick Fury can recruit them for the Avengers Initiative. It leaves the Earth unprotected from Loki’s invasion, and the God of Mischief conquers the globe by the end.
Who was behind the murders that doomed Earth to Loki’s rule? The original Ant-Man, Hank Pym, voiced by Michael Douglas himself.
This version of Hank saw him take on the guise of Yellowjacket after Hope (the MCU’s Wasp) is killed in the line of duty as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Although the Ant-Man movie gave the Yellowjacket moniker to Darren Cross, What If…? took a cue from the comics since Hank was the original Yellowjacket.
Once Nick Fury and Loki team up to defeat Hank Pym, the Asgardians take him into custody before taking over the world. While that may seemingly wrap things up for evil Hank, there could be much bigger implications at work.
THE QUANTUM REALM AND THE VOID
All things are possible through the Multiverse and the Quantum Realm. Furthermore, the MCU has established that the two are linked. Using a heavy dose of comic book logic, the Quantum Realm is part of the Multiverse itself, existing beyond the limits of time and space.
Not only does the Quantum Realm hold the key to time travel as we saw in Endgame, but there are other worlds inside the QR. That could include the Void from Loki.
THE LOKI CONNECTION
At first glance, it may seem logical to the plot of Episode Three that Loki has seemingly imprisoned the evil Hank Pym. After all, Loki was brought to Earth to punish Thor’s killer, though that could have been a convenient excuse for an invasion, but I digress.
With the rapid fire Marvel releasing movies and shows, a series or film becomes old news in a matter of weeks. Between Kang, Black Widow, What If…?, Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings, Eternals, and the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer, it is easy to forget about what could be a very important Easter egg from Loki.
Think back to Loki Episode Five. As the lovable variants are traversing the Void, the camera pans across Yellowjacket’s helmet. Anytime an object is placed front and center even for a moment, it implies a future importance. Alfred Hitchcock made the technique famous and popularized the term MacGuffin. This is when a seemingly unimportant item is planted in the story in order for its use at a larger moment. Safe to say that Yellowjacket’s helmet is a MacGuffin.
At first, the internet largely agreed that it would come into play during Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. It was reported that Darren Cross actor Corey Stoll would be returning for the movie, and the logical assumption has been that the helmet belongs to him. That would help explain what happened to Cross and where he’s been since Ant-Man. However, Marvel just threw a wrench into that plan.
Could it be that the helmet we saw in Loki doesn’t belong to Darren Cross? Instead, it could very well be the property of evil Hank Pym from What If…?. After all, evil Hank is directly connected to his universe’s Loki, and he may have sent Yellowjacket into the Void as punishment for Thor’s murder. Maybe Hank escapes through the Quantum Realm and strands himself in the Void. For that matter, King Loki’s grief for his lost brother could be an act, and Hank may be working for the God of Mischief in their world. Who knows? In any case, it would not be difficult to use the Quantum Realm and the Multiverse to explain how Pymjacket gets from his world to the big screen MCU.
IT JUST MAKES SENSE
From a storytelling perspective, incorporating the evil Hank Pym from What If…? into Quantumania would make for a much more interesting conflict than Scott versus Darren, round two. It would also serve to establish that the universe of What If…? is directly connected to the MCU’s Earth-616, paving the way for even a new team of Avengers to enter the MCU.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.