WHAT IF... THE WORLD LOST ITS MIGHTIEST HEROES?: These Are The Most Likely Candidates For Fury's New Avengers

WHAT IF... THE WORLD LOST ITS MIGHTIEST HEROES?: These Are The Most Likely Candidates For Fury's New Avengers

The third episode of What If...? explored a universe in which the members of Fury's Avengers Initiative were all murdered, leaving him to form a new team of heroes, and here are the most likely candidates.

Season 1 of Marvel Studios' first animated series introduced many alternate universes, each slightly different than the mainline Marvel Cinematic Universe. While some of the entries in the season were wrapped up with a bow, others have implied futures.

Whether they seem to have a future in Season 2 or not, we are looking ahead at what could and would happen in each universe after we leave them. We already broke down what we think will take place for the future of Captain Carter and Star-Lord T'challa with our first two What If...?  theory entires, and now we turn our attention to Episode 3's Nick Fury.

Episode 3 of the animated series is titled What If... The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes? and for a good reason. The adventure adapts the events of Fury's Big Week, spanning the timelines of Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor. However, in this universe, each candidate for Nick Fury's Avengers Initiative is brutally eliminated one after the next.

To re-cap, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Hulk, Thor, and Black Widow are all killed by an enraged Hank Pym. Becoming Yellowjacket as he did in the comics, the aforementioned scientist in this universe lost both versions of Wasp to S.H.I.E.L.D. - his wife, Janet, and his daughter, Hope. Loki works with Fury to take down his brother's murderer and quickly sets his sights on the United Nations, creating a much bigger threat.

hanky

In a mad scramble to put together a team of New Avengers not included in his initiative, Fury uncovers Captain America in the ice and pages Captain Marvel, leaving Steve Rogers and Carol Danvers as the only Avengers. That changed in the finale, however, as The Watcher takes the Black Widow variant from What If... The Watcher Broke His Oath? and inserts her into Fury's world, knowing they lost their own Natasha.

In the closing moments of Season 1, we see Natasha work alongside Nick Fury, Captain America, and Captain Marvel to take down Loki's army. It is important to note that at this point, it is only 2010, due to Loki's early arrival after Thor's death, which means the God of Blunder Mischief attacked Earth two years earlier than he did in the live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is also key to remember, though, that Loki had his scepter during the battle, which means he has already been in contact with Thanos in this universe.

Taking all of those factors into account, we can look ahead at this universe and theorize who would be most likely to join Nick Fury, Captain America, Captain Marvel, and Black Widow on the team of New Avengers going forward in the universe from What If... The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?

furee

Ironically enough, the most likely candidate to join the New Avengers would be Wasp herself, the very same hero that unknowingly incited the deaths of the initial Avengers at her father's hands in a twisted play at revenge. The clearest evidence that points to Hope Van Dyne's return are The Watcher's own words in the closing moments of Episode 3 when Nick Fury gathers the Captains - "I believe in this universe, as in any other, Hope never dies." 

The argument could be made that The Watcher was using hope as a word and not a name, but in this very same episode, Natasha's final words were, "It's Hope! It's all about Hope!"  Fury listened to those words repeatedly until he realized Hope was a name in the context she used it in - and that in itself is enough to wager The Watcher meant the same thing in his final quote of the episode.

It's also important to keep in mind that in the mainline MCU, Janet went subatomic and was thought to be dead for decades as she wandered through the Quantum Realm. In What If... The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes? Hope is also thought to be dead after going on a mission for S.H.I.E.L.D., but is more likely also in the Quantum realm herself, with it being a different Wasp in this universe to take that journey.

furyyy

Wasp may be the most likely candidate to join the likes of Nick Fury, Captain Marvel, Captain America, and Black Widow, but who else would make the cut in this drastically different universe? Before we narrow down the list, let's check off all of the heroes that would likely never join the team due to the change in events in 2010.

  • Ant-Man (Scott Lang) would never be hired by Hank Pym to steal the suit.
  • Spider-Man (Peter Parker) would never have attended the Stak Expo or been recruited by Tony.
  • Vision (Jarvis) would never be created, as Tony and Bruce are too dead to create Ultron.
  • Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) would be a pre-teen until Ultron, which never takes place.
  • Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) would be in the same predicament as Wanda, still a child.
  • Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) wouldn't seek the mystic arts for six more years.

Following the process of elimination, it is much easier to predict who would join the team of heroes after Loki's defeat. The most likely candidates would be Warmachine (James Rhodes), Falcon (Sam Wilson), Black Panther (T'challa), and Lady Sif. 

warr

Already a member of the military and familiar with his best friend's armor, this is actually the same week that James Rhodes would normally commandeer the Warmachine armor for the first time. With the world missing an Armored Avenger and Rhodes' Tony-sized hole in his heart, it almost makes too much sense for Warmachine to join the New Avengers.

Sam Wilson is a bit trickier since in the main MCU timeline, he doesn't meet Steve Rogers until the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and it isn't clear when exactly Sam leaves the military. With Loki's Invasion taking place two years earlier, it is tricky. However, it is established that Sam already had the Falcon suit when he was still in para-rescue for the military. It isn't a stretch to imagine these two finding their way to one another in any universe, so we'll say Falcon is a pretty likely member for the squad.

We learned in Episode 6 that T'challa already carried the mantle of Black Panther before Tony became Iron Man, which means that the Wakandan Prince is very likely to join the group. Normally the nation of Wakanda doesn't choose to come out of the shadows until the events of Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther. In this universe, however, Loki took over the United Nations in 2010, which would very much affect the nation of Wakanda and likely brought T'challa to the team years earlier.

tchy

Lady Sif may seem out of place, but she and Loki have a history of not getting along. Add to that Thor's death affecting her emotions and Nick Fury putting an end to his killer, and Sif is likely to be on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s good side. Even in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Lady Sif makes multiple appearances to help Coulson, and the death of Thor leaves no Asgardian to chase down the rogue God of Mischief, so it's not at all hard to imagine Lady Sif filling the void joining Fury and his team to stop Loki's ascent. 

To re-cap, the most likely heroes to join Nick Fury, Black Widow, Captain America, and Captain Marvel are Wasp, Warmachine, Falcon, Black Panther, and Lady Sif. Do you guys think that is a likely line-up for Fury's New Avengers team from What If... The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?

We'd love to hear your take on our thoughts and who you think would be the most likely to sign up for the team, so as always, be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section!

Enter the multiverse of unlimited possibilities. Marvel Studios' first animated series, What If...?, starts streaming August 11 with new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+. “What If… ?” 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.

Marvel Studios' What If...? Season 1 is now streaming on Disney+.

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