The first episode of Marvel’s Disney+ show What If…? introduced a universe where Peggy Carter became Captain Britain, but who later became Iron Man? After decades of offering comic readers a glimpse into what might have been in the Marvel universe if different choices had been made or different events occurred, the What If…? brand has officially transitioned into the animated realm. Narrated by The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright), What If…? specifically puts a spin on the events that happened in the main MCU timeline.
What If…? picked a good story to debut with, as Hayley Atwell – and a handful of other MCU actors from Captain America: The First Avenger – returned to voice Peggy Carter and her allies. However, this time it was Peggy who ended up getting transformed via Dr. Erskine’s supersoldier serum and became the one to take the fight against Red Skull and Hydra. This happens after a twist in events leaves Steve Rogers too injured to undergo the procedure, with Agent Carter receiving the same superhuman abilities, and also a much more muscular frame. Naturally, most men of the time aren’t exactly on board with this development.
Still, Captain Britain, or Captain Carter as she’s also called, proves to be a formidable crusader against Red Skull and Hydra, just as Steve was in the same scenario. That’s not surprising, as a big reason the two are so compatible is that they share a drive to do what’s right, no matter the personal cost. In this timeline, Steve helps out too from inside the Hydra Stomper mech suit, created by Tony Stark’s father Howard. That begs the question though, of who ultimately became Iron Man in this scenario’s future, with the answer probably not being Tony.
With Bucky having not become The Winter Soldier, there are several reasons Tony likely didn’t end up as Iron Man, although it’s certainly still a theoretical possibility. For one, Tony didn’t invent the battle suit idea first in this universe. Secondly, it’s quite possible that since Bucky was not mind-controlled into killing Howard Stark, and if that happened, Tony may not have ended up running the family company so soon, and not ended up in a cave with a box of scraps at all. The potential butterfly effects of What If…?‘s changes to this MCU timeline are numerous, and may well leave Tony as the billionaire playboy he began the normal MCU as.
As for who might’ve become Iron Man instead of Robert Downey Jr’s Tony, and thus served as the first modern-day recruit of Nick Fury’s Avengers Initiative, it could very well be a descendant of Steve Rogers, since he piloted the Hydra Stomper. While Steve himself would be elderly by the time Peggy was rescued from the Lovecraftian dimension on the other side of that portal, his son or grandson could be piloting an Iron Man-esque mech suit by 2012. That could lead to the odd circumstance of Steve’s descendant working alongside the woman he loved as part of What If…?‘s Avengers team. As long as the two didn’t kiss, and create the levels of awkwardness felt when Steve and Sharon shared a kiss. On the other hand, Howard’s tech may have evolved so much by 2012 that the Avengers are assisted by an A.I.-controlled squadron of Iron Man suits, like what Tony dubbed the Iron Legion.
What If…? releases new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.