Doctor Strange looking into a room in Marvel's What If...?

What To Watch Before ‘What If’ Season 2

Marvel’s What If…? season 2 is hitting Disney+ on December 22. Are you ready? Are you caught up on your Marvel lore? Are you feeling intimidated by all the homework you think you have to do? Don’t worry—you don’t need to watch all that much to understand What If…?. Here’s what to watch before What If…? season 2 premieres!

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What If…?, Marvel Studios’ first animated anthology series, explores the countless alternate timelines that exist within Marvel’s multiverse. These alternate universes mix up some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most well-known characters, putting them in new roles and exploring wildly different possibilities.

What If…? season 1 aired in 2021, giving viewers new scenarios like Agent Peggy Carter becoming a super soldier instead of Steve Rogers, and T’Challa becoming Star-Lord instead of Peter Quill. Many of the MCU’s actors, like Chris Hemsworth and the late Chadwick Boseman, returned to voice their characters in the series.

What to watch before What If…? season 2: What If…? season 1

What If…? season 1 introduces Uatu the Watcher (Jeffrey Wright), an extradimensional being who’s tasked with keeping an eye on all the realities within the multiverse. Uatu is returning in season 2, so if you want to get a feel for who he is and what he’s doing (I mean, aside from what I just wrote in the previous sentence), then watch the season premiere of What If…? season 1. That will also help you figure out if What If…? is up your alley or not.

If you like it, watch the whole season! The episodes are only half an hour each! Pop those suckers like bonbons! Or, if you just want to see where What If…? season 2 might pick up, watch the season finale of What If…? season 1, in which Uatu assembles a group of multiversal Avengers to defeat a variant of Ultron who’s destroying realities.

But wait! you might be thinking. If I skip around in the season, won’t that be super confusing? Remember, What If…? is an anthology show, so the episodes are pretty modular. Yeah, there’s an underlying storyline, but it’s mostly in the background.

What to watch before What If…? season 2: the Marvel films and TV shows of your choice

If you’re really intent on understanding all the lore behind What If…? season 2, then you can see which characters are appearing in each episode, watch the films and shows they appear in, and then watch the episode itself. Honestly, though? That’s a lot of viewing that won’t have much payoff if your only goal is to know who everyone is. What If…? has some fun connections to the larger MCU, but it’s still a lighthearted comedy. If season 2 is any good at all, you’ll still enjoy it even if you’re meeting some characters for the first time.

Instead, here’s a novel approach: watch each What If…? episode, and if you see a character you like, watch their film or series afterwards. For example, if Hela strikes your fancy, watch Thor: Ragnarok! The only character this guideline won’t apply to is Kahhori, who’s being introduced in the show.

The point is, What If…? is fun, but it’s not worth making your eyes bleed with Marvel movies if you aren’t already a fan. The show is more fun when you understand all the backstories, but don’t stress about it! Just take it in and enjoy yourself. That’s what Uatu would want.

(featured image: Disney+)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href=""></a>