Over the course of What If...?, we've seen Peggy Carter become Captain Carter, T’Challa as Star Lord, and five of the original Avengers murdered in a fit of rage and revenge. This week came the time to see Doctor Strange in a reality that saw him driven mad and turn evil.
With Benedict Cumberbatch returning to the MCU to voice not one, but two versions of his character, as well as Rachel McAdams and Tilda Swinton, this episode had the potential to be the best in the series so far. It’s fair to say that it more than lived up to this potential.
The Watcher took fans through a universe in which Doctor Strange didn’t seek help in the mystic world to save his hands, but to try and bring his love back to life. There were some devastating moments, and truly horrifying parallels to Strange’s solo movie back in 2016, showcasing exactly what a 'what if' story should be.
This was unlike anything previously seen in the MCU, and while these stories all take place in their own realities, that doesn’t mean there can’t be things learned about the past, present, and possibly even the future of the franchise from them.
10. Two Years?!
While the events of most MCU movies take place over the course of a relatively short period of time, be it weeks, or even days, Doctor Strange was different. Though it was never truly specified over how long the events of the movie took place, it was always thought be several years at least.
Stephen Strange had his car crash, exhausted every potential medical avenue for help, bled himself dry of money, traveled to Kamar-Taj, trained to become a sorcerer, fought off Kaecilius and Dormammu, and rose to become the Sorcerer Supreme and mystic protector of the universe.
According to episode four of What If…?, all of this occurred within a two year stretch. When Strange is sitting with his whiskey, contemplating the past, he tells Wong that Christine Palmer died two years ago that very night.
It has always been clear how talented Strange was, and how quickly he took to the mystic arts, but even so this seems ridiculously short. He surpassed the talents and skills of just about every sorcerer at Kamar-Taj in less time that it would have taken him to go through medical school.