I asked what could be worse than Thanos. What If… has answered.
Around the time What If started, and possibly before that, I asked out loud where Marvel was going to go after the Infinity Saga. What could possibly top a threat like that!? The problem of escalation is one that Marvel is still going to need to address someday, but for now it seems that What If has shown what REAL danger looks like.
Thanos was misguided and extremely destructive, but at least he was honest in his conviction. He wasn’t dusting half of the universe just to do it, he had his reasons and he stuck to them. He could have done nearly anything with a fully-equipped Infinity gauntlet and he stuck to his word, even going so far as to destroy the stones afterwards to avoid even the possibility of his own temptation.
He also had the physical drawback of the aftereffects of using the gauntlet at all. It wouldn’t be possible for him to use that power to that extent again, he simply wouldn’t survive. So the answer to the question of “What could possibly be worse than this” had a very simple answer. All of the Infinity stones in the hands of someone who wants to use them even more destructively without the limitations of a normal biological body.
Enter: Infinity Ultron. Infinitron. The Metal Master of Stones. I’ve seen him given plenty of names on the Internet, and a lot of thoughtful analysis on how he differs from the Mad Titan. He has all the stones collected and their commensurate power, but isn’t (currently) using them in a single destructive burst. He seems to be using them selectively and considerately to ensure his supremacy without changing his original and ultimate goal: the destruction of ALL life at his own hands.
It still remains to be seen if the finale of What If will tie in with the greater MCU or remain a cautionary side story. At this point I think it could go either way, and we will likely know soon enough.
Do you think that Ultron will make an Infinity-powered comeback in a future MCU movie, or is Marvel simply answering a question we’ve all been asking since the end of Phase 4?