The Avengers Already Solved What If’s SHIELD Mystery

SHIELD makes a confusing decision in Marvel’s What If…?, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe may have already explained it in The Avengers.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for What If…? episode 7.

SHIELD makes a baffling choice when dealing with Thor in Marvel’s What If…?, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe may have already explained it in The Avengers. What If…? episode 7 reveals what would happen in the MCU if Thor (Chris Hemsworth) was an only child. Without growing up alongside Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor becomes easily bored and turns into Party Thor, taking any chance he gets to indulge in revelry. So when Frigga (voiced by Josette Eales) goes on a trip after her husband falls into Odinsleep, Thor takes the opportunity to have a blowout party on Earth. Unfortunately, his partying could destroy the planet, so it puts him on the wrong side of Captain Marvel (voiced by Alexandra Daniels) and SHIELD.


Among other changes, What If…? episode 7 erases the events of The Avengers. The 2012 film was the MCU’s first significant ensemble project, bringing the Avengers together to take on Loki and his army of Chitauri aliens. However, since Loki grew up on Jotunheim as a Frost Giant in What If…? instead of on Asgard, he never develops jealousy for the God of Thunder. Instead, the pair become friends. Loki and other Ice Giants show up at Thor’s party on Earth. The Frost Giant prince even calls Thor his “brother from another mother.”

Related: The MCU Just Retconned Thor’s Silliest Phase One Mistake

SHIELD makes a rash choice regarding the God of Thunder in What If…?, and The Avengers explains why. After the events of Thor’s party render Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) unconscious, Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) becomes Acting Director of SHIELD and calls on Captain Marvel to come down to Earth and take care of Thor. However, Captain Marvel holds back her true powers since her full strength could cause several fatalities, and Thor wins their initial battle. After Captain Marvel tries to stop Thor again, taking the God of Thunder to an isolated location, SHIELD takes matters into its own hands. Despite Captain Marvel fighting Thor and handling the situation, Hill arms nuclear bombs and locks them on the pair’s location. Considering Thor’s party didn’t cause especially devastating damage, nukes seem like a drastic and confusing decision. However, The Avengers makes it more straightforward.

Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill and Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury

In a pre-Avengers world, nukes are Earth’s default plan. In The Avengers, Fury believes his team of heroes is enough to handle the alien invasion in New York, but the World Security Council disagrees. The Council wants to order a nuclear strike on Manhattan, which Fury believes is a “stupid-ass decision,” considering millions of civilian lives would be lost. The Council doesn’t care, and a jet with a missile eventually heads towards the city. What If…? episode 7 also showcases a world without Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. With the planet’s fate hanging in the balance and no Nick Fury to say otherwise like in The Avengers, SHIELD would clearly want to break out the nukes.

Hydra is another factor. With Hydra infiltrating SHIELD, the organization is more cavalier with human lives. Ultimately, Hill decides against using a nuclear bomb when Frigga intervenes, causing Thor to end his party abruptly. However, some SHIELD members aren’t so happy. “We never get to fire the nukes,” Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) says with a disappointed groan. But, of course, Rumlow is a known Hydra operative in the MCU, so it seems What If…? doesn’t do anything to stop the group from infiltrating SHIELD. With that in mind, SHIELD’s affinity for nuclear weapons makes sense.

More: Marvel Shows It Doesn’t Understand Thor’s MCU Arc

Marvel’s What If…? releases new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+

  • Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
  • The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023

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