The Marvel Cinematic Universe just spent three long years deeply entrenched in the multiverse, and not every attempt has been successful. Now, in 2023, the lasting legacy of the Multiverse Saga basically amounts to a few movies, Loki, and the ongoing animated anthology What If…?

Technically, the entire arc could still come to a crescendo in the next Avengers movie, but the apparently untitled crossover movie is currently such an unknown that we wouldn’t bet on it. Avengers 5 could still be Kang Dynasty or even Secret Wars, but it could just as easily wind up being Avengers: Return of Thanos.

So what’s next for Marve’s multiverse? One crucial moment in the final episode of What If Season 2 seems to hint that the saga may already be over. With only one Marvel movie scheduled for 2024, did we just see a major chapter of the franchise quietly come to an end?

What If Season 2’s ending explained

Strange Supreme is the big villain of What If Season 2 Episode 9.

Marvel Comics

In What If Season 2 Episode 9, Captain Carter and Kahhori face off against a vengeful Strange Supreme, who has captured dozens of superheroes and villains with a plan to sacrifice all of them in exchange for the love of his life, Christine. (Remember: In What If Season 1, it’s established Christine’s demise was a “fixed moment” that couldn’t be undone without destroying the entire universe.)

After defeating Strange, the Watcher offers to bring Peggy back to her home universe, but she suggests a few more adventures along the way. The Watcher waves his hand and the two look out onto Yggdrasil, the massive multiversal tree Loki established at the end of Loki Season 2.

When this “tree” premiered in Loki, it was seen by many as the last word in the Multiverse. Loki now exists in the middle of what used to be the Time Loom, allowing multiverses to coexist without much intervention — while huge threats like Kang the Conqueror are now limited to just a manila folder in one of Mobius’ file cabinets.

What It Means for Marvel’s Multiverse Saga

Yggdrasil, the “Time Tree” that Loki created, appears in What If.

Marvel Studios

Yggdrasil’s appearance here seems to confirm the consensus around the Loki finale. The multiverse is no longer a concern. Instead, it’s something that can continue to be explored. So while the live-action MCU can hopefully move on to bigger and better things, What If can forge onto Season 3 with self-contained adventures that aren’t dependent on other works — and don’t need to worry about setting up future movies either.

The multiverse has always been the framing device for What If, but now that the greater narrative is moving on, the series can flourish as the pure anthology series it has the potential to be. At least, that’s one theory for where the MCU is headed next.

All episodes of What If Season 2 is now streaming on Disney+.

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