Marvel Sparked an Infinity War Over Its New MCU Weapon – Is It a Plot Hole?

AbraxasOctober 10, 2021

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for What If…? Season 1, Episode 9, “What If… The Watcher Broke His Oath?,” streaming now on Disney+.

With What If…? turning Ultron into the deadliest entity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, powering him up with the Infinity Stones, it was left to Uatu and Strange Supreme to assemble the Guardians of the Multiverse to stop the killer robot. However, while they get their hands on the MCU’s newest and most powerful weapon, it also revived that nagging Infinity Stones plot hole in the series.

This weapon in question is the Infinity Crusher, which Gamora (in her Thanos armor) and Iron Man made in their reality. Uatu brought her and the crusher in to destroy the Infinity Stones, making Gamora arguably the most important part of their plan to stop the multiverse-menacing machine. However, things went awry when the team wrestled Ultron down and T’Challa’s Star-Lord was able to steal the Soul Stone from Ultron.

RELATED: Why Ultron Is So Much More Powerful Than Thanos With the Infinity Gauntlet

Infinity Stones in the What If Season 1 finale

Gamora powered her crusher up and used it to extract and destroy the other gems from Ultron’s vibranium Vision armor. But the bot didn’t die, and suddenly Gamora understood the predicament she and her associates were in — this crusher was meant to decimate the stones from her reality, not the one the Watcher shunted them into to battle Ultron.

This differentiation, of course, speaks to the Loki series, where we learned the stones, once taken out of their reality, won’t work. At least, that’s what appears to happen in the TVA, though it has been theorized its placement outside of time-space may be what’s negating their power. And yet, the stone-crushers, once they’re not in their reality, won’t work either. The problem with this, of course, is that, based on that logic, Ultron’s stones shouldn’t work in this reality either, let alone the others he’d been traveling through.

RELATED: What If Wasted Loki’s Biggest Character Changes

Here, though, he warps reality and even reverses time, while in the past, as he fought Uatu and barreled through the multiverse. Thus, he was breaking the rules Loki set up at the Time Variance Authority, where gems were rendered inert, as well as the rules the show had just established in the episode.

That said, as CBR reported, What If‘s Executive Producer and writer, A.C. Bradley, did address this situation, stating on Twitter, “Just a reminder that Ultron is using the Infinity Stones to power himself (same universe being). Also he’s legit punching across multiverses turning them into one messy universe soup.”

If this explanation holds, then the Infinity Stones retain their energy as a power source, if not an infinite well of that power to manipulate. However, as many fans pointed out in the exchange that followed on Twitter, Ultron still tapped into the individual energies of each stone and used their energies to affect the universe in which they were fighting. For that matter, so did Strange Supreme. As such, it’s an interesting explanation, but not one that holds water for many fans.

In any case, it’s an odd contradiction, but the MCU may be leveraging being vague to its advantage, with Ultron saying the gems work differently, rather than not working at all. We’re not sure if some secret will be revealed in Season 2 and subsequent shows or films, but it does cast instant doubt on whether Ultron should be the universe-spanning omnipotent god he became, or that Killmonger would be able to make the promises of change he did to his teammates. Of course, the Stones (or Gems) working outside their universe certainly isn’t the rule in the comics, but the MCU and Marvel’s comic book universe are so different now, that almost hardly matters.

Despite any explanation, the contradictory nature of the Stones does leave fans wondering if the ones Uatu trapped Killmonger and Zola-Ultron with in the pocket dimension would work there, and what that could mean for the future of What If and the MCU at large.

To see how the Infinity Stones’ plot hole arises and how convenient rules apply, What If…? Episode 9 is streaming now on Disney+.

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