DISCLAIMER: This recap of the What If…? episode “What If… Zombies!?” is riddled with spoilers. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own peril.
Welcome back, Marvel fans! We’ve reached the halfway point in Season One of Marvel’s What If…? This time, it’s all about zombies. “What If… Zombies!?” is one of the show’s strongest outings thus far in my mind, alongside last week’s Dr. Strange episode and the T’Challa/Star-Lord installment. Perhaps it’s the horror geek in me that loves seeing this amalgam of genres. But anytime Marvel ventures outside its standard fare is sure to be a good time.
The visuals are stunning here. Zombie Cap! Zombie Scarlet Witch! Scott Lang’s levitating, dad-joke-making head! Horror is a nice look for Marvel.
This week closes on quite the cliffhanger, and I hope we get a resolution to it soon.
Ready to delve into “What If… Zombies!?” Let’s get to it.
We open with the Watcher (voiced by Jeffrey Wright), ushering us into a new story. Bruce Banner (voiced by Mark Ruffalo) falls to Earth with a warning: Thanos is coming. He lands in the Sanctum Sanctorum. But here’s the rub — the place is desolate.
Suddenly, Ebony Maw (voiced by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) emerges. He informs Bruce that Earth will fall at the hands of the Children of Thanos. Well, that is until Iron Man, Dr. Strange and Wong swoop into the rescue.
But something’s amiss. The superhero trio seems… off. That’s because they’re zombies!
Bruce is about to be toast when Strange’s Cloak of Levitation and Hope Van Dyne (voiced by Evangeline Lilly) save him from becoming breakfast.
Then, we learn that Hank Pym ventured into the Quantum Realm to rescue his wife, Janet Van Dyne. Unfortunately, she contracted a quantum virus, which Hank carried with him when he returned to the real world. Thus, the “zombie outbreak” engulfed the west coast.
Even the Avengers succumbed to the virus.
Next, we see Peter Parker (voiced by Hudson Thames) is recording a “surviving the zombie apocalypse” video. His pal Kurt (voiced by David Dastmalchian) makes an appearance. Happy (voiced by Jon Favreau), everyone’s favorite Thor fan, also cameos.
Peter attempts to stage different scenarios wherein one might encounter zombies. For instance, the shower. We see Bucky (voiced by Sebastian Stan) almost fall prey to danger, but thankfully, his metal arm is an asset. Sharon Carter (voiced by Emily VanCamp) takes on a supporting role in Peter’s video.
Side note: Hudson Thames has the perfect voice for Peter Parker. It’s so spot-on.
Okoye (voiced by Danai Gurira) chastises Peter for wasting time. Bruce is brought to her encampment, wherein some of our MCU favorites are fighting for survival.
Later, we learn there’s another survivor camp. However, Bucky reveals its beacon was corrupted in transit. Sharon knows the location of the said beacon — Camp Lehigh in New Jersey. It’s S.H.I.E.L.D.’s first base of operations.
Happy is ecstatic about going to Jersey (not).
Initially, the team utilizes Pym Particles to shrink their transport. Suddenly, they come face-to-face with a zombie, forcing them to forgo the van and head into Grand Central Station.
Okoye urges them to split up, but Peter’s seen enough horror movies to know how that’ll end.
Happy and Sharon are together, while Peter, Bruce, Kurt and Hope find a train. Peter uses his webs to pull the train while Bruce and Hope tinker with it. Okoye and Bucky contend with Zombie Sam Wilson, who almost kills Bucky. Okoye saves him.
Now, Happy is armed with a repulsor. He yells out, “Blam!” every time he blasts it. It’s adorable.
Suddenly, Zombie Hawkeye takes out Happy and shoots Sharon in the shoulder. Funnily enough, Zombie Happy is in the middle of saying, “Blam!” when Sharon blasts him to heaven (death).
Fortunately, the group successfully gets their transport moving and grooving. Okoye, Bucky, Sharon and Peter hop on board. Peter’s even donning the Cloak of Levitation. Foreshadowing?
Next, Sharon encounters Zombie Captain America. Admittedly, the image of Steve Rogers as a zombie armed with the shield is pretty damn cool. Bucky swoops in, but it’s too late. Sharon’s morphed into one of the undead.
So, Bucky promptly dispatches Cap while Hope kills Sharon. “Looks like it’s the end of the line,” Bucky tells Cap. No, I’m not getting Captain America: The Winter Soldier vibes. Nope.
But Hope receives a cut from Zombie Sharon, which means it won’t be long until she transforms. Peter encourages her to hold fast to hope. His unyielding optimism prevails.
Later, our surviving crew is closer to Camp Lehigh. Unfortunately, Kurt reveals the train is bereft of fuel. A horde of zombies is looming outside, waiting to feast.
Thus, Hope decides to sacrifice herself so her friends can find a cure.
She morphs into a giant and cradles Bruce, Bucky, Okoye, Kurt and Peter in her hands. She deposits them on the other side of Camp Lehigh’s fence. Then, she succumbs to the clambering mass of zombies around her.
Meanwhile, our gang finds Vision (voiced by Paul Bettany) at Camp Lehigh. Vision is armed with the Mind Stone, and the zombies have quite a repugnance to it.
We learn Vision successfully converted a zombie back to a human with the Mind Stone. It’s Scott Lang (voiced by Paul Rudd)! Well, his head, anyway. Vision placed Scott’s head in a jar, which is reminiscent of the talking heads on Futurama.
Bruce excitedly muses whether they could broadcast the Mind Stone’s frequency across the globe to cure the outbreak. But Vision is inexplicably reticent—Bucky ventures into the corridors to hunt for rogue zombies.
Our Winter Soldier finds T’Challa (voiced by Chadwick Boseman) lying on a table. His leg is half gone. We see Zombie Scarlet Witch is lurking in the shadows. Apparently, T’Challa has been on the lunch menu for the now-zombified Wanda. Bucky helps T’Challa out of that mess.
The pair reunite with the rest of the crew. Okoye is elated to see T’Challa, but, naturally, irate with Vision for feeding him to Zombie Scarlet Witch. Much like Wanda in WandaVision, Vision put innocent folks in harm’s way to save the love of his life.
Apparently, she’s too powerful to be swayed by the Mind Stone. So, he felt the only thing he could do was satiate her appetite and keep her contained.
Suddenly, Zombie Scarlet Witch enters the fray. She takes out Kurt. Vision helps the group escape. Unfortunately, Okoye also falls prey to Wanda’s hunger. We see the building collapse once the remaining survivors are outside.
Then, Vision plucks the Mind Stone out of his head. He must “atone” for the wrongs he’s committed. He dies. Bruce snags the stone, and the crew flees to a lone jet.
Meanwhile, Bucky lays down his life to ward off Zombie Scarlet Witch. Peter, Scott, T’Challa and Bruce make it to the jet, but they’re having engine issues. Plus, the zombies are advancing on them. Bruce hands the Mind Stone to Peter and vows to extricate the group from the horde so they can fly to Wakanda.
We see Bruce transform into the big green guy to duke it out with Zombie Scarlet Witch. It’s a badass scene.
While Peter, T’Challa and Scott are airborne, the latter spots Giant Zombie Hope as she swipes at the moving jet. Giant Zombie Hope is pretty neat, too.
Of course, Peter is grief-stricken because he’s lost countless loved ones up to this point. He tells T’Challa that Tony Stark asked him to join the Avengers the year before, and now they’re all gone. Well, save Floating Head Scott and T’Challa (at least in the sacred timeline). Let’s make the Cloak of Levitation an Avenger while we’re at it. It’s survived this long.
Our survivors are en route to Wakanda with the Mind Stone in hand, hoping it’ll save humanity.
But Zombie Thanos is out there, and he’s armed with an Infinity Gauntlet. All he needs is the Mind Stone.
“What If… Zombies!?” opens a world of endless possibilities. I’d love to see Marvel do a live-action zombie flick, combined with MCU elements, of course. Plus, we need to learn whether T’Challa, Peter, Scott and the Cloak make it to Wakanda without difficulties. Whether they can save humanity and resurrect the Avengers to take on Thanos.
This is a fun episode chock full of horrific twists, wonderfully gory visuals and signature Marvel humor. Peter Parker and Scott Lang are shining lights. And it’s always great to hear the brilliant Chadwick Boseman.
New episodes of Marvel’s What If…? are available to stream every Wednesday on Disney Plus.
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