The origins of What If…? season 1’s variant Gamora (Cynthia McWilliams) are revealed in an episode featuring the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). “What If… Iron Man Crashed Into the Grandmaster?” was written by A.C. Bradley and directed by Bryan Andrews.

In a “previously on,” the Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) recalls the Guardians of the Multiverse, from the What If…? season 1 finale. However, he says we don’t know Gamora’s story. The Watcher says Gamora’s path to being the hero of her own story began in someone else’s.

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The Watcher turns his narration to Tony Stark (Mick Wingert), “self-made” Iron Man. At the climax of The Avengers, Iron Man guides the nuclear bomb through a wormhole before returning to Earth. However, in this universe, the wormhole closed before Stark could return. Instead, he landed on Sakaar, introduced to the MCU in Thor: Ragnarok. There he meets the Grandmaster.

A small fire ignites on the Iron Man suit. Grandmaster orders Topaz (Rachel House) to release the foam. This engulfs Stark. Grandmaster identifies Iron Man and dubs him “Metal Mojo Man.” TV footage displayed by Grandmaster shows the Avengers were victorious. Furthermore, Stark sees that Pepper Potts survived. Stark says he must return to Earth. Grandmaster protests that Stark must stay for his birthday. Stark tries to leave anyway. But Topaz shows off the power of the melting rod, convincing Stark to stay.

What If… Iron Man Crashed Into the Grandmaster? 

Soon, Stark is seated in the Grandmaster’s arena. The Grandmaster addresses the crowd via enormous hologram. He says they’re here to celebrate his birthday and the grand prix. Among the drivers are Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg (Taika Waititi). After an excessive amount of waiting, the Grandmaster starts the race.

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Grandmaster arrives in the luxury box to taunt Stark. Meanwhile, the race proves fatal. Valkyrie shows off her racing prowess. Stark is taken aback by the explosive violence. Valkyrie is disqualified when her vehicle flips over. The crowd throws cans and small animals at her, including a chinchilla. 

Grandmaster says if Star likes his chinchillas he’ll love his champion, a giant monster called “Fluffy.” Fluffy goes after Korg. But Stark activates (what’s left of) his Iron Man armor to intervene. Stark attempts to fire on Fluffy but the suit isn’t working. Fortunately, Gamora arrives and blows up Fluffy just in time. Unfortunately, she turns her weapon on Stark and Korg right afterwards.

Soon, Gamora has Stark at swordpoint. However, both are incapacitated by electric devices tossed at them by Topaz. Grandmaster declares they’ve ruined his birthday. Topaz delivers Stark, Gamora and Korg to a prison cell decorated like a sleazy romantic getaway motel. Gamora attempts to attack Stark but Korg intervenes. Stark uses his chest arc reactor to knock the device off. Gamora introduces herself as the daughter of Thanos (Josh Brolin). Stark uses his personal tech to escape the cell with Korg. However, he leaves Gamora locked inside.

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Demon Rum

Stark asks Korg how Grandmaster became leader, inquiring whether he gerrymandered the districts. Korg says Grandmaster is that awful and wonders why he voted for him. Korg takes out a few guards. However, Gamora catches up with them and fires a weapon. This blows a hole in the wall. Stark thanks them for the exit. A giant hologram of Grandmaster appears and orders his people to locate Stark. 

Stark turns back to Gamora and asks why she’s pursuing him. Gamora says she seeks vengeance on behalf of her father for Stark’s rebuke of the Chitauri forces. Stark considers blowing up Gamora but says she can watch him save this planet too, and then go after her dad. Korg and Stark escape. Meanwhile, Gamora is taken into custody by Topaz.

In a bar, Stark and Korg approach Valkyrie. She is accompanied by a chinchilla. Stark asks why Valkyrie is racing in these death matches. Saying he’s not speaking from personal experience, he guesses she’s running from something. He suggests it’s the same thing that has her chasing that “demon in a bottle.” Stark says the Grandmaster is crooked and must be taken down. He reveals their plan to overthrow the Grandmaster. Valkyrie laughs at them. However, she does soon agree to be their partner.

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Elsewhere, Topaz opens Gamora’s cell and tells her not to try any silly stuff. Gamora leaps into action. She nabs Topaz’s melt rod and turns it on the guards. Then, she laments that it smells like burnt Yaro Root.

Iron Hologram 

Meanwhile, Stark is assisted by Valkyrie, Korg and the chinchilla in building new armor. Valkyrie says Korg informed her the spawn of Thanos is chasing him. She advises him to run. He asks if she’s ever heard of campground rules: “always leave a place better than you found it.”

At his tower, Grandmaster apologizes to Gamora for not recognizing the daughter of Thanos. He says they’re all huge fans of her father’s work. Gamora demands Stark. Grandmaster says he doesn’t know where Stark is. Then, Stark appears via the Grandmaster’s giant hologram. Stark offers Grandmaster an ultimatum. He offers to race the Grandmaster in a winner-takes-all competition for the entire planet.

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Topaz points out they already have the entire planet. Gamora declares it to be a trap. She notes Stark is considered a genius on Earth. But Grandmaster says Stark’s not a master genius, like the Grandmaster. He states he’s intrigued but not sold. Stark offers to allow Grandmaster to select the chariots. Grandmaster says he gets the suit if he wins. Stark makes the deal. 

Grandmaster tells Gamora she’ll be racing, too. Soon Korg, Valkyrie, Stark and the chinchilla are slowly walking into the arena. Grandmaster arrives in a sleek vehicle. Stark tells Grandmaster he should quit now before anyone gets hurt. Grandmaster reveals Stark’s lousy vehicle. Topaz arrives and threatens Stark. Gamora is forcibly loaded into her vehicle. Stark puts a communication device inside with her.

The giant hologram Grandmaster starts the race. He gives the real Grandmaster a head start. Soon, all the vehicles are racing around the track. There are some explosive eliminations. The Grandmaster activates a passageway that leads the vehicles out of the arena and into an illuminated tunnel.

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What If… There Was an Iron Car? 

Gamora aims her vehicle’s weapons at Stark. Meanwhile, Stark uses the communicator to speak with Gamora about daddy issues. He says she gets to choose her story, not Thanos. But he puts her on hold as the cars emerge from the tunnel into blinding sunlight. It turns out the track drops out of the Jack Kirby tower in dramatic fashion. Think “Hot Wheels track.” Many of the vehicles explode. Topaz seems to be enjoying herself.

However, while Stark’s chariot survives the ramp, it is soon destroyed by Topaz’s melt rod, which is on the front of her vehicle. But Stark’s armor morphs into a race car as he flies through the air. Stark’s car knocks Topaz’s vehicle aside. Many more vehicles are destroyed by obstacles laid by the Grandmaster. Stark opens communications with Gamora again to empathize with doing things for fathers they aren’t proud of. However, he says people can change for the better. He tells her she can make a choice to be better.

As he continues to lead the race, Grandmaster winks at a giant statue of himself. The statue winks back. Next, Grandmaster summons two more of the giant monsters to the track. Stark continues to address Gamora. He tells her she gets to decide who she is. Then, he asks if she’s the daughter of Thanos, or if she’s Gamora. Gamora fires her weapons at the two giant monsters. Her vehicle is incapacitated. Stark thanks her. Gamora says it isn’t over.

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Grandmaster nears the finish line. He blows up the tunnel just after Valkyrie and Stark make it through. Valkyrie’s vehicle crashes. But she tells Stark she’s good, he just needs to win the race.

Fe Finish

Grandmaster realizes Stark is gaining on him just before Stark passes him. However, Grandmaster speeds up and retakes the lead. Stark turns his arc reactor and juices up his vehicle, catching up. He crosses the finish line just before Grandmaster. Then, he transforms the car back into armor and waits for Grandmaster.

Grandmaster attempts to declare it a tie. He says the rules state that he decides the winner in case of a tie. Grandmaster chooses himself. But Stark won fair and square. Grandmaster turns to Topaz. Topaz approaches in her vehicle, the melt rod still mounted on the front of it. But Valkyrie crashes her vehicle into Topaz’s. The melt road soars through the air. It rolls to a stop, coming to a rest at Grandmaster’s feet. Grandmaster melts. Korg says he smells like bad life choices.

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The crowd cheers for Valkyrie. Stark says he thinks they just crowned her their King. Valkyrie says she was thinking someone should lay down the campground rules around here. She gives Korg the position of special counsel to the King. 

Soon, Korg, Valkyrie and Stark celebrate their victory with a disgusting drink. Valkyrie asks if he’ll stay, but Stark says he has to get home to Potts. However, as Stark is activating his ship to go home, he’s interrupted by Gamora. She says she can’t return to her father without him. 

What If… Iron Man and Gamora Fought Thanos? 

The Watcher’s narration says, “It’s not the punches thrown but the people that change the outcome of the battle. It’s connection, it’s love, friendship.” Thanos says Gamora never fails to amaze him. He mocks Stark. Then, Gamora and Stark leap into action. Gamora uses the melt rod on Thanos.

RELATED: Catch up with all of our What If…? recaps here.

In a mid-credits scene, Topaz stands over the Grandmaster puddle. The puddle instructs her to find a mop or sponge and clean him up.

The first four episodes of What If…? season 2 are currently available for streaming on Disney+, with new episodes daily through December 30.

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