Warning! Spoilers ahead for Marvel’s What If…? season 1 finale.
The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) explicitly turned down Iron Man (Mike Wingert) as a potential member of the Guardians of the Multiverse in Marvel’s What If…? finale, why? Marvel Studios’ first animated series wrapped up with a culmination of everything that transpired in its first season. Forced to intervene after Ultron (Ross Marquand) with all six Infinity Stones threatened the multiverse, the Watcher forged a partnership with Doctor Strange Supreme (Benedict Cumberbatch), and together, they hatched a plan on how to neutralize the unhinged villain.
That’s where the idea of the Guardians of the Multiverse came from. Soon after, the Watcher scoured the multiverse to assemble his dream team. Heroes from previous episodes were recruited to the mission including Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), T’Challa’s Star-Lord (Chadwick Boseman), King Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), Party Thor (Chris Hemsworth), a variant of Gamora (Cynthia McWilliams), and Doctor Strange Supreme. Meanwhile, Black Widow (Lake Bell) from Ultron’s universe eventually joined the group. Each one of them has previously appeared in What If…? except for Gamora, who was with Iron Man in Nidavellir when the Watcher found her.
Not much is known regarding the pair’s relationship as their episode has been bumped to What If…? season 2. Aside from their solo story, their brief interaction with the Watcher also posed some questions, particularly about the entity’s decision to reject Iron Man as a potential member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. As the creator of Ultron, bringing in Tony could’ve helped them in finding a way to defeat the villain. But, that’s not exactly how it was meant to be. The Watcher said that the mission required “the perfect combination of skills and experience that alone will triumph.” This means that he needed a very specific group of people; it wasn’t just about individual capabilities. As great as Iron Man is, he could be a risky team member. Due to his strong personality, he might clash with others which would distract them from their goal and the Watcher couldn’t risk that.
In relation to that, Tony joining the Guardians of the Multiverse could also mean that he would want to be involved in coming up with their plan of action. However, it’s worth noting that by the time the Watcher recruited his picks, he and Doctor Strange Supreme had already settled on what they wanted to do. They only needed capable people to actually execute it. While some official members of the Guardians of the Multiverse were skeptical of their mission initially, everyone eventually boarded the scheme with very little to no qualms. Of course, there’s a possibility that Iron Man could’ve come up with a more efficient way to defeat Ultron; after all, he created the corrupted robot. But the Watcher was pressed with time; they didn’t have the wiggle room to re-assess and change their strategy while the villain move from one reality to another.
Admittedly, many are bummed not to learn more about this latest version of Iron Man, especially since the animated series has made a habit of killing variants of the character — at least in season 1. But there’s more to his story than just a brief conversation with the Watcher. As previously mentioned, his and Gamora’s episode will be released in What If…? season 2 instead.
Marvel’s What If…? returns with season 2 on Disney+.