Why has Marvel‘s Multiverse Saga been such a bust so far? There are many answers to that, but one rather convincing argument goes that mostly the MCU is suffering from a serious lack of Avengers action. We’re coming up to five years now without any kind of team-up for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Although at least we’ve seen Avengers variants in action in What If…?
What’s more, we’ve still yet to even get the Young Avengers in the MCU, despite an equally long span of time being dedicated to the build-up of the next generation of Earth-616 protectors. With Kamala Khan officially assembling the “Kid Avengers” (see The Marvels for context), though, hopefully the group is right around the corner.
Unfortunately, while the Young Avengers haven’t even appeared in What If….? yet, the second season of the animated anthology series might just have brought us one step closer to seeing them come together.
What If…? season 2 finale may have introduced a major macguffin tied to the Young Avengers
There’s a lot of multiversal mayhem squeezed into the 30-minute season 2 finale of What If…?, which sees Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell) and Kahhori (Devery Jacobs) team up to stop Strange Supreme (Benedict Cumberbatch) from putting all of reality in danger through his attempts to resurrect his world.
In short, his scheme involves feeding Universe Killers like himself into a giant energy crucible called The Forge. As they fall to their certain doom, however, these variants of familiar characters fling their weapons at Carter and Kahhori to boost their chances of defeating Strange. Many of these items are easily recognizable to even more casual fans, like Mjolnir and Hela’s spiky helmet. One is a curious new addition to the MCU’s lore, however; a glowing green sword.
Gifted to Captain Carter by Hulk Thor — a variant whose origins story we are desperate to find out — we can guess that the sword is an Asgardian blade imbued with gamma radiation. No such item exists in the comics, but it’s possible this is our first glimpse at Marvel’s adaptation of Excelsior, aka the Star-Sword, which is usually found in the grip of a certain Young Avengers member with semantic ties to Hulk.
Excelsior is a mythical and mystical weapon forged from both Kree and Skrull blades by Dorrek Supreme, the universe’s first Kree/Skrull hybrid. It was said that the one who could pull Excelsior from its stone was the reincarnation of Dorrek — sure enough, Teddy Altman aka Hulkling, a Kree/Skrull hybrid himself whose birth name was Dorrek, was able to retrieve it.
What If…? has already fed into the live-action MCU in certain ways, like with Captain Carter appearing in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, so there’s nothing stopping Hulk Thor’s green-glowing sword from returning in live-action and being specified as Excelsior. Just in time for Hulkling to make his long-awaited franchise debut.