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Something I have been wondering is whether or not the Watcher in What If...? is in a different Universe or just in a separate dimension. The reason behind this is because of Ultron and the Infinity Stones.

In the comics, one of the major plot points with the Infinity Stones is that the only work in the universe/reality that they originate from — i.e. you would be unable to take the Infinity Stones to a different universe/reality and use them, where instead they just become paperweights.

I was under the impression that these rules were also in the MCU due to the scene in Loki where

Loki found a drawer full of Infinity Stones in the TVA that did absolutely nothing except become literal paperweights

So my question is, does this rule with the Infinity Stones actually exist in the MCU and if so,

how did Ultron break out of his universe to chase and fight the Watcher. The only reason I can see this being possible while that rule exists is if the Watcher wasn't actually outside/in a separate universe and was just in a different dimension.

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    I had exactly the same question and was about to ask it. To obtain more views I suggest you to change the title to something like "How was Ultron able to use the infinity stones outside of their universe?"
    – sound wave
    Oct 1 '21 at 5:07
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To the Infinity Stone question first: This rule with the Infinity Stones does not actually exist in the MCU, as proven by What If…?.

The point of the series builds to its final episode of the series where Ultron assembles his universe’s “Infinity Gauntlet” (his armored form), and then uses it to wreak havoc throughout the various other universes. As observed by @Styxsksu, the writer of What If…? confirmed this via Twitter that Infinity Ultron powers himself through his own universe’s Infinity Stones; this power is what allows him the ability to beat down other universes: https://mobile.twitter.com/TheAshBradley/status/1445078626697760770

There are more limited forms of this “rule” in effect, however, such as items of each universe being only attuned to that universe in certain ways as symbolized by Gamora’s Infinity Cruncher not working because the stones were from a different universe. Additionally, the TVA has a set of Infinity Stones kept in a desk drawer; it’s not known however that they’re inert due to the TVA’s unique environment at that time they were kept there, or any particular feature of those particular stones, for example from an alternate universe where “what if the infinity stones are powerless,” etc.

As to the Watcher: His sanctuary appears to reside in its own separate universe, like a small, cozy pocket universe. Because Infinity Ultron’s Infinity Stones work across universes in the MCU, they can work here as well allowing Ultron to beat down the Watcher in his own home.

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    This is how the writer explained why Ultron was able to use them twitter.com/TheAshBradley/status/1445078626697760770
    – Styxsksu
    Nov 17 '21 at 15:49
  • @Styxsksu: if we're calling that "explained", I think we're being a little generous. Nov 17 '21 at 16:52
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    In Loki, it's explicitly said on the first episode that the Infinity Stones do not work when inside the TVA. Mobius asks Loki after his unsuccessful escape whether he has attempted to use the Tesseract to which Loki replies something like "Even the Tesseract is completely useless here".
    – Raphael
    Nov 17 '21 at 21:43
  • @Raphael Right. The important details aren’t necessarily in the “where” but rather the “why.” Nov 17 '21 at 21:54
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What If...? makes it clear that in the MCU Prism of Endless Possibility™ (what some simps call "the multiverse"), Infinity Stones from one universe work just fine in a bunch of other universes. Infinity Ultron doesn't just use them to attack the Watcher on his home turf — he uses them to punch the Watcher from one universe to another with merry abandon.

This does leave two other questions, which you may or may not actually be asking, but hey ho. (SPOILERS AHEAD!)

1. Where the heck is the Watcher? Is that a "dimension"?

As far as we can tell, "dimensions" in the MCU exist within universes — in What If...? episode 4, we see Doctor Strange in another universe confront and defeat Dormammu in his own universe's Dark Dimension. So wherever/whenever the Watcher is, it's presumably not a dimension.

It seems like he can observe and enter any universe he wants, so presumably he's outside of the universes, or something? But we don't yet have any description of where/when/how this place/realm/zone/whatever is — we just know that Infinity Ultron managed to access it, and the Watcher can host a cosy super-being mixer event there if required.

2. What's the deal with the TVA and the Infinity Stones?

As you say, in Loki, Infinity Stones apparently have no power in the TVA, as Loki's stolen Space Stone stops working there. We're later told that the TVA was created by He Who Remains, to maintain his victory in the multiversal war that raged between him and his variants, after he discovered and contacted them.

It's possible that during this apparently very long conflict, He Who Remains figured out a way to render Infinity Stones inert.

The TVA's capabilities to travel between and manipulate timelines and/or universes (which may or may not be the same thing) seem pretty extensive. If Tony Stark managed to build a machine that could destroy Infinity Stonesin a junkyard! In space! Out of SCRAP!!! — then in the apparently-very-long multiversal conflict that He Who Remains won, it's plausible he found a way to defend against the threat of one of his variants coming at him packing a Sparkly McGuffin or two.

It's possible that instead the TVA is merely located in a place or time where the Infinity Stones no longer have power, but we don't know when/where the TVA is either, and we haven't seen any other locations where Infinity Stones don't work.

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