In Marvel's What If, episode 1 things go awry for the super soldier project and

Agent Carter becomes the super soldier, and Steve Rogers becomes a sort of Iron Man

Is there a canonical reason that Rogers was picked for this?

I'm sure there's plenty of good potential reasons, but I couldn't remember if any are canonically given by anyone in that episode.

  • 4
    It's possible that Rogers washed out of the Super-Soldier project, but impressed Erskine/General Phillips/Stark enough to get chosen for another secret project
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 14:52

2 Answers 2


Rogers was still the initial choice for the super soldier serum in What if..? and presumably was still chosen for the same reasons as in The First Avenger because the point the story diverges from the standard MCU series of events is when Peggy chooses to remain in the room during the attempted application of the serum (in the main MCU timeline when Erksine suggests she watch from a safe distance she goes to the observation room). It's only when Steve is shot and injured in the attack by the Hydra agent that Peggy is given it instead.

As to how he ends up in the Hydra Stomper armour, it's not explicitly stated but since Rogers' demonstrated during the selection process that he would be a great candidate for a hero if his physical limitations were removed it would make sense that he would also be a suitable candidate to use the suit. It mitigates his only real limitations, and putting a physically fit person in would make no difference to the effectiveness of the Hydra Stomper. It's a fairly safe bet that Steve would have still been chomping at the bit to get out there fighting Nazis (and supporting Peggy) in person in a way that Howard Stark wasn't.

  • 1
    It may even have been easier to fit a small (but otherwise healthy) person like Rogers into the armour than to build it for someone larger.
    – Withad
    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 14:35
  • @Withad - wasn't my understanding that Rogers wasn't a healthy person when trying to join the Army? There isn't much about it except "frail looking" and being "unfit" for service, but both pieces of information together say a lot, actually. Being it 1941, the criteria - for which SSB's were rejecting candidates (by classifying them as 4-F) - were high and as members of the SS Boards often were NOT military, they further raise the bar "just in case", but they weren't incompetent.
    – AcePL
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 15:48
  • 1
    @AcePL - I guess it depends on the definition of healthy. He's obviously struggling in the boot camp scenes but it doesn't seem like he's about to keel over the way that someone with something like serious asthma or a disease like TB would. I don't remember if they gave any specifics on his health though.
    – Withad
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 22:09
  • @Withad The person who rejects him the first time we see him try in the move literally makes the point that he has asthma, and that there are more reasons past that - "Steve Rogers: Look, just give me a chance." --> "4F Doctor: You'd be ineligible on your asthma alone."
    – DariM
    Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 20:16

No canonical reason is given. And given his shopping list of pre-serum physical problems in canon Steve would probably be the last person chosen for anything of the sort. But a lot of fans are fond of him, so the writers probably didn't want to kick him back into obscurity and chance upsetting the fanbase 😋

  • 3
    Meta answers 'because that's how it's written' are not helpful
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 20:57
  • The question was : Is there a canonocal reason and is any explanation given in that episode. And the answer is : No there isn't and no it wasn't.
    – Gwyn
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 15:04
  • 1
    Well, no. The answer given boils down to "In my personal opinion, no there isn't". Unless you happen to be connected with the show in some way that isn't immediately obvious, I'd like to know on what basis you're making this bold assertion.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 15:06
  • Um no. Canonical means it was stated in canon or I suppose if Marvel made a statement that would count. But you can watch the episode, in fact, watch the whole season one. It is never stated why. I am not sayin there is no reason. But no canonical reason has been given.
    – Gwyn
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 16:03

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