Out of the various upcoming Disney+ shows, the most interesting from a concept perspective is Marvel’s What If…? featuring Jeffrey Wright as The Watcher. In this series, each of the 23 episodes will explore similar periods from MCU history with a slight twist. For example, the first episode will explore a scenario of Peggy Carter taking the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers. Another episode will explore T’Challa being the child of Ego instead of Peter Quill. For this feature, we’re exploring the episode inspired by Marvel Zombies, a concept fans never expected to see within the MCU.
In Marvel Comics, there’s an alternate Earth called Earth-2149. On this Earth a virus called “hunger” was brought to the universe by an alternate universe version of Sentry. Due to Sentry’s power level, it was rumored he was able to force himself into Earth-2149 by punching a “hole” in reality. This attracted the Avengers and other superheroes which ended up being what the virus wanted. The hunger virus was sentient and intentionally sought out powerful superhumans to spread it across multiple universes which made it unique and extremely dangerous.
This was because the virus understood it would eventually consume all life within a single universe and needed to acquire a powerful host early before countermeasures are enacted. When someone became infected, via a bite into flesh, the host’s personality, abilities, and intelligence are retained but they gain an urge to eat the flesh of another living creature. This type of hunger isn’t dissimilar to Galactus, as the hungrier the host becomes the less rational, intelligent, and in control they become. This causes certain superheroes to perform acts out of their normal behavior which then creates extreme guilt and shame.
Superheroes with an enhanced healing factor were able to better battle the effect of the virus and people isolated from food for several weeks could eventually abandon cravings, although they’d still have decaying flesh and immortality from becoming an undead being. While this is the most famous iteration of Marvel Zombies there are tons of other versions the MCU can take inspiration from, if they don’t simply introduce an original take on the concept.
With the Marvel’s What If…? series, one of the most interesting episodes teased will showcase Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier as the lead character of a Marvel Zombies episode. While information has been relatively scarce, the first look and artwork confirm the episode takes place during the events of Captain America: Civil War. Captain America and the Winter Soldier both have similar appearances. Because of this it’s likely the episode will explore what happens if the biological weapon Crossbones had infected The Avengers in Lagos.
The plot could be Winter Soldier attempting to find a cure for the zombies or maybe working with Tony Stark to develop a cure. Introduced in Iron Man 3, Extremis allows for genetic manipulation and cell regeneration at a high level. Maybe Tony Stark could use that as a solution? Introducing a team-up between Winter Soldier and Tony Stark would be interesting as well, as Winter Soldier did execute the mission leading to his parent’s death. This would add an interesting dynamic between the two characters, especially if the truth about Tony’s parents leaks out.
What do you think of Marvel Zombies joining the MCU? Leave your comments down below and feel free to follow me at @JBaldera27 on Twitter!