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What If: Why Thanos-Killer Gamora Didn’t Get Her Own Season 1 Episode Before The Finale

Thanos Killer Gamora in What If
(Image credit: Disney)

While the finale of What If notably brings together heroes prominently featured in all of the episodes of the show’s first season, it’s hard not to notice that one member of the team is introduced to audiences for the first time. Fighting alongside the likes of Captain Carter, Party Prince Thor, and Dark Doctor Strange is an alternate universe version of Gamora who lives on Sakaar and is identified by having killed Thanos. From an outside perspective it is a bit odd, but there is an explanation for why it is the way it is, and it is tied into the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the wake of the What If finale arriving on Disney+ this week, I had the opportunity to talk with head writer A.C. Bradley and director Bryan Andrews about the capstone episode, and one of the subjects of discussion was the presence of Thanos-Killer Gamora. I asked if there were originally plans for her to have her own episode in Season 1, and Bradley both confirmed there was, and explained what happened:

There was supposed to be an episode that would have been slotted in earlier in Season 1 that was a very fun Tony [Stark]-centric and Gamora episode, however due to COVID our animation houses were hit hard, and we kind of had to make the choice of either delaying the entire season or pushing that episode to Season 2. And obviously the last few years have been tough for everyone, so pushing an episode is nothing.

This also explains why Season 1 is only nine episodes instead of the originally announced 10. The development and production teams were able to complete the vast majority of the run, but the story centered on a Gamora who killed her “adoptive” father was the exception. There was obviously no way that the character could be extracted from the finale, so the creative team just opted to lean into the mystery.

Things aren’t playing out as originally planned, but it is now interesting that audience’s perspective on the What If character is playing out in the opposite direction than the rest of her Guardians of the Multiverse teammates. We’ve seen what Gamora can do against Infinity Ultron, but we’ll have to wait until next season to learn about how she wound up partnering with Tony Stark, and why she was on Sakaar at the start of the finale. A.C. Bradley continued,

It was an easy decision. We pushed it to Season 2, and we hope that Gamora's participation in the finale serves kind of as a teaser of what is to come, and that audiences enjoy following her story sometime in the next year.

As implied by the filmmaker, we don’t know as of right now when we will be getting What If Season 2, but for now the entirety of Season 1 is streaming on Disney+.

Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.