‘What If…?’ Season 2 Episode 1 Summary & Ending Explained: What if Nebula Joined the Nova Corps?

what if season 2 episode 1 ending explained what if Nebula joined the nova corps

Season 2 of ‘What If…?’ has finally kicked off with the first episode, and for the next 9 days, episodes will be regularly released every day. We’re in for some interesting stories from the alternate universe, and the first on the schedule is Nebula. Imagine the universe in which Nebula was betrayed by her family and her “coworkers,” and in an ultimate act of redemption, she joined the intergalactic police. Well, this is exactly the premise of the first episode, so let’s see what went down.

Nebula joined Nova Corps after Ronan’s betrayal

The history of this alternate Nebula was pretty much the same as Nebula’s of Earth-616. She was part of the Black Order and did dirty bidding for Thanos, but at some point, Ronan betrayed Thanos and escaped with Gamora, leaving Nebula for the dead. While Nebula was floating in space along with the debris following the destruction of her ship, she was found by Nova Corps and literally saved by the light.

nebula floating in space

Nebula eventually joined the Nova Corps and took the Nova oath. But, as she explained in her own words, the same trouble that took her old home came back to destroy her new one. Ronan attacked Xandar with his full force and wanted to annihilate the Nova Corps headquarters. Nova Prime had no choice but to activate a special planetary shield that made the Xandar impregnable for the next 50 years.

No communication with outside space, no supplies, no anything. If you were stuck on the planet at that time, you were stuck and sealed for the next 50 years. Now, as Nebula explained, the isolation that followed the sealing of Xandar eventually got the worst out of everyone, and crime on Xandar rose to unprecedented levels.


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What happened to Yondu?

One of the first mysteries we see Nebula solving is the murder of Yondu. He was found in a back alley, and this variant of Nebula explains that she also has a history with him. Nebula projects an audio recording of Yondu as he is whistling, the trick works, and his Yaka Arrow attacks Nebula from the shadows. Nebula notices that the arrow has a drive of some sort and that she is able to project the contents. Some kind of a green schematic is shown on-screen. But, the rest of the Nova Corps are clueless as to what the schematic is for.

Nebula yondu

Nebula is on her way to deal with another crisis when she receives a call from Nova Prime. Nova Prime explains that she knows about Nebula’s history with Yondu and Nebula explains that despite Yondu having a checkered history, he was never a bad egg, Nova Prime answers that neither is Nebula and explains how lucky she is that she took a gamble on her. Nova Prime then asks Nebula to switch to a secure line

Xandar is on the brink of destruction

Switching to a secure line, Nova Prime explains that Yondu has gotten himself into something seriously dangerous and that he was meddling with some dark forces; she explains that Xandar possibly has until dawn before the system collapses. Nebula explains that she did find something on Yondu, something that he gave up his life to protect; Nova Prime says to Nebula that she should follow her instincts and any means necessary to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Nova prime secure line

Nebula visits Howard the Duck

Nebula decides to investigate the place that gives rise to most crime in the city. She visits Howard the Duck’s casino, and it seems he is in the middle of a poker match. Nebula uses no-nonsense tactics and shows Howard the schematics; he has no idea what they are, but Korg does. Korg explains casually that this is an old Xandarian Mainframe Core unit B-42, or to translate some serious s—-.

mainframe schematics

Korg further explains that the Mainframe core holds all kinds of data, from unpaid parking tickets to source code for the shield generator, and whoever is after this mainframe core unit probably wants to take down the planetary shield.

Nebula visits inmate X2357

Nebula decides to follow up on the new clue and knows that she has to infiltrate Xandarian systems; she decides to visit the prison and asks for Inamte X2357, who has experience infiltrating Xandarian systems. The inmate turns out to be Yon-Rogg. Nebula decides to break Yon-Rogg out of prison and frees all the prisoners to cause the destruction. The two make their way toward the city core, and Yon Rogg manages to open the path to it.

Nebula breaking out yon rogg

Nebula connects herself to the city core and downloads the source code. Afterward, she deletes it, but in a predictable sequence of events, Yon-Rogg turns on Nebula and sticks a flash drive into her head, overloading her systems. While he was stealing Nebula’s data, he overloaded the core, and the core exploded; Nebula barely escaped with her life.

Nova Prime seems to be behind the attack on Xandar

Nebula escapes the city core barely, and she is greeted by Nova Prime and Yon-Rogg, who seem to be working together. Nova Prime wanted to stage an invasion on Xandar to break down the planetary shield. She promised Ronan the planet in exchange for keeping her in charge.

Xandarian mainframe core

Nova Prime needed Nebula because she is a cyborg, which is the only way to access the core. Once Nebula has done the dirty business for her, Nova Prime leaves her for the dead, and the rest of the Nova Corps attacks her. Nebula managed to escape by jumping down the waterfall.

Nebula returns to Howard’s casino

Nebula returns to Howard, Korg, and Groot once again; they can see she is in a terrible condition and “dying.” Nebula is quickly repaired and ready to get to the bottom of this Nova Prime issue, but she needs weaponry. Howard the Duck reluctantly offers her some in exchange for keeping his liquor license.

Groot miek korg

After suiting up and arming up, Nebula, Groot, Howard, Korg, and Miek are on their way to Nova Headquarters.

Nebula saves Xandar

Nebula infiltrates the Xandar Headquarters with Yaka Arrow, but it seems that she is too late because Ronan’s forces are already entering through the Planetary shield that has started to open up. Nebula then uses her own codes to prevent the shield from opening. She explains to Nova Prime that she actually triple crossed her, Nebula was aware that Nova Prime was up to no good when she told Nebula to solve this case no matter the cost under any means necessary.


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Nebula already suspected that Nova Prime had broken the oath. The fight ensues, and Nebula’s forces are successful. However, Nebula’s and Nova Prime’s fight moves to the rooftop, and Nebula manages to push her off the roof. Nova Prime is holding on for dear life, and Nebula offers her the saving hand.

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Nova Prime yells at Nebula that she ruined everything and pulls out a blaster; by shooting Nebula, Nova Prime pushes herself off the roof and kills herself. Following Nova Prime’s death, Nebula disables the planetary shield and Xandar has real sunlight for the first time in forever.

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