A lot of surprises were unleashed by Marvel's What If..? in its pilot episode and the Hydra Stomper's creation is one of them. As teased in various trailers, the armor is donned by Steve Rogers after he did not get the super-soldier serum to allow him to help Captain Carter in her missions. But first, what is the suit about, and how was it made in the first place? How would it be significant in the MCU?
Warning! This portion may contain spoilers for Marvel's What If..?. Read at your own risk!
What is the Hydra Stomper in Marvel's What If..?
As introduced in the first episode of Marvel's What If..?, What If… Captain Carter Were The First Avenger?, the Hydra Stomper is an indestructible suit that Howard Stark created with the Tesseract to stop Hydra's forces from a distance. Steve Rogers wore the armor and it has helped him walk again following a bullet he took when the explosion at the laboratory happened.
A little walk-through, Steve didn't get the super-soldier serum, it was Peggy Carter who became the First Avenger as Steve was shot by an agent of Hydra at the lab when a bomb took off and exploded. Carter did not hesitate to push through with the process and she then became the heroine to help win the war. As for Steve, while he still has a cane recovering from the gunshot, he was still able to help with the Hydra Stomper.
It was created by Howard Stark from the Tesseract. The suit looks a lot like the first armor made by his son in the MCU. It's indestructible, as it survived bombs on the train and the fall from it, saving Steve in the process, but still, it has flaws like needing to be recharged before anything else and be used.
Related: What is Marvel's What If..? Rated, Is it Safe for Kids to Watch? Everything You Need to Know
What is the Significance of the Hydra Stomper in the MCU?
To start, the Hydra Stomper really looks a lot like the Iron Man suit with the controls inside and the façade it has. The canon show introduced the suit at a time when technology was still scarce and it is from one of the most brilliant minds in the MCU, the father of Tony, Howard Stark. That, in itself, makes it really significant.
It is possible that the reason why Tony knew such a suit could save him from captivity in the first Iron Man movie was that he already saw blueprints from his father, one which could be useful for him for the years to come. However, in the original timeline, Howard did not have enough source to power the suit, but in What If..?, with his hands on the Tesseract that early, he built a similar armor and called it the Hydra Stomper.
The arc also parallels that of James Rhodes as War Machine. It could be remembered that in Captain America: Civil War, Rhodes was paralyzed and the suit Tony gave him allowed him to walk and helped him recover. It is much like Steve in What If..? as he was shot and he needed therapy and a cane afterward. He called the suit his new dancing shoes as it allowed him to walk normally.
With time lapsing and jumping to 70 years forward in time, the Hydra Stomper could still be in existence, possibly in a museum or in the collection of Howard Stark. Let's see how the suit will come back in the series given that Tony Stark will have his episodes with Killmonger in the succeeding episodes of What If..?
Marvel's What If..? Episode 2 will be released on August 18, 2021, at 3 AM EST, exclusively on Disney+ where it would be available in 4k.