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What If Episode 2

For Chadwick Boseman…
“You’re one bright burning light in a night sky of billions.”

The second episode of What If…? entitled “What If... T'Challa Became a Star-Lord?” stars Jeffrey Wright as Uatu/The Watcher, the late Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Star-Lord, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Michael Rooker as Yondu, Josh Brolin as Thanos, Benicio Del Toro as The Collector, Djimon Hounsou as Korath, John Kani as King T'Chaka, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Chris Sullivan as Taserface, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as Ebony Maw, Carrie Coon as Proxima Midnight, Fred Tatasciore as Drax/Corvus Glaive, Seth Green as Howard The Duck, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Brian T Delaney as Peter Quill and Kurt Russell as Ego.

This episode, just like the pilot episode of the series, is set in an alternate MCU timeline. It all starts in 1988, wherein a group of Ravagers, led by Yondu, picks up a young T’Challa instead of Peter Quill on Earth. Unintimidated with the abduction, T’Challa tells the Ravagers that he wishes to explore the world. Yondu convinces T’Challa to join them in exploring multiple worlds. Twenty years after, T’Challa becomes the intergalactic “Robin Hood” known as Star-Lord. Yes, you read that right! Instead of Peter Quill becoming the Star-Lord we know in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s T’Challa who takes on the mantle. In this episode, we also meet a variant of Nebula with a whole different personality who works with T’Challa and the Ravagers. She informs T’Challa of the debt she owes The Collector. They come up with a plan to steal the Embers of Genesis, which they can use to save many planets. The Embers of Genesis are said to have the ability to terraform any planet or surface. T’Challa, Nebula, and the Ravagers do a heist at Knowhere, where The Collector resides.

At The Collector’s headquarters, Nebula and Yondu distract The Collector by offering him the Power Stone while outside a reformed Thanos and Korath cause a diversion to get the attention of the Black Order. On his way to obtain the Embers, T’Challa sees a Wakandan Spacecraft where he can watch a hologram of his father. Nebula makes it seem like she betrays T’Challa to get what they were after. After the heist, they all go to Wakanda, and T’Challa finally reunites with his family. The post-credits scene shows a grown-up version of Peter Quill working at Dairy Queen while listening to his mixtape. Ego approaches him, and the episode ends.

In this episode, we see a different life for most of our beloved and hated characters. We see T’Challa taking on the mantle of Star-Lord. A reformed Thanos who looks out for his daughter, Nebula. As previously mentioned, in the post-credits scene, we see Peter Quill, who lives a normal life. In this timeline, the Guardians of the Galaxy (we know) never met. However, the new heroes we meet throughout the series will eventually assemble and be called the “Guardians of the Multiverse.” What If…? is canon to the MCU. We can see the characters crossover into the main timeline someday, with Captain Carter being the first to crossover to live-action via Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. However, for T’Challa Star-Lord, we don’t know what Marvel Studios will do with the character.

The episode paid tribute to the character of T’Challa, Chadwick Boseman. This variant of T’Challa that I met in the series is very easy to love. He is definitely the superior Star-Lord. T’Challa made Thanos good with just an argument. Nebula isn’t bitter (and a cyborg) like her main MCU timeline counterpart. Chadwick really committed to this project. I was pretty emotional watching episode 2. Chadwick left an unforgettable legacy as T’Challa in the entire Marvel franchise. He is truly irreplaceable.

With this episode, Marvel Studios has become even more creative with the plot and the characters. Unlike the first episode, the attack was fast-paced, but it wasn’t rushed. Episode 2 is more than a retelling of the Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther films. We really see how one change can affect how the events unfold, creating a whole new timeline. There were no loose ends by the end of the episode. It felt like watching an actual Marvel movie in animated form for only 30 minutes. The term of endearment of Nebula to T’Challa, which is “Cha-Cha,” is just chef’s kiss. Nebula and T’Challa make a perfect pair we thought we never needed. I just can’t get enough of their duo. Their chemistry is just so natural. Hearing Chadwick Boseman for his last MCU outing was very emotional. The episode served as a perfect send-off for both Chadwick and T’Challa. Overall, I would rate this episode a 9.5/10.

P.S.: If you miss Chadwick Boseman and T’Challa, fret not! He will still be back for three more episodes of the first season of What If…?

“On any planet, among any people, there ain’t no place in this galaxy where you don’t belong.”

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