SPOILERS FOR WHAT IF…? Episode Two
“What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?”
I was fine watching this episode until the dedication came on screen at the end of the show. That was when the waterworks came. It said, “Dedicated to our friend, our inspiration, and our hero” and that was all it took. Knowing that Chadwick Boseman gave his final appearance, final performance within this animated series is tough. He was such an amazing actor and he was the perfect casting for T’Challa, helping to bring the character to the forefront of the cultural zeitgeist. “Wakanda Forever” a phase that became a rallying cry in the real world, not just in the fictional one. Chadwick Boseman was truly something special.
And this episode of What If…? displays that joyous Zen for life that radiated from Boseman. This episode was amazing, featuring a ton of awesome characters all effected by the aura of T’Challa, just as we all were.
At first glance, having T’Challa become Star-Lord seemed a bit random. I wondered because the name Star-Lord came from Peter Quill’s mother’s letter to him, how was it even going to work? It was a detail not discussed, but it is such a minor quibble that it really did not matter.
This episode was different than last week’s. Last week we met Captain Carter but she basically followed the same storyline of Captain America: The First Avenger, just with Peggy in the place of Steve. There were little differences but it was basically the same. This week, we start off with the familiar and from there go in an all new direction.
T’Challa in the Ravagers was great to start with and making him an intergalactic celebrity, something that Quill always wanted, was an even better twist. Making Korath the Pursuer, voiced again by the wonderful Djimon Hounsou, a huge Star-Lord fanboy is funny on a lot of levels. Adding Korath into the Ravagers was cool, but not as cool as the addition of The Mad Titan, Thanos!
Hearing Josh Brolin return to try and explain why his original plan of destroying half the universe had merit only to be rebuffed by his Ravager teammates as it ‘still sounding like gynecide’ was an epic running joke. We meet Nebula, who is so different because of the change in Thanos that it is a bit unsettling. Karen Gillan resumed her role as Nebula. Interestingly enough, we never see Gamora, who in this universe, I assume, is living happily on her home planet which was never destroyed by Thanos. We see Drax the Destroyer (not Dave Bautista, unfortunately) too a much happier version.
Much like the Guardians movie, the crew heads to Knowhere to meet up with Benicio Del Toro’s The Collector, but they had a different mission. The Ravagers had become a force of good, taking from the rich and giving to the poor, much like T’Challa’s earth hero, Robin Leach (errr… Hood, this was a funny joke) and they were after a new MacGuffin. On Knowhere we still meet up with Cosmo, Howard the Duck (Seth Green) and show off the power of The Collector. I assume that there are a bunch of Easter Eggs found in those cages (can’t wait for Erik Voss and the New Rockstars to show me what is there). The Collector is an Elder of the Universe and he showed off his power here.
Of course, Yondu plays a huge part in the story, just as he does in the original GotG. Michael Rooker returned to his role and voiced the Ravager who, in this case, raises T’Challa. However, T’Challa’s natural goodness affected Yondu considerably more. Yondu had ‘outsourced’ the abduction of Peter Quill to the other Ravagers, who wound up taking T’Challa by mistake because all humans look the same. LOL
It is amazing how many huge named stars came to work on What If…? for one line or so. Danai Gurira, Carrie Coon, and Kurt Russell are here with cameos basically. Goes to show the power of Marvel.
What a great episode this was. RIP Chadwick Boseman.