After last weeks phenomenal opening episode, the bar has been set for Marvel’s What If…? This anthology series explores different components of the MCU, but with a twist. Welcome to Marvel’s What If…? Episode 2 which ponders the question, what if T’Challa had been kidnapped by Yondu instead of Peter Quill?
The series is directed by Bryan Andrews, with A. C. Bradley as head writer. This is quite an emotional episode, as this was the last work of Chadwick Boseman, who plays T’Challa, before his untimely death. The episode also features the return of Michael Rooker as Yondu, Djimon Hounsou as Korath, and Karen Gillan as Nebula, as Guardians of the Galaxy is next up to get the What If treatment. I will say there are some other surprise cameo characters but this is a spoiler-free review, so you’ll just have to watch the episode to find out who turns up.
The overall story is highly entertaining, and imbued with a heavy amount of sci-fi fused with a lot comedy and action. I mean it’s Guardians of the Galaxy, so it does exactly what you’d expect. The twist however, is that in pivoting the point of view character story from Quill to T’Challa, it vastly changes the overall impact on the galaxy. More so than you’d even think to imagine. The once-great hero and King of Wakanda still has his honor as one of the cornerstones of his personality, but now as a ravager, he is able to tap into a playfulness that he never had the freedom to fully show.
One aspect of T’Challa that remains constant throughout is the character’s charismatic presence. Everyone who orbits him is inspired to do more, to be better. It is astounding to see how far that charm and influence extends. It’s quite jaw dropping. And therein lies the impression of this episode, the twist is far bigger than what we’ve seen from Episode 1. Rather than simply replacing characters, this episode highlights that certain changes can send ripples across the galaxy. Even the character of Yondu himself is vastly different from what we’ve seen before.
Surprisingly, Hounsou delivered a brilliant performance which had me cracking up. As Korath he’s not had a lot of room to flex what his character is capable of, but he certainly got the space in Episode 2. Boseman delivered a fantastic rendition of Starlord, but it’s hard not to watch and not feel the sorrow of knowing this was the last performance of Boseman. So while I savored it, it’s difficult to know we will no longer have the pleasure of enjoying any more of his work.
The animation continues to be high-quality and the coloring reflects a large hue of neo-futuristic colors, with the primary being purple, reflective of the power stone first seen in the original film. I love how visually it has a taste of being a high-quality that mimics live action, but it encapsulates very comic book moments during the action sequences. Additionally, the blending of the music from Guardians and Black Panther was seamless and adds to the quality.
And the implications of that ending? Wow. It’s small details like this that make the weight of the storytelling so powerful.
Overall, What If…? Episode 2 continues its extremely strong showing after an amazing opening episode. While it’s a somber moment to see Boseman’s final MCU performance, it’s one we should all cherish, and will add to his everlasting legacy. The influence of Black Panther merged with Guardians of the Galaxy was a masterclass. Boseman brings a whole new attitude to the legacy of Starlord. This episode will be one people will be talking about for sure.
What If…? Episode 2 is available now to stream exclusively on Disney+.
What If...? Episode 2
What If…? Episode 2 continues its extremely strong showing after an amazing opening episode. While it’s a somber moment to see Boseman’s final MCU performance, it’s one we should all cherish, and will add to his everlasting legacy. The influence of Black Panther merged with Guardians of the Galaxy was a masterclass. Boseman brings a whole new attitude to the legacy of Starlord. This episode will be one people will be talking about for sure.