It’s Wednesday and at this point, we all know that means it’s Marvel day on the blog! Today’s review is for What If … T’Challa Became a Star-Lord? Proceed with caution, because there are spoilers!!
What was it about?
When you outsource a job, it can go awry. So, instead of abducting a young Peter Quill, Yondu and the Ravagers take in T’Challa, altering future events entirely.
This episode was so much more after my taste! This is exactly the kind of “what if” scenario I was looking for!!
Let’s start off by saying that this episode was dedicated to our hero, our inspiration Chadwick Boseman. I wasn’t prepared for how emotional I got at hearing him voice T’Challa, but I’m so happy it exists. And on top of that, he got such a beautiful episode about family and kinship, paralleling what a bright light he was.
While I’m still no fan of the overexposed animation style and I don’t think that the characters look like their live-action counterparts, I can 100% say that I’m now more on board with the story ideas. What If … T’Challa Became a Star-Lord was not just fun to watch, but also showed far more drastic differences in the universe, prompted by just one small change. Let’s break it down:
- Alternate title suggestion for the episode: Yondu kidnapping random Earth children since 1988
- Because the Ravagers got distracted by the vibranium beneath Wakanda’s soil, they kidnapped T’Challa instead of Peter Quill. Since he had felt restless and wanted to explore the world either way, Yondu took it upon himself to show little T’Challa the whole galaxy instead.
- Whereas no one really knew Quill’s Star-Lord, T’Challa quickly made a name for himself. When he steals, he does so to give to the less fortunate. He’s kind of a space Robin Hood like that and therefore has a growing fanbase everywhere. All he wants to do is good and he has an entire crew that supports him in doing so. Nothing can dim that boys light.
- I think one of the most interesting remarks happens at a casual get together of the crew for drinks, when it is revealed that T’Challa single-handedly prevented Thanos from going through with his plan with … words. He proved that there were other ways to relocate half the universe’s resources and Thanos gave in to reason (despite still joking that “it’s no genocide if it’s random but it would be more efficient” to whoever is nearby). Just imagine all of the pain from Infinity War and End Game being redundant if someone had reasonably and level-headedly talked to Thanos. It’s a really wild thought to me.
- At the bar, we also meet Drax, who still has his wife and daughter thanks to T’Challa. That man really saved a lot of lives throughout the universe.
- Even odder might be the insinuation that Nebula (now with a long blonde wig and not nearly as cut up and made of parts as we know her) and T’Challa being romantically involved. There definitely was something flirty about her calling him ChaCha and my brain doesn’t quite compute. T’Challa even wanted to convince Nebula and Thanos to go to family counseling. They are that close.
- I won’t go into detail about the entire thing that went down with the Collector, but there were so many fun details in that bit. For one, he had items such as Hela’s headpiece or Cap’s shield in his possession, but he also had Howard the Duck as one of his prisoners. I was waiting to see how he’d appear and he did not disappoint. I’m sure there will be plenty of videos breaking down what all was mentioned, be it Frost Giants or the dagger imbued by Dark Matter. There’s a lot to discover in the Collector’s lair.
- Eventually, the episode leads towards a confrontation between Yondu and T’Challa, because the former lied to the latter about the fate of Wakanda. While Yondu claimed it was destroyed in a war, T’Challa’s father had actually been looking for him, even among the stars, this entire time. They return to earth and have a little (really brief) nice family reunion. They all get along well and even though it’s an odd combination, having this found and blood family join ranks worked for me.
- Like last week, there is a cliffhanger again, although I would claim this one is much, much bigger. As the Watcher lets us know, there’s another family reunion in the works. Ego has traveled to earth to meet Peter Quill, a meeting that could result in the end of the world.
Ultimately, I enjoyed that there was a certain focus on nature vs. nurture, found family as well as the one you are born into. There were really several beautiful (albeit short) parent-child-moments and those always go straight to my heart. I can’t deny that some changes just felt weird, but I liked this episode a lot! I may or may not have shed some tears when the dedication popped up on the screen, but what can you do? In the end, I’m a big softie.