What If...?: ... T'Challa Became a Star-Lord?
August 18, 2021 12:46 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Instead of personally abducting Peter Quill for Ego, Yondu farms out the job to Kraglin and Tazer-Face—they pick up the wrong child.

Instead grabbing the son of Ego, the Living Planet, the two Ravagers instead abduct a young T'Challa, who wants to see the universe.

We learn that a Ravager never flies solo, and the crew changes significantly. Nebula has blonde hair, and the Collector is more of a threat than ever. Star-Lord receives a personal tour of the collection.

The card at the end celebrating Chadwick Boseman gave me all the feelings.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit (49 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
. Yibambe (sniffle)
posted by Molesome at 6:50 AM on August 18 [10 favorites]


i only am just at the first five minutes and i like it already for the implication that peter quill really is, the worst.
posted by cendawanita at 6:52 AM on August 18 [21 favorites]


That was so nice! It was almost like an episode of Ted Lasso.

That timeline is completely fucked, though, since Peter Quill has no family to pull him back from the brink.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:12 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


but on the other hand, this is the timeline where t'challa brought thanos around (but hmm, per the collector's treasure trove, no captain america and no hela), and apparently all other numerous good deeds, all those inadvertent investments might work out in their favour, lol. i mean, wakanda also got uber-motivated to get into interstellar travel....
posted by cendawanita at 7:24 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


The lead-in to why T'Challa instead of Peter was great, because Kraglin is hilarious, and Tazer-Face has a voice MADE for animation. Could have watched the two of them all day.

Also, I loved Djimon Hounsou as Korath (who has definitely, definitely heard of Star-Lord this time).
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:27 AM on August 18 [9 favorites]


Not sure that I completely buy good-guy Thanos, but otherwise it was pretty sweet. Nebula's look seems like a tribute to another space-traveling cyborg woman. Also, the Collector's weapon wall also includes Mjolnir.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:31 AM on August 18


Also, the Collector's weapon wall also includes Mjolnir.

Well that just raises the question of how he was able to put it on the wall in first place. Did Thor have to put it there for him?
posted by LionIndex at 9:51 AM on August 18 [5 favorites]


I'm thinking the specific enchantment that meant nobody could lift it unless they were worthy was only put on the hammer in one specific timeline; the one in which we see Odin do it in the first Thor movie.
posted by wabbittwax at 10:57 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


Or Hela broke the enchantment on Mjolnir in this timeline instead of just crushing it.
posted by Karmakaze at 11:26 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


Let's see. Asgardian politics would proceed unaffected by Midgardian events at least through the first Thor, so Loki still falls through space and lands with the Chitauri but Thanos is not the driving force behind the invasion in Avengers. Maybe it doesn't happen, maybe the Collector is behind it because he still wants the Tesseract/Space Stone. I did some careful screen pausing and what I originally thought were Loki's horns below Mjolnir was actually the cord to the Eye of Agomato, so the Collector was definitely going after Infinity Gems. Figure the Avengers still probably get together for some reason and Ultron still happens. That leaves the lead-up to Civil War. T'Chaka presumably didn't go in person, lacking an adult heir, leading to him surviving. T'Challa then isn't around for the final fallout between Cap and Iron Man, which may account for Cap's shield being up for grabs. Alternately, the Collector may have picked up the shield as a souvenir when he went to get the mind stone from Vision.
posted by Karmakaze at 11:48 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


"good-guy Thanos" was still softly pitching his idea of genocide throughout so not sure how deep that "good" goes...

I really enjoyed this (and the previous one). What If feels like a bit of fresh air as the Marvel movies have gotten pretty po-faced, up their own mythology and constantly rising stakes (to the point where it feels like they have introduced a multiverse just so there's something bigger to put under threat than "just" the universe). Throwing out the established canon and getting a bit more loose with it all for funsies is a nice palate cleanser.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:27 PM on August 18 [5 favorites]


I don't really buy Nice Thanos but Gang Moll Nebula was fun.

Howard the Duck cameo!

The rest was kinda...meh? But I'm not as invested in the GotG stories. And if I was I'd want Groot and Rocket around.

For a T'challa story, there wasn't much Wakanda.
posted by emjaybee at 5:39 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


From the hints we've seen about upcoming episodes these are gonna get weirder but so far "what if a different character was a character?" isn't exactly setting me on fire.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:57 PM on August 18 [2 favorites]


Huh. Personally I’m finding it interesting and fun to think about “what if a different character was a character.” But I’ve always liked the character-driven aspect of the MCU best.

I found T’Challa as Star Lord to be utterly delightful. He would talk Thanos out of it.
posted by snowmentality at 6:12 PM on August 18 [20 favorites]


HOW HAS NO ONE MENTIONED HOWARD THE DUCK YET?

if they can do a better cameo than that I'll be rally impressed.
posted by GuyZero at 8:37 PM on August 18 [3 favorites]


> "good-guy Thanos" was still softly pitching his idea of genocide
No, no, it's random.
posted by Syllepsis at 9:57 PM on August 18 [16 favorites]


The overall look of the art and the animation of the action didn't grab me as much as the first episode, but wow the faces and expressions were a lot better and the writing was about 1000% better. That bit with Djimon Hounsou at the beginning could easily have been an SNL sketch trying to stretch a single joke way too long, but it kept me laughing all the way to the end of the episode.

Who is Matthew Chauncey and how many episodes can we get him as lead writer?
posted by straight at 11:10 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


It was a perfectly fine episode, with some good humor, but not much that made me go “wow!”
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:23 PM on August 18


If things were different, the T'Challa hagiography would have been too much. The way things are, I really enjoyed the way the character was elevated. It was an addition to the character that I never would have expected. I really enjoyed this episode..
posted by Quonab at 11:49 PM on August 18 [8 favorites]


Definitely enjoyed this well enough, but the big surprise was the fact that that was actually Chadwick Boseman playing T’Challa there, in possibly his final role?
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:33 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Nebula's look seems like a tribute to another space-traveling cyborg woman.

My household noticed this too, and the Seven-of-Nine-ing of Nebula made most of us a little uncomfortable.

However, Djimon Hounsou as fanboy Korath was just wonderful. Knowing that he's voiced Black Panther himself in a different animated series, and has also been a big proponent of diversity in the superhero and scifi/fantasy genres (because he wants his son to grow up seeing faces he can identify with), hearing him act with Boseman feels like such a high note.
posted by radwolf76 at 6:04 AM on August 19 [12 favorites]


My household enjoyed the hell out of this (and somehow didn't note the obvious Seven-of-Nine look, despite having literally just finished binging Voyager right before watching this last night.) Aside from all the feels surrounding Chadwick Boseman's final performance, there was a nice touch in that, by giving Yondu a decade+ of T'Challa's influence, he's pretty much at the same spot in his character arc as he was by the end of Guardians 2, so we the audience can catch right up without having to go back to feeling conflicted about him (since this isn't Yondu's story.)

"Good" Thanos was great for a running concept, though fridge logic now has me realizing that while Nebula has much fewer cyborg "upgrades," we can see at least one, and we know that those came from a lifetime of physical and emotional abuse from Thanos, so the two of them having a more-or-less healthy, chummy relationship is... offputting in retrospect.

Also, from a scan of IMDB (and I'm sure I missed something) it looked like Drax was the only character not voiced by their film actor, and yet Fred Tatasciore somehow sounded more like Dave Bautista than Benicio del Toro sounded like Benicio del Toro.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:04 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


that while Nebula has much fewer cyborg "upgrades," we can see at least one

I thought with the triple cross reveal, she indicated that eye was the debt she owed The Collector? Dunno if that meant Thanos injured her and she had replace it herself though.

I kept looking for Gamora, and wondered if this meant I'm wrong all along about Nebula being the little sister...
posted by cendawanita at 9:26 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Gamora was adopted during one of Thanos' planetary conquests, which he presumably didn't do, thus he didn't adopt her. I guess.
posted by GuyZero at 9:59 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I liked this quite a bit, and I don't think it was any better written than last week's. Sure, last episode had some stiff dialogue, a desultory plot, and was mostly a showcase for impressive fistfights--so it was drawing pretty heavily from the source material. This one was different in tone, pacing, etc., and a lot more like TGotG.

I haven't rewatched The Black Panther, and haven't wanted to since Chadwick Boseman died. As much as I was enjoying this episode, it was very bittersweet, and hard not to think about how much we lost with his passing.
posted by skewed at 10:18 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


About a third of the way through I thought we were in for a full-on Ocean's 11-style heist episode and I was sad that it devolved into a punch-the-bad-guy ending.
posted by GuyZero at 11:52 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Also, from a scan of IMDB (and I'm sure I missed something) it looked like Drax was the only character not voiced by their film actor,

Tatasciore also voiced Corvus Glaive (admittedly not a major character) and Brian T. Delaney is the voice of Peter Quill.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:56 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


So, in the Eternals trailer that just came out, there's a character ("by who?") who seems to connect with What If?. Do I have that right? I know nothing about any of the characters involved.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:09 PM on August 19


I don’t see a connection there.
[Click for details and spoilers]Looks like that dialogue is from Dane Whitman, aka the Black Knight, played by Kit Harington, and I’m not seeing a What If connection there.

posted by Pronoiac at 3:07 PM on August 19


Right, sorry, the thing that happens after that.

[Click for details and spoilers]The "answer" to that question is apparently a giant being that vaguely looks like The Watcher? But I could be wrong, maybe all giant folks with glowing eyes look the same to me.

posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:11 PM on August 19


Yay details tag!

[click for details and spoilers]
The giant glowing-eyes dude is a Celestial; they're tied into cosmic goings-on in the MCU and comics. You see one briefly in the first GotG movie (wielding the Power Stone), Knowhere is housed in a Celestial skull, and they play a big part in the Eternals (comics and apparently movie).

posted by Halloween Jack at 4:59 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Gamora is in the cover art wearing the armour Thanos wore in Infinity War, so it looks like she is being saved for another episode.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 5:49 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Navelgazer: Dave Bautista wasn't asked to reprise his role as Drax in this series and is pretty angry about it. I wonder what their reasoning is for that decision.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 6:15 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Gamora was adopted during one of Thanos' planetary conquests, which he presumably didn't do, thus he didn't adopt her. I guess

I must have picked up the notion that it was the same for Nebula! Hence, Gamora first, then her.
posted by cendawanita at 10:57 PM on August 19


Navelgazer: Dave Bautista wasn't asked to reprise his role as Drax in this series and is pretty angry about it. I wonder what their reasoning is for that decision.

Traditionally, the answer to any question that begins “Why don’t they...?” is, “Money.” That said, I have also seen it that the producers approached him and he turned them down.

If they have pissed off Bautista in the same summer they alienated Scarlett Johansson, this seems a weird misstep for the usually slick Disney people.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:06 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


I had a huge grin on my face throughout the episode. I thought it was delightful (and honestly, it should have been the first episode).
posted by orrnyereg at 7:14 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


I must have picked up the notion that it was the same for Nebula! Hence, Gamora first, then her.

Yeah, huh, you're right. I dunno. I guess it doesn't have to make sense.
posted by GuyZero at 9:17 AM on August 20


Navelgazer: Dave Bautista wasn't asked to reprise his role as Drax in this series and is pretty angry about it. I wonder what their reasoning is for that decision.

Traditionally, the answer to any question that begins “Why don’t they...?” is, “Money.” That said, I have also seen it that the producers approached him and he turned them down.


What I'm seeing is the What if... showrunner saying he thinks there was a "miscommunication" because they were approaching everyone, either directly or through their agents. As a producer in a much, much lower-stakes part of TV, I absolutely believe this.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:25 PM on August 20


Oh, this was grand fun! As I expected, the pacing felt a lot more natural this time as they weren't so closely tied to the plot of a full-length feature. I was kind of surprised though to see the Collector presented as such a physical threat (granted, by using other people's +5 magic gizmos). The sense I got of him from GOTG was much more a behind the scenes manipulator than a guy who does his own fighting. Is this version more consistent with how he's handled in the comics?

And, from studying the splash screen on Disney+, whoa, are they going to do a Marvel Zombies episode? That's going to be pretty bleak...
posted by Naberius at 11:52 AM on August 22


I really enjoyed this episode. The only voice that kind of bugged me was the Collector, who sounded absolutely nothing like Benicio Del Toro did in the first GotG movie.

The wacky, higher-pitched tone of voice sounded odd to me, but it's not very important.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:49 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


I liked the general gist of the story and the Ego malice at the end, but man alive the constant smiling after every single sentence is going to be the end of me. I mean OK, Peggy and Steve were flirting last episode, sure, but yeesh c'mon animators.

(For my money the style is tiptoeing the line between the glossy modern look that I cannot stand in print and still image framing tics that are annoying in animation. Decide what you want to be, guys, and go for it.)
posted by Kyol at 9:11 AM on August 23


I was really not a fan of Thanos being present at all. I am still kind of mad about Infinity War, the whole bullshit premise of the character and peoples' stupid decisions and grrr argh I just want to forget Thanos ever was a thing.

For me, this show has been moderately entertaining, but it kind of feels like fanfic. With the other Disney+ series there was some mystery, a buildup from one episode to the next. And those stories had total runtimes equivalent to 3 movies, where here, it's condensing a movie's story into a single episode length.

It was nice to hear Chadwick Boseman again, and I'm here for Captain Carter with her sword and shield. But I found Loki and WandaVision engrossing, and F&TWS quite good, but What If...? feels like I'm just sort of killing some time with a cartoon without really caring all that much, like I'm 12 and it's Saturday morning.
posted by Foosnark at 12:16 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


Finally caught up with this one, and I liked it more than the first, which feels odd because I'm still heavily embroiled in Cap fandom and Agent Carter. I think a lot of it might have to do with the voices, hearing Chadwick Boseman again (sob!), and so many people reprising roles, like John Kani (I should see if he's ever done any audiobooks because man, I could listen to him forever, his voice is just so excellent) and Djimon Hounsou, who absolutely made this episode. I didn't think that was actually Benicio Del Toro but apparently it was. The mouths also didn't bug me as much in the animation style as the first one, but I'm still not sure I love this animation.

T'Challa is such a better Star-Lord in every possible way even beyond his wanting to make the universe a better place, Peter Quill is just the wooorst and the emphasis on him in Infinity War (and on fucking Thanos) made that piece of crap even worse than it already would have been. While I found it vaguely funny that people were pointing out "still genocide," I just wish that character would go away. It has ruined MCU fandom, and even "tamed" everything about Thanos is terrible.

NGL, I got tears in my eyes at the dedication on the end.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 3:51 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


among the things i paused to hunt down - there's also a TIE fighter among the Collector's vehicles!!
posted by alchemist at 3:58 AM on August 24 [3 favorites]


Peter Quill being petty and self-centered and almost forced into to being a hero by circumstance despite his shitty character is like the whole joke of GotG so yeah, it felt like this just took that joke further by contrasting his outcomes with those of someone who isn't like that. However, I think making T'Challa so intensely and purely Good that even by age 8 it rubs off onto anyone he comes into contact with (except the Collector because we still need a story) just started feeling unfair to Peter Quill - like yeah he's an ass but it's not reasonable to expect anyone to be that good, even T'Challa, really
posted by aubilenon at 10:34 AM on August 25


I hope Chadwick Boseman had fun recording this, it sounds like fun. I love him as a space Robin Hood with Yondu and Thanos being less dickish. "Yeah....that still sounds like genocide..." is a terrible running joke, but I was pleased to see that Thanos wasn't doing that idea.

Meanwhile, Peter Quill works at the Dairy Queen, that sounds about right.

"For me, this show has been moderately entertaining, but it kind of feels like fanfic. "

Certainly true. It's fun, but the continuity means nothing, so.... that's why it's taken me several weeks to get around to watching it and the only reason I am is that it's like 109 outside.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:22 PM on September 7


Who was the other not-Nebula girl in this?
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:25 PM on September 7


The Collector's girl Friday with the cheekbones and the pinkness? Carina. I'd have to watch GotG again to really remember if she had a notable role in the movie, to be honest.
posted by Kyol at 6:45 PM on September 7


Carina also turns up in one of the the stingers, and regardless of timeline, the Collector treats her horribly. (Evil Overlord List Rule #30: never screw over the hired help.)
posted by Karmakaze at 8:23 AM on September 8 [1 favorite]


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