What If...?: … Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?
September 15, 2021 7:59 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

An American soldier called Killmonger rescues Tony Stark when his Humvee is attacked in Afghanistan.

Erik "Killmonger" Stevens (née N'Jadaka) gets ahold of Obidiah's plot to murder Tony Stark in Iron Man and interrupts, preventing the invention of the armor and insinuating himself into Stark Industries to further his plans to return to Wakanda and turn the traditionally isolationist country to a more hawkish stance. Showing his nicknamed well-earned, he leaves a trail of bodies in the wake of his quest.
posted by Karmakaze (26 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I know, I know, it's Disney, it's Disney-- but I'm getting tired of this blatant anti-revolutionary propaganda.
posted by yonega at 8:26 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]


I was hoping Killmonger would get to meet his Dad as well as or instead of T’Challa.
posted by sixswitch at 8:30 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


Remember when Disney made a pro-union musical? *sigh*

Killmonger's plan was fine right up until he reactivated the drones. Without T'Challa there he was in a perfect position to build a power base in Wakanda and pull a "isn't it time T'Chaka retires" and make himself king. While setting that up, he could easily have pinned Tony's death and T'Challa's on Klue and let T'Chaka negotiate a "you agree the drones are our property as they were made from stolen vibranium and we pretend you never invaded a sovereign country over an unsolved murder" peace with the US. The rest of the world is going to be wicked glad to see the USA no longer in sole possession of those drones and would back that compromise. And, eh, voilà, he's in a position to start pushing back against the colonizers. If he had the patience to play this long game, he should have the patience to keep playing it.

Looking at the timeline, I think we're supposed to think this is all going in during Phase I so if Fury has the sense to recruit the Shuri/Pepper team we still have a full Avengers roster to fight off the Chitauri. After that, it's hard to say where the metaplot goes. There is plenty of room for one or more of the drones to hive mind themselves into Ultron, but Civil War falls out very differently that way, especially without Tony. By the time we hit Thanos' Endgame it's anybody's guess.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:50 AM on September 15 [4 favorites]


Killmonger's plan was fine right up until he reactivated the drones. Without T'Challa there he was in a perfect position to build a power base in Wakanda and pull a "isn't it time T'Chaka retires" and make himself king.

It really seemed like the episode was going that direction.

It felt like the episode needed to be at least 1/3 longer. The ending felt really abrupt.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:57 AM on September 15 [4 favorites]


If he had the patience to play this long game, he should have the patience to keep playing it.

I feel like we're having the same debate that we had when the movie came out. It's Erik Killmonger, not Erik Dynastybuilder. (See also this piece from The Root.)

I'm also wondering if the Shuri/Pepper scene is somehow setting up for the big WI? crossover that's been teased.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:29 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: Plenty of room for one or more of the drones to hive mind themselves into Ultron.
posted by Paul Slade at 9:32 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


Was really hoping for Okoye to be the new Black Panther and fight off Killmonger's robots, since they robbed her of her chance to clown a dude with a wig in this episode.

I thought non-Gwenyth did a great job as Pepper Potts, certainly made me do a double- and triple-take because I thought she was too busy selling supplements and candles to do VO work. (And she is, it's just the actor replacing her is really good.)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:52 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


Killmonger is the poster child for "good intentions, bad methods" which, as has already been pointed out, is a classic propaganda strategy. Of course there's better ways to achieve his goals but this episode straight up says he'd rather burn it all down than work inside the current system, but this is a false dichotomy. Showing only those two options implies the correct answer is always to work in the system rather than dismantle it nonviolently.

Pepper and Shuri make a good team. I'd also enjoy this being a hint to them working together in future movies, or a SORAS version of Morgan Stark and Shuri teaming up. Since Ironheart is in the future of the MCU it'd be neat if they also were involved. I also felt this ended abruptly, without even a hint as to what the future of this timeline might be.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 10:26 AM on September 15 [5 favorites]


A lot of these episodes end at the point where the story you really want to see starts, and it’s done in a way that feels to me like they actually plan to continue those stories. I’d rather not speculate, but knowing only that we’ll be seeing Captain Carter again, I wonder if they’re setting up a Multiversal Avengers who are going to travel the timelines to defeat Loki, Zombie Thanos, Ego, and Killmonger.

I liked this episode, even if the drone battle was weirdly executed by Ross, T’Chaka, and Killmonger. I liked how Tony, without his humbling brush with death, was so obnoxious you wanted him to get speared. And T’Challa leads the power rankings by being a pivotal character in fully 50% of the episodes so far.
posted by ejs at 11:44 AM on September 15 [4 favorites]


Yeah, this episode was good, precisely because it looks at different twist on some popular characters and those takes aren't always positive. Tony Stark stayed his completely assholish self, with no humility and it shows. KillMonger was a great choice, as we see him actually succeed.

The only real compliant is the most of the episodes feel a bit rushed, with the central change driving the action. Most of the other characters feel like brushed aside or plot points.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:18 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]


Somehow the action here wasn't as fun as the capt Carter episode, but it was action for plot, the battle is political intrigue. So they didn't put the weight of the fight into the animation, like the first episode.

But I dug it. Fine, they totally got me with queen angela bassett mourning t'challa in the midst of battle.
posted by eustatic at 4:53 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]


Well, it sucked less than the last two, I guess.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:13 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]


Um...is this continued next week or something? That wasn't an open ending; there was NO ending.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:51 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


I thought this episode played off real-world political events and locales better than the movies, including the imo overrated Captain America: The Winter Soldier, invoking the U.S.'s imperialist and warmongering legacy and even mentioning the Patriot Act. Only on Disney+, you won't be getting this in theaters!
posted by Apocryphon at 11:05 PM on September 15 [4 favorites]


Killmonger is the poster child for "good intentions, bad methods" which, as has already been pointed out, is a classic propaganda strategy. Of course there's better ways to achieve his goals but this episode straight up says he'd rather burn it all down than work inside the current system, but this is a false dichotomy. Showing only those two options implies the correct answer is always to work in the system rather than dismantle it nonviolently.

Yeah the obvious response - and it would be entirely in character for Killmonger to say it - is "how many more of our brothers and sisters are you going to help gun down while you're working within the system?"
posted by phearlez at 7:19 AM on September 16


Um...is this continued next week or something? That wasn't an open ending; there was NO ending.

I think a lot of these are kind of like "alternative history" stories, where you kind of have to have some kind of familiarity with how things "really happened" to contextualize the "alternative" you saw.

For example, the very ending of the one with "T'Challa as Starlord" ends by showing you what happened to Peter Quill in that timeline - he's grown up as a bitter slacker who's the assistant manager of a Dairy Queen, and he gets visited by Ego, his biological father, at the end. And that's it - which in and of itself as a standalone is also kind of a non-ending. But in the "real story" of Peter Quill, he did become Starlord, and that put him in with a team of weird misfits that gave him a chosen family, and Yondu became his adoptive father. He still met Ego, and was still excited to meet Ego, but growing up with those weird misfits and finding that extended family is what gave him the ability to say "no" when Ego wanted to take over the universe with him at the end of the second Guardians of the Galaxy film. So even though that "Peter Quill meets Ego at the Dairy Queen" is a non-ending on paper, in context it's kind of a downer - because you realize that "oh crap, Peter Quill won't have any reason to say no to Ego and that means they're going to take over the universe and we're all screwed".

So that meeting with Shuri and Pepper seems like a non-ending - but in the "real world," Pepper was Tony Stark's conscience in a big way, and Shuri was a big power-behind-the-throne for T'Challa. Except in this reality Tony Stark and T'Challa are both gone. So that meeting, in context, suggests that "okay, instead of Shuri backing up T'Challa and Pepper backing up Tony, they're going to team up with each other and go kick some ass."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:23 AM on September 16 [11 favorites]


Um...is this continued next week or something? That wasn't an open ending; there was NO ending.

The mid-season teaser trailer would lead me to believe this story thread will be continued.
posted by Molesome at 8:39 AM on September 16


At the very least we seem to still have Captain Carter meeting up with Chaotic Evil Strange coming up.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:33 AM on September 16


Yeah this whole show is a series of cliffhangers to be continued. Makes me wonder how many episodes it will take to resolve these stories. Some are more concluded than others.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:24 PM on September 16


What was the timeframe supposed to be on this? Michael B. Jordan was 18/19 during the events of Iron Man. Are we just supposed to think that all fo the Marvel movies happened within a year of each other?
posted by haileris23 at 3:20 PM on September 16


I've not been able to see these get but from the chat here and the expected multiverse direction of phase 4 it sounds like alternate black panther from another earth is the likeliest route to replacing Chadwick Boseman.
posted by biffa at 3:59 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]


I feel pretty confident they're going to make Shuri the new Black Panther. Everybody loves Shuri! And it will be some time before audiences are okay with replacing Chadwick Boseman, I think. It was almost a decade before there was a Joker after Heath Ledger. I'm not even sure audiences will be okay with a new voice actor for Black Panther in a second season of What If.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:15 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]


Everybody loves Shuri!

Not everybody!
posted by fomhar at 4:57 PM on September 16 [3 favorites]


What was the timeframe supposed to be on this? Michael B. Jordan was 18/19 during the events of Iron Man. Are we just supposed to think that all fo the Marvel movies happened within a year of each other?

I think that Killmonger is older than the actor playing him; in the flashback scenes in Black Panther, set in 1992, he seems older than 5 (Jordan was born in '87). If he were born in, say, '82, that would put him at 26 during the events of IM1, which would be enough for him to have become a Navy SEAL and earned those kill scars.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:33 AM on September 17 [2 favorites]


Yeah this whole show is a series of cliffhangers to be continued.

Someone observed (I think about a previous episode) that these little 35-minute episodes often contain as much plot as the mainline movies, but freed of the constraints of having to introduce and delineate the characters — I think Flynn in the first episode is the only one not well-known to us, and he has not much to do besides be obstructing military guy — they can pack a lot of story in.

Think of them as a series of “Previously On...”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:49 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


I love Shuri the character, but given the (sigh) things about the actress, might as well recast.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:55 PM on September 19 [2 favorites]


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