What If episode 2 aired and this time we see T’Challa as Star-Lord. By mistake, Yondu’s men grab Prince T’Challa instead of Peter Quill. This mistake leads to the creation of another branch in the timeline.
Spoiler Alert: this review contains spoilers for What If episode 2, Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and Vol. 2
In the first episode of What If we got to learn about the main concept behind the series and saw Captain Carter’s story as an example of that idea. It wasn’t perfect but it got the job done.
One thing about What If that made me worried was the Watcher. Is he going to be just a simple narrator or will they explore his character more? Fortunately, the Watcher is not a simple narrator. In this episode, he explains a little bit more about how the multiverse and different branches of the timeline work.
By doing this, the Watcher becomes a much more active character and meanwhile, we get to understand how timelines work in the MCU. What If opens a new door for the MCU. At the end of the season, they can simply see the statistics and choose to make a spin-off from the episode that was watched the most.
Unlike the first episode, here we see the true potential of multiverses. At first, we see T’Challa -Black Panther in MCU’s main timeline- become Star-Lord, replacing Peter Quill. But this time we see many more changes in the timeline than we saw in the first episode.
The biggest of them was that T’Challa convinced Thanos to give up on his dream of destroying half of the universe. This means that the main lever of the storyline in MCU’s timeline is no longer available in this branch. Along with Thanos not turning half of the universe into dust, there are some other small changes as well. Tivan the Collector takes the place of Thanos, there are no Guardians of the Galaxy and some other small changes.
Not only are the changes in this timeline bigger but their consequences are also big. Like the ending of the episode where we see Peter Quill listening to a song and cleaning the burger joint. Now this time he will not be the Star-Lord but a sidekick to his father, Ego.
Two of the things that were pointed by the Watcher were Constants and Variables. There are things that in every timeline are Constant. For example, T’Challa will always be from Wakanda and always have very good political skills. Now, him being Star-Lord or Black Panther or just a simple king will be Variables that will change in each timeline.
I liked how they created the story of T’Challa as Star-Lord based on the story of Gautama Buddha. We see that T’Chaka tells the young T’Challa that the outside world has nothing to offer except pain and suffering. T’Chaka tries his best to keep T’Challa safe from the outside just like Buddha’s father. And there is also the Karma that Tivan the Collector mentions.
Since What If is only 30 minutes, they don’t take much time to explain every change in the timeline. If you are a fan of Marvel and have been watching every movie and series of the MCU, then you probably enjoyed What If the most. Although this might work as a double-edged sword for others. At some point you will be motivated to go back and watch the missed movies.
In the end, Marvel pays tribute to the beloved Chadwick Boseman who passed away last year. Not only as the portrayer of Black Panther but as a human being, Chadwick was a beloved and humble man. I believe the T’Challa we see in What If is not the T’Challa we saw in the Black Panther movie or comics. This T’Challa was created with the image of Chadwick, and that is the main reason why he is so humble and loving in What If.
What If episode 2 was much better than the first episode and fixed all the problems we saw in it. It was much deeper and took more risks to show the real potential of multiverses. It was good to see the writers of the series using the Watcher to explain the rules of the multiverse as well as him being the narrator of What If. In the end, this episode was a very humble tribute to Chadwick Boseman.
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What If episode 2 does a great job at showcasing the true potential of the multiverse while also paying tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman.