I sat down to begin writing this What If T’Challa Became A Star-Lord review around 5-minutes in watching the episode. Sometimes I like to take some notes as I move along. However my reaction at this point of the episode was not great. Sure, it was emotional to hear Chadwick Boseman’s voice, and I was surprised at how many other voice actors from the MCU really nailed it in this episode. Yet, the plot I was seeing unfold left me cold. Here we have T’Challa being the kind, great leader he is in the MCU, except he was abducted a child instead of Peter Quill by accident. It was not working for me. However, as I write this review, I find myself looking back fondly at a fun episode of What If…?
To discuss this episode I am really going to have to get into SPOILERS, so I will give a non-Spoiler summary and a warning before I get there.
What If T’Challa Became A Star Lord has an emotional weight to it for the simple fact it is the final performance of the role from the late Chadwick Boseman. Boseman certainly is trying to have a lot of fun here, you can tell. It actually took me a minute to get my head around the craziness of what I was seeing. However, if you do yourself a favor, and move your suspension of disbelief meter down a few notches, this episode was really quite fun.
After a slow start, thing’s pick up and we get a rather exciting little heist episode. T’Challa himself is not the only one changed by this turn of events, so we can see a variety of changes from the world you’d expect to see from the main MCU movies. At first it all felt a little too much to me, but when I stopped overthinking and just gave myself over to that Saturday morning kids cartoon spirit I found myself smiling more than once. This one just has a certain carefree charm that you can’t help be affected by.
However, I do worry that these shows are biting off more than they can chew in one episode. I wonder if things could do with just slowing down a little and allowing the odd conversation to take place? Maybe that is to come, but if not, What If? could get stale.
My main criticism of this episode really gets into spoilers, hence the warning. You’ve therefore either watched What If T’Challa Became A Star-Lord or you just don’t care about spoilers. As said above, the amount of information I was supposed to take in and simply accept within the first few minutes of the show was staggering, and perhaps overpowering. I really struggled to not just roll my eyes and switch it off. No, really. When we find out T’Challa has practically civilized and saved the entire Galaxy, become a legend, and even tamed Thanos I was ready to tap out. However, I think what I learned a few minutes later was to not take this too seriously. The writers are really just having fun with these shows. For my money, despite what the creators say, they are only loosely connected to the MCU.
The Saturday morning carton serial analogy is perfect for What If? Once again, something slightly darker is teased for Season 2, but until we get there these are simple kid friendly stories. Once you accept that, and accept we are not watching a live-action instalment of the MCU, the fun factor goes up. Just don’t try to think too hard about these shows. I’m pretty sure the writers just went crazy. By the time The Collector and the Black Order show up, I’m already mentally 9 years old. I didn’t care about any of the weird power inconsistencies shown. It was just all ‘pew, pew, kapow’. Though, how The Collector got so powerful and Thanos got so nerfed, I simply don’t know? However, the point is, by the end, I also didn’t care.
There was one thing worth mentioning and that’s the absence of Dave Bautista as Drax. I can totally see why they felt maybe it would be insulting to ask Bautista to be in this. Drax has one scene and whilst it would be better with Bautista, it’s over before it’s begun. Unless Drax shows up elsewhere, bringing Bautista in to record five lines seems slightly insulting. Yet, if he was up for it, they should have asked him anyway. If they ever decide to do a What If? focused on a different side of the cosmic MCU going awry, then they must get Bautista back because he delivers those lines so much better.
I still hope that eventually we may get some darker episodes because so far it’s been very light. However I think, and hope that is still to come. I’m now intrigued to see if the writers can handle a completely different tone?
That’s my What If T’Challa Became A Star-Lord review, leave your own below.