“What If… T’Challa Became Star-Lord?” is a wonderful, bittersweet tale that finally takes full advantage of the series’ premise

I wasn’t crazy about the first episode of What If…? as it struck me as a truncated and rushed retelling of the first Captain America movie, sacrificing the promise of infinite possibilities for a formula we’ve already seen. This week’s episode, however, is a whole different animal. “What If… T’Challa Became Star-Lord” is not a retelling of Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s something new, exciting, silly, unexpected, and wonderful.

First of all, I have to give it up for Chadwick Boseman who, in one of his final performances, captures the charm and charisma of T’Challa perfectly. Boseman was perfect for this role, oozing confidence and wisdom, and his absence from the MCU will not just leave a hole, it will leave a blast crater. I do not envy those who have to write the stories going forward without him in it, but I am so grateful that we were blessed with one more appearance from T’Challa and, I am somewhat comforted that, in the world of imagination… the world of What If…?, T’Challa will live on and, by extension, so will Chadwick Boseman.

Where the Captain Carter episode of What If…? was formulaic, The Star-Lord T’Challa episode is anything but. T’Challa is a much different Star-Lord than Peter Quill. Unlike Quill, T’Challa is a born leader who attacks his problems with wisdom and strategy. The difference he’s made in allies and enemies makes for an entertaining installment, an episode that is part adventure, part heist, and part comedy.

Truthfully, I loved every minute of it. The reveals had me screaming, the action and unexpected guest stars had me rolling, and the connections to both Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther were great. Those unexpected Wakandan drums when T’Challa discovered the ship gave me goosebumps.

I loved it. I want more like this.

I really hope that the remaining episodes of What If…? follow this installment’s lead.

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