The second episode of Marvel Studios’ latest anthology series, What If…?, released today on Disney+. You can check out my initial thoughts on episode 2 below. Be warned – spoilers after the break!
I was slightly disappointed with the opening episode of What If…?. Whilst there was a lot to enjoy in its animation, gags and concept, the story didn’t offer anything overly new to the MCU. Thankfully, episode 2 takes all the goodness from the opening episode and adds a unique insight into what the MCU would look like if T’Challa became a Star-Lord.
Episode 2 of What If…? begins by following a young T’Challa who is abducted by the Ravagers, who mistake him for Peter Quill. The episode doesn’t hang around and fast forwards to a time where ‘Star-Lord’ is a famous outlaw mercenary and is a part of the Ravagers, along with a reformed Thanos and Korath. Undoubtedly my favourite part of the episode was seeing a transformed Thanos joking around with the Ravagers and helping them on their quest to steal the Embers of Genesis. You get the impression that creating this series was a whole lot of fun!
Hearing Chadwick Boseman’s voice for the first time in the episode gave me instant goose bumps and hearing his voice throughout almost made the episode feel a little poignant. His voice is instantly recognisable and I was genuinely impressed with his voice acting skills. I believe T’Challa is set to appear again later in the series, but I felt that the episode served as a great tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman.
The vast majority of characters in episode 2 are voiced by their MCU counterparts and it was great to see appearances from the likes of The Collector and Yondu, characters we’ve not seen in the MCU for a few years now. Like I mentioned earlier, seeing the likes of Thanos, Yondu, Kraglin and the rest of the Ravagers hanging out felt totally surreal, but it was a whole lot of fun. Similarly, it was interesting to see Thanos and Nebula’s spiky relationship, something we’d come to associate with Gamora rather than Nebula in the MCU.
One thing which I’ve loved about the series so far is the little call-backs to various scenes within the MCU. We saw numerous call-backs in episode 1, like Peggy smashing the punching bag off its hook, a nod to when we saw Steve Rodgers do the same in Avengers Assemble. One of my favourite call-backs this week was when Korath asked T’Challa if he should bow in his presence – a reference to when Bruce Banner asked the same question in Avengers: Infinity War! These references are beginning to feel like mini easter eggs and I absolutely love them!
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the second episode of What If…?. I felt it offered a little more anthropology than the first episode and there were a lot of varying concepts within the episode (like a law-abiding Thanos) which really gave it a unique feel. I have a feeling these early episodes are just warming us up for what are going to be some even crazier concepts in later episodes!
What If…? is available to stream on Disney+, with new episodes releasing every Wednesday.