What If…? is a new animated series on Disney+ that takes a hypothetical look at what might have happened if the events of Marvel’s Black Panther never happened. In this episode, we explore what would happen if T’Challa became Star-Lord instead.
What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord? is the second episode of the first season of the Marvel TV show, What If…?. In this episode, we see what would happen if T’Challa became a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy and how that would affect Wakanda and its people.
What If…? – Season 1, Episode 2 REVIEW “What If… T’Challa Turned Into a Star-Lord?”
“A Star-Lord classic.”
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That was a quick response. What If…? has created one of the worst pieces of “entertainment” the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever produced, and this is coming from someone who has seen The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. “What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?” features all of the issues of the series premiere – poor animation, a boring voice cast, and a narrative that lacks weight – yet it gets the important stuff wrong, like the characters and action.
Yondu and his Ravagers kidnap T’Challa instead of Peter Quill in one of Marvel’s multiverse’s many universes, resulting in the former Black Panther becoming Star-Lord. T’Challa accepts a benign robbery that is more than it seems after assembling a motley band of surprising do-gooders.
The animation isn’t working at all once again. In the last episode, I thought they were attempting to replicate the aesthetic of Captain America: The First Avenger, which resulted in glossy, flat animation that failed to express movement correctly. But what if T’Challa turned into a Star-Lord? It’s the same style, and it’s still terrible; in fact, it’s worse this time since there’s no excuse. The animation bears no resemblance to either Black Panther or Guardians of the Galaxy, so the fact that an effort at anything creative was being done last week was just coincidental. As a result, the facial expressions remain weird, the motions seem to be either too quick or too sluggish, and the battles are uninteresting.
The voice acting isn’t much better either. The majority of the performers from the films return, but they’re in a similar situation to those from last week. Nobody is as terrible as Sebastian Stan and Dominic Cooper, but they’re all very boring. I believe that part of the issue is the lack of animation when they talk, but virtually little of the dialogue in “What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?” seems alive or fascinating; it’s simply there, robotically droned out by individuals who sound like they want to get their money and leave the studio. Karen Gillan is by far the finest of the group, making Nebula seem like she’s having some kind of emotional reaction. However, Chadwick Boseman, Michael Rooker, and a few others I won’t name before the spoiler alert (not that I recommend you see it) are simply going through the motions.
The characters are abysmally constructed, or rebuilt, as the case may be, now that we’ve entered spoiler area. No one feels like their big-screen equivalent in “What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?” T’Challa is no longer a flawed but ultimately good guy grappling with the burdens of his ancestry; he’s suddenly a space-faring Jesus who, on his own, improves the whole world and everyone who lives inside it. He transforms Yondu and the Ravagers into benevolent thieves who help the less fortunate; he transforms Thanos into a good guy by explaining to him that killing many innocent people is wrong; and he transforms Korath from a murderous nemesis to a drooling fanboy who joins the rest of the galaxy’s denizens because everyone loves T’Challa. It’s absurd and dumb, and it makes an otherwise fascinating character intolerable.
T’Challa has destroyed all of those characters he has “improved.” Thanos’ conversion makes no sense, even if he has lost all of his threat and even relatability as a hero (I get it; it’s What If…?). How could someone so adamant, so vain, so certain that his was the only way, alter his opinion after only one human conversation? How did T’Challa meet Thanos in the first place? There is no decent explanation for either of these things in “What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?” because there isn’t one, and there’s no reason to simply go with it either. Yondu is reduced to a dull type rather than the nuanced figure he was in the movies; he’s now the obvious leader who almost by necessity defers to T’Challa, transformed by the adoptive son he took under his care. (A phrase like, “All this time, T’Challa was the one educating us” would be perfect.) None of it has any weight since it’s created via expository speech rather than real events, but I suppose that’s more credible than Thanos the Good Guy. T’Challa’s altruistic acts also degrade Peter Quill, who now seems to be an even greater failure who would have been better off staying on Earth. (While the last scene implies that this would bring the world to an end, the half-hour of T’Challa’s deification remains.)
The storyline of “What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?” is so thin that it hardly deserves to be mentioned. The Collector’s MacGuffin is taken straight from The Wrath of Khan, right down to Nebula’s description of the possible advantages of freeing it. That’s correct, the Collector is the antagonist, and he’s now a roided-up mobster in a pimp jacket who becomes an even more convoluted embodiment of enslavement than in Guardians of the Galaxy (because in the new phase of Marvel entertainment, black people think about nothing outside of slavery and racial oppression, even if they grew up in space). He also has the Black Order as henchmen; no prizes for guessing whether Thanos will have to battle them or whether he will be humiliated since he is a popular figure. The narrative unfolds with the zeal of a fresh cracker, with all the twists and double-crosses canceling each other out until they were never there in the first place. The cheesy jokes and useless movie allusions don’t help matters either. This episode is completely pointless.
“What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?” is a drab episode featuring shoddy animation, lifeless voice acting, and a cast of damaged characters tossed about by a storyline that snores. I can’t see anybody wanting to watch What If…? if this is how it’s going to be from now on. It’s more of an insult than an honor that they dedicated it to the late Chadwick Boseman.
Plot – 4
6 points for acting
5 – Progression
0.7 Production Design
“What If… T’Challa Turned Into a Star-Lord?” is a drab episode with poor animation, flat voice acting, and a cast of damaged characters tossed about by a storyline that snores.
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