So far, Marvel and Disney+’s What If…? series has shown us a wide range of alternate takes of the many films of the Marvel Cinematic. From a simple change in events to universal catastrophe, thus far, the series has struck a delicate balance in its first five episodes.
The sixth episode of the series, What If… Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?, depicted a world where Eric ‘Killmonger’ Stevens, enacted his scheme to infiltrate Wakanda much sooner than what we saw in Black Panther.
Instead, Killmonger saves Tony Stark during the fateful day that should have put him on the path to become Iron Man. Killmonger robs Tony Stark of his change of heart and convinces the would-be Avenger to continue making weapons of mass destruction instead.
Michael B. Jordan once again steps into the role of Killmonger, toeing the line of being a charismatic soldier and an evil mastermind. As much as we see the extent of Killmonger’s revenge plan in the original Black Panther, his plan in this What If…? episode is much more elaborate and machiavellian.
He more or less triple crosses various factions at the drop of a hat, and goes on a murder spree to the degree of a serial killer. It’s definitely something that could be shown in a typical MCU movie, and this episode makes full use of the animated medium to depict this.
If anything, it proves that Killmonger needs to somehow return to the mainline MCU canon, just like the reintroduction of Baron Zemo in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. He could be revived in the second Black Panther movie, though how they would manage that is really up in the air.
The great thing about Wakanda being a hidden kingdom in Africa is that, by all accounts, the nation and its forces can appear anytime during the timeline of the MCU. Which is why this episode and the episode where T’Challa became Star Lord are able to tell their stories so naturally.
It shows that Wakanda could have been introduced into the canon at any time, and Black Panther could have happened much earlier in the MCU. That’s not to say that the Black Panther film didn’t come out at the perfect time, but it does open up to a lot of What If scenarios in the future.
This episode also treated us with performances by Robert Downey Jr. and Chadwick Boseman as their iconic characters, as we won’t ever see them again in any live-action MCU projects from here on out.
While it was amazing to watch Killmonger execute his plan so effortlessly and come out unscathed and triumphant, the ending leaves viewers on a cliffhanger. With Killmonger similarly becoming a Black Panther in the movie, it’s sad that we may never see the full extent of him being the hero of Wakanda.
The ending sees Shuri meeting up Pepper Potts to plan their own revenge against Killmonger. Whether this means we are getting a sequel for this episode is unclear, but it is frustrating if they just left things hanging right there.
What If…? is streaming now on Disney+ Hotstar. Subscribe today using this link.
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