What If…? Episode 2 recap: A Black Panther in space

T’Challa/Star-Lord in Marvel Studios' WHAT IF...? exclusively on Disney+. © Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
T’Challa/Star-Lord in Marvel Studios' WHAT IF...? exclusively on Disney+. © Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

In What If Episode 2, a Wakandan prince saves the universe with a little help from his friends. But there’s always someone else trying to rise to power by any means necessary.

What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord? takes the Disney Plus show to the stars. The Watcher informs us: On one Earth, T’Challa joined the Ravagers and became Star-Lord T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman).

Raised by Yondu (Michael Rooker), T’Challa went on many adventures in space, but never back to Earth, not after learning that Wakanda had been destroyed in a senseless war.

As T’Challa and the Ravagers embark on a new adventure, T’Challa is tasked with a mission. One more dangerous than anything the Ravagers have faced before.

What If Episode 2 – A new ravager

What If...? Episode 2 Recap
The Watcher (voiced by Jeffrey Wright) in Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF…? exclusively on Disney+. © Marvel Studios 2020. All Rights Reserved. /

Fans of the Guardians of the Galaxy films will recall the introduction to adult Peter Quill like the back of their hands. It’s a scene we revisited in Avengers: Endgame, as well.

In What If Episode 2, it’s back to Morag and Star-Lord again trying to get the orb, which houses the Power stone. Except for this time, when Korath (Djimon Hounsou) confronts Star-Lord, things go a bit differently.

For one, Star-Lord is now T’Challa. Peter Quill was never abducted by Yondu et al. In 1988, a young T’Challa, frustrated at being locked away from the outside world, raced out of the Wakandan barriers and straight onto Yondu’s ship.

That was not Yondu’s plan, but his clan of Ravagers couldn’t tell humans apart and nabbed the first child they saw. Since T’Challa seemed unphased by that turn of events, Yondu promised to show the boy the universe, and the little boy who had never seen the outside of Wakanda joined the band of merry Ravagers.

Since then, T’Challa has become a more than capable fighter and negotiator. He’s adopted Robin Hood’s motto of taking from the rich and giving to the poor to heart. While Peter Quill stole for the Ravagers’ profit, T’Challa steals to give to the powerless. We are not even surprised.

Word of T’Challa’s exploits has gone far and wide. Despite working for Ronan, Korath is a huge Star-Lord fan. He even kneels to T’Challa, which is not what T’Challa expects.

Korath also does not want to return to working for Ronan. He and T’Challa conspire to let T’Challa escape. But first, they need to fight. And make it look real.

Once Korath is out for the count, T’Challa carries the man out. Only to be greeted by a horde of Ronan’s soldiers. Fortunately, in this timeline, Star-Lord doesn’t travel alone. After some hesitation, Yondu appears with his sonic arrow.

As in the regular Marvel Cinematic Universe, Yondu and Star-Lord have a deep familial bond. And Yondu is thrilled to add a new Ravager. Korath, of course, is beyond delighted.

What If Episode 2 – The mission

When the Ravagers regroup in What If Episode 2, they discuss T’Challa’s successes, mainly because Korath can’t stop talking about them; he must be the universe’s biggest fanboy. But it’s really very endearing.

T’Challa hasn’t just helped people; he’s saved trillions of lives. And he did that by talking Thanos down from his genocidal mission. In fact, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is a Ravager now, fighting alongside T’Challa, Yondu, Kraglin (Sean Gunn), and Taserface (Chris Sullivan). I never thought we’d see the day.

And they’re not alone. Nebula (Karen Gillan) spends enough time with the Ravagers to nickname T’Challa—Cha-Cha. This is a whole different Nebula than what we’ve seen. She only has one cyborg implant, which has put her in an infinitely better mood.

But Nebula is here with something important—a mission for the Ravagers. The Embers of Genesis have fallen into dangerous hands. These tiny seeds could terraform entire planets and save dying worlds in minutes. If the Ravagers can get the Embers, they can save millions of lives.

The only catch—the Embers are in the hands of the Collector. In this timeline, since Thanos ended his genocidal mission, the Collector (Benicio Del Toro) swept in to fill the power vacuum. And he’s been a terrifying and unstoppable force ever since. This could be dangerous.

The plan is for Nebula and Yondu to pretend to give the Collector the orb, but they’ll actually be smuggling T’Challa into Knowhere. Once inside, T’Challa locates the Embers, steals them, and they get out. None of that happens.

You can catch new episodes of What If…? every Wednesday on Disney Plus.

Before everything goes sideways, T’Challa finds a Wakandan spaceship, like nothing he’s seen before. Obviously, he goes inside and sees a message from his father, King T’Chaka (John Kani).

Older, grayer, and much sadder, King T’Chaka has sent a message to the stars looking for his son. T’Challa is outraged—Yondu had told him Wakanda was destroyed. He had lied to keep T’Challa with him. T’Challa lost his real family, but does he see that he made a new one in the stars?

Family matters have to take a backseat because things are going very south. Nebula, of all people, betrays the team—she owes the Collector a debt, and the price is T’Challa. The Ravagers get caught, and T’Challa ends up in a cell.

But this is Star-Lord T’Challa we’re talking about. He may not have the Goddess Bast’s blessings here, nor the power derived from the heart-shaped herb of Wakanda, but he is still T’Challa. The Collector has his work cut out for him.

What If Episode 2 – Escape from Knowhere

What If...? Episode 2 Recap
(L-R) The Collector and T’Challa/Star-Lord in Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF…? exclusively on Disney+. © Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

In the timeline in What If Episode 2, the Collector is not only super buff, but he’s managed to take out a few galactic enemies, which becomes obvious from his extensive trophy collection. Among his victims appear to be Korg, all three of Odin’s children—Hela, Thor, and Loki—and Captain America.

Fortunately, T’Challa’s not on his own. Yondu won’t leave his child behind, no matter the circumstances. The two work seamlessly together to fight the Collector.

Meanwhile, Nebula frees the Ravagers, revealing that this was her and T’Challa’s plan all along so she could be free of her debt and they could save worlds with the Embers. The Ravagers are very confused.

We’re used to seeing the Black Order fight by Thanos’ side, but here, they’re fighting for the Collector. There’s something cathartic about seeing the Black Order beat Thanos to a pulp, but one can’t help feeling torn. Thanos is kind of a good guy here.

It’s also strange seeing Nebula race to her father’s aid, knowing how awful he was to her in the regular timeline. What wonders T’Challa worked on this universe.

The Ravagers escape in their ship, the Mandela, while T’Challa and Yondu successfully trap the Collector and leave him to the mercies of his put-upon assistant, Carina (Ophelia Lovibond). Let’s just say she doesn’t sit around waiting to get revenge on her boss.

T’Challa and Yondu escape in the Wakandan spacecraft, and T’Challa realizes that he does need to go home to his other family.

With the Ravagers by his side, T’Challa returns to Wakanda, 20 years after he went missing. The Wakandans are overjoyed, and they accept T’Challa’s galactic family with open arms.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Peter Quill (Brian T. Delaney) is mopping up at a Dairy Queen when he’s visited by his father, Ego (Kurt Russell). But that story, says The Watcher, is for another day.

Final Thoughts – What If Episode 2 is a fitting farewell to Chadwick Boseman

What If Episode 2 was a delight from start to finish. This series is only two episodes in, and I love every minute. I used to enjoy the What If comics, but this show is another level of fun.

The story was so positive and funny. Djimon Hounsou’s Korath was adorable. I wish we’d got to see this version in live-action. Seeing Nebula happy warmed my heart. Even Thanos was fun to watch—everyone telling him his plans were basically genocide was such a relief.

But the late Chadwick Boseman absolutely stole the show here. What a final performance as T’Challa. There’s a lightness to T’Challa Star-Lord that came through in Boseman’s voice. This is a T’Challa not burdened by his title but one who gets to save the universe his way.

The writers perfectly captured the goodness in T’Challa and how he’s able to spread that kindness throughout the universe. This episode made me wish it wasn’t an alternate timeline in the MCU.

The dedication message to Boseman at the end of the episode, coupled with the respectful somber music, was a reminder of what an indelible mark Boseman has left in the MCU and pop culture.

I loved this episode, and I cannot wait to see what happens with the rest of the characters in the coming weeks.

All MCU shows coming to Disney Plus. dark. Next

What did you think of What If Episode 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

What If…? is streaming on Disney Plus.