We all remember Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) as the villain in Black Panther. He was looking for vengeance against Wakanda for the death of his father Prince N’Jobu. We all know how the story went in Black Panther. We also remember how Iron Man came about from Tony Stark (Mick Wingret). He was put in a situation where he realized he was wrong for making weapons. This is different, What If…? is delivering us alternate realities. We’ve seen things from zombies, Dr. Strange completely alternating reality for love, etc. Now we see a political action thriller where Killmonger is at the forefront, and Iron Man never exists.
Tony Stark still goes on his trip to Afghanistan, and is met by the Ten Rings. This time instead of being captured, he’s saved by Killmonger. Killmonger exposes Obediah Stane (Kiff VandenHeuvel) as the sole conspirator to knock Tony off, and Tony promotes him to COO of Stark Industries. Pepper Potts (Beth Hoyt) knows something is up, and keeps digging with Col. Rhodes (Don Cheadle). Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) also knows Killmonger is up to no good. He and Tony bond, work on drone soldiers that look like Gundam machines, etc. Until, a plan to grab Vibranium from Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) goes haywire.
We see Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) interrupt and a few casualties later, Tony Stark realizes Killmonger is truly a villain. The rest of the film plays out a tad bit like Black Panther with a twist. The military seizes control of Stark Industries, and starts an all out war with Wakanda, leading to a pretty amazing battle scene. Though Killmonger may or may not have pulled off his plan, Shuri (Ozioma Akagha) knows he’s up to know good. As The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) states, heroes never truly die.
Brian Andrews is the director for this episode of What If….?. Matthew Chauncey is the screenwriter. The twists and turns in this episode are very methodic. They tie in bits and pieces from both Iron Man and Black Panther, It’s a really good story, as Killmonger will have the same motivations – Liberating black people all over the world from their oppressors. This can be very controversial as it was in the original Black Panther film. It also brings about a conversation that many think is often thought about. What if Africans were the colonizers and not the English? What would the world look like? Kudos to Andrews and Chauncey for adding to what the Killmonger character.
The Animation and fight scenes in this episode are really good. The visual effects team did a wonderful job. The voice characters, Wingert, Hoyt, and, VandenHeuvel do a good job at keeping their characters alive as we know them. Tony still has the charisma, Potts still has that charm, and Obediah still seems like scum. Along with the returning actors to voice their characters, It’s so great to continue to hear Boseman’s voice, and Disney honoring his memory. This was probably my favorite episode. The politics, the voice acting, the animation, it was very enjoyable.
The military industrial complex being infiltrated to start a war of liberation isn’t a concept I don’t think we’ve ever seen in anything. The idea is fresh, and for Disney of all companies to use it is pretty intriguing. My only knock on this is that there wasn’t a definitive ending. I know that it will draw conversation that will be controversial, but it’s interesting. Killmonger is an interesting character study, and it was great to have him back. Marvel is slowly pushing the needle, and I’m here for it. – Rascal F. Kennedy
Marvel’s What If…? premieres Wednesdays on Disney+