Warning! Spoilers ahead for Marvel’s What If…? episode 2, “What If…T’Challa Became A Star-Lord?”
In Marvel’s What If…?, the MCU finally showcases just how powerful the Black Order truly is, redeeming how underutilized the Children of Thanos were in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. While they’ve found new employment in the alternate timeline featured in the series’ second episode, it actually provides the perfect opportunity for members of the Black Order to shine in the MCU. However, this is an MCU that’s been drastically changed due to Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa being abducted by the Ravagers instead of Peter Quill.
In Marvel’s What If…? episode 2, T’Challa was taken and raised by Yondu, becoming an actually popular and legendary Star-Lord across the cosmos, largely due to the fact that he convinced Yondu and the Ravagers to shift their goals and putting a new focus on stealing from the rich in order to give to the poor. Not only that, but Thanos the Mad Titan is also revealed to be a member of the Ravagers as well, having been talked out of his Decimation plan by T’Challa himself. However, this apparently created a power vacuum that the Collector was quick to fill, and the Black Order soon entered his service as his highly capable security force.
While the members of the Black Order of the comics are incredibly formidable with dynamic personalities and characteristics, the Black Order seen in the final two Avengers films of the MCU’s Infinity Saga were severely underutilized and wasted, receiving next to no development and being killed way too easily by the heroes of Earth. As a result, it’s nice to see certain members of the Black Order getting a chance for redemption such as Cull Obsidian (a.k.a. Black Dwarf) and Proxima Midnight when they face off with Thanos who stayed behind during the Ravagers’ heist to stall the Collector’s agents. Remarkably, Cull and Proxima had little problem subduing Thanos, squarely beating the Mad Titan down and proving their true power that should have been depicted all along in the MCU.
Surprisingly, it only took half of the Black Order to take down Thanos, and the only reason they didn’t execute the Mad Titan was due to a surprise attack from Nebula who unleashed the Embers of Genesis. While things would have naturally gone in Thanos’ favor had he had the Infinity Gauntlet, his defeat is impressive on the Black Order’s part, all things considered. That being said, it would have been good to see Corvus Glaive and Ebony Maw in action as well, though Cull and Proxima certainly got their point across in this episode that the Black Order is much more formidable than they were given credit for previously in the Battle of Wakanda and Battle of Earth.
In any case, despite being killed much too quickly in Infinity War and being dusted along with the rest of Thanos’ forces in Endgame, the Black Order deserves redemption from their terrible first depiction, and Marvel’s What If…? certainly fits that bill as a solid foundation. Here’s hoping the powerful Children of Thanos get more opportunities to shine in future projects of the MCU going forward.
Marvel’s What If…? releases new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.