Marvel’s What If…? episode 2 explored what would have happened if T’Challa became Star-Lord and Peter Quill stayed on Earth, and through this storyline, the Marvel Cinematic Universe accidentally predicted the biggest problem Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is facing. Now that the Infinity Saga is over, the MCU is moving forward with its highly-anticipated Phase 4, which covers both TV shows and movies, further expanding this already extensive universe. On the TV side of it, and after three live-action TV series, fans are currently enjoying the animated series What If…?, which tells different stories from the MCU’s multiverse.
What If…? is an anthology series that explores what would have happened in the MCU if some of the most important moments in this universe happened slightly differently, either by someone taking a different decision than in the main timeline or a small mistake that can change everything. Episode 1 covered what would have happened if Peggy Carter (voiced by Hayley Atwell) had taken the Super Soldier Serum instead of Steve Rogers (Josh Keaton), and episode 2 took viewers on a completely unexpected journey to a timeline in which T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) took Peter Quill’s place as Star-Lord, while Quill stayed on Earth and lived a normal, human life.
All this was the result of the Ravagers’ mistake, as when they were sent to get young Quill from Earth as ordered by his father, Ego (Kurt Russell), they abducted a young T’Challa who went beyond the borders of Wakanda just as the Ravagers’ ship arrived. Cut to 20 years later, T’Challa became Star-Lord and continued to work with the Ravagers, and his view of life and moral values made a lot of changes to this timeline compared to the main one, most notably Thanos not being the villain seen in the Infinity Saga and Drax’s family still being alive. T’Challa didn’t return to Wakanda in all those years because Yondu told him it had been destroyed following his disappearance, but that turned out to be a lie – however, this shows a big problem that Black Panther 2 can face with the absence of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa.
Although Yondu lied about what happened to Wakanda after T’Challa was taken away, this shows the potentially disastrous consequences that his absence in the main timeline can have. As seen in Black Panther and episode 2 of What If…?, T’Challa was an exceptional leader, one who was driven by empathy and compassion and who was strong enough to defend others and also help them find their paths, as he did with Thanos. His absence will surely have a big impact on Wakanda and could be the catalyst for war as new power players emerge both in Wakanda and outside (as Wakanda has already opened its doors), leading to a major conflict. Wakanda facing a war fits with the title of Black Panther 2, which is Wakanda Forever, and will add more drama to an already emotional sequel.
Although the scenarios shown in every episode of What If…? come from alternate universes from the prism that is the MCU’s timeline, there are elements that can hint at what’s to come in the main timeline of this universe, as is the case of Wakanda’s fate after T’Challa’s absence. Plot details about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever are unknown, but it wouldn’t be surprising if T’Challa’s departure leads to a potentially catastrophic conflict.