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How What If…T’Challa? changes the course of the MCU

This article contains spoilers for WHAT IF…? episode 2.

The second episode of Marvel’s latest Disney+ series, ‘What If…T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?’, explores a new alternate universe of T’Challa becoming the iconic galactic Star Lord.

Thanks to the central change that T’Challa had been abducted by Yondu instead of Peter Quill, the Wakandan Star-Lord helped make the galaxy a fairer place, stealing from the rich and corrupt while aiding the poor. He even managed to reform Thanos, thereby preventing the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.

But, if you think about the implications of one scene from the episode, it looks like an even greater tragedy befell the Avengers in this universe.

With that in mind, let’s dig deeper into ‘What If…T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?’…

Thanos Abandons His Goal For Genocide 

 In the main MCU timeline, Thanos the Mad Titan appears to indestructible; this was not the case in the timeline where T’Challa became Star-Lord. T’Challa clearly does great things to make all of reality a better place as Star-Lord, but arguably his greatest accomplishment is convincing Thanos that there is a superior path to universal peace than trying to decrease demand for resources. The Mad Titan still doesn’t fully agree with criticisms that define his master plan with the Infinity Gauntlet as genocide, but he is clearly a changed individual than the villain we got to know in the second half of the Infinity Saga.

The Guardians Of The Galaxy don’t exist

All these changes to the timeline mean the Guardians of the Galaxy never launch. Peter Quill is on Earth, Gamora is nowhere to be seen but Nebula appears to be operating in the black market , and What If…? episode 2 doesn’t even include Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Gamora. Why? Probably because the Ravagers have supplanted the Guardians on a thematic level.

The Collector Becomes The Galaxy’s Greatest Crime Lord

Turns out the Collector, filled the shoes left by Thanos’ reformation. He even recruited the Black Order, Thanos’ goons in the original timeline, to act as his security.

He still loves to collect relics, species and fauna from around the galaxy in this reality — including the Embers of Genesis, a nutrient-rich cosmic dust that can fix up dying planets or feed “billions of people on millions of worlds.” Nebula wants to steal the Embers by pretending to offer the Orb T-Challa recovered on Morag.

The Collector also sought to purchase the Orb in the original timeline (where it was obtained by Peter Quill) in his quest to gather the Infinity Stones — the Orb acted as a containment device for the dangerous Power Stone.

Ego triumphant

Peter Quill is featured at the end of the 30-minute jaunt around the multiverse – and his presence is paired with a cliffhanger that may or may not ever be resolved by the show.

Back on Earth, this reality’s Peter Quill apparently lived a normal life and is working at a Dairy Queen. His father, the Celestial Ego (Kurt Russell), has finally found him, and this reunion just might bring about the end of the world. 

“Too bad this might spell the end of the world,” says the Watcher. “But that’s a story for another day.”  

Avengers Timeline Changed

If the Avengers were formed one way or another — through the threat of another enemy, possibly — Tony Stark and Bruce Banner never would have gotten their hands on the Mind Stone, which would mean no Ultron and no Vision. This also means Baron Zemo is happily enjoying life with his wife and children in Sokovia. He never would have bombed the United Nations meeting in Vienna, meaning T’Chacka is no longer in danger. No Mind Stone on Earth also means no Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. That little shiny sucker shaped the MCU more than any other stone, and if T’Challa was Star-Lord, this all might have looked very different.

Join us for more spoilers next Wednesday, Aug. 25, when episode 3 of What If…? hits Disney Plus.

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