If T’Challa was always meant to be a hero, then Erik Killmonger was always meant to be a villain. That’s what the latest episode of What If…? suggests, and it’s a little disappointing.
In a world where Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) saves Tony Stark (Mick Wingert) during the opening events of the first Iron Man, Tony never becomes Iron Man and Killmonger is set up to be a heroic figure.
Of course, it’s all part of Killmonger’s extremely convoluted plot to get the US to start a war with Wakanda so he can swoop in and save them. Yikes.
At least Pepper (Beth Hoyt) is still Pepper and is immediately suspicious of him, especially after Rhodey dies and is framed for T’Challa’s murder.
The episode is full of twists, showing just how far Killmonger is willing to go to achieve his goals. Unfortunately, there is little time for self-reflection or character development like his cinematic counterpart got.
In Black Panther, Killmonger is an interesting villain because he makes very valid points about Wakanda’s isolationist policies. That agenda is still there on What If…?, but the episode weights his violent tactics and revenge over his ideals.
We also miss the very crucial scene from the film with his dad, which does so much to set the tone for his story.
In a world where he’s already killed T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), there’s no one there to break through to him.
He does share one important scene with T’Challa in the ancestral plane where T’Challa asks him if it was worth it and forebodes that his actions will catch up with him. It seems like this episode will be Boseman’s actual final performance as the character (and not as T’Challa Star-Lord) which adds some gravity.
The highlight of the episode is getting to spend more time in Wakanda, and it’s a strong case for future What If…? episodes to explore those stories.
A reality where Wakanda goes to war with the U.S. is an interesting one, but not enough time is spent on the Wakandan characters except when they’re fawning over Killmonger as their savior.
As we saw on Episode 2, there is so much more to explore with these characters. Hopefully, the live-action series about Wakanda delivers more than this episode of What If…?
At least we’re left with a little hope that Shuri and Pepper Potts will be able to expose Killmonger for the villain he is.
- I loved the nod to Michael B. Jordan’s love of anime with the Gundam joke.
- This episode is a great reminder of how of much Tony Stark used to suck.
- Seeing Shuri so young is weird but makes sense given the timeline.
- This seems like something SHIELD would get involved in, no?
What did you think of this episode? Let us know in the comments.
New episodes of What If…? premiere on Wednesdays on Disney Plus.