Tomorrow’s second episode of Marvel’s What If…? is going to be a hugely emotional experience for fans of Chadwick Boseman. The adventure follows T’Challa becoming the Guardians of the Galaxy’s Star-Lord at the expense of Peter Quill, marking the last project the late actor lent his talents to before his tragic passing last summer.
It was confirmed several weeks back that Boseman will be in four of the show’s nine installments. So it isn’t quite goodbye just yet, but it’ll be a bittersweet 30 minutes for the millions of Disney Plus subscribers set to check it out almost as soon as they get up in the morning.
Having already seen it, we can gladly confirm that it’s an absolute delight, hitting several similar beats from James Gunn’s 2014 blockbuster while putting an entirely different spin on the sci-fi story: One that’s packed with surprising cameos, fan favorite characters as you’ve never seen them before, and an underlying theme about the importance of family from start to finish.
In a new interview, Kevin Feige confirmed that the lighter, funnier version of T’Challa that we see in tomorrow’s What If…? even informed the way the Marvel Studios president and director Ryan Coogler approached Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
“We didn’t know it would be his final performance obviously. He came in numerous times, was so gung ho about it, was so excited about it. He read the episode that airs 24 hours from now and then came back and said ‘I really love this version of T’Challa’. And we had a conversation after that with Ryan about ‘How do we get some of this voice?’, none of the storyline, but just some of that voice into Panther 2. Now of course it’s remarkably sad and bittersweet, but I’m very happy we have it and I’m very happy he did it for us. I’m excited for the fans to see that as well.”
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It’s an awful thing for the sequel to one of the most culturally and commercially important blockbusters of the last decade to deal with the loss of its leading man, especially when Boseman’s T’Challa impacted so many lives in the wake of the movie’s success. However, we’ve got the utmost faith in Feige, Coogler, and the rest of the cast and crew to believe that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever pays tribute to his legacy while still pushing the franchise forward.