Thanos is considered the most dangerous villain in the MCU for a reason. The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy united couldn’t stop him from halving the population of the universe in Avengers: Endgame. It took them a complicated time-traveling scheme before they reversed his actions, losing many of their number along the way. But the latest episode of animated series What If…? revealed that all this could’ve been avoided if just one of the heroes had faced the Mad Titan alone: Black Panther.
What If…? episode 2 asked what would happen if Yondu had abducted T’Challa from Earth instead of Peter Quill. The result was that he became a very different Star-Lord. Inspired by Robin Hood, he stole from the galaxy’s rich and gave to the poor, turning the Ravagers into his Merry Men. And, in a surprising twist, it’s revealed he even counts Thanos as an ally. In this reality, T’Challa was able to get the villain to renounce his plans to wipe out half of all life after one good talk.
“T’Challa showed me there was more than one way to reallocate the universe’s resources,” Thanos explains. The Wakandan prince then adds, “Sometimes the best weapon in your arsenal is just a good argument.”
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Seeing as the What If…? universes are supposed to mirror the main timeline except for one big change, this must mean that the same result would’ve been achieved if Black Panther spoke with Thanos at some point before or during Avengers: Infinity War. If T’Challa had gone to Titan instead of Iron Man, for instance, and appealed to the big guy’s better nature, it’s possible he could’ve prevented the Snap from ever taking place—saving the lives of Tony Stark, Black Widow, and many more in the process.
It’s clear from this latest episode of the animated series that T’Challa’s real superpower isn’t his vibranium suit, it’s his kickass debate skills.
What If…? continues next Wednesday on Disney Plus.