While Avengers: Endgame would ultimately prove to be Chadwick Boseman’s final appearance in the live-action MCU before he passed away, the Academy Award nominee would reprise the role of King T’Challa/Black Panther one final time elsewhere. Marvel’s What If…?, an animated anthology series chronologically set after the events of Loki, explores the lives of several Avengers and other characters throughout the multiverse inadvertently created by the God of Mischief.
Due to their nature as separate realities, events depicted in the MCU play out in vastly different ways here, oftentimes as a result of just one choice playing out unexpectedly. Steve Rogers’ first and only love, Peggy Carter, for example, becomes Captain Carter, while T’Challa, not Peter Quill, is abducted at a young age by Yondu and ultimately adopts the mantle of Star-Lord.
Unashamedly zany to its core, What If…? gave writer and director duo A.C. Bradley and Bryan Andrews the freedom to envisage what would happen in a universe where nothing goes according to plan, casting off the restrictive shackles otherwise necessitated by over a decade of films depicting pivotal moments in the established canon.
As for Boseman, Bradley and Andrews recalled in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter some of their final interactions with the actor, including how excited he was to be playing a different incarnation of the Wakandan monarch. Having recorded his dialogue over Zoom calls due to covid-19, Andrews reveals how, upon telling him how much they personally respected him, Boseman responded by placing his hand on his chest. “He was very thankful, but we had no idea he was going through what he was going through.”
Likewise, Bradley tells how they had the “sad honor of writing some of his last lines in the MCU,” and that the star always understood how “important it is that young people see a Black man standing shoulder to shoulder with Captain America.”
“Chadwick Boseman understood the importance of Black Panther,” Bradley told THR. “He came in to record, and I joked that he didn’t bring his A-game; he brought every damn sport there is. He made sure that this was going to be the episode that shined, but we did not realize why. And the world is a little sadder for it.”
New episodes of Marvel’s What If…? air every week on Disney Plus. A second season has already been commissioned.