The late Chadwick Boseman is back in the Marvel Cinematic Universe this week. Taking on the role of Star-Lord in Marvel’s new animated series, What If…?, Boseman’s fan-favorite character will make his final appearance in the MCU.
After the tragic loss of the actor last year due to colon cancer, Boseman will not be reprising his role as the King of Wakanda in the Black Panther sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) which debuts next year. While the details surrounding Black Panther 2 remain secretive, Marvel boss, Kevin Feige, recently revealed the reason why Boseman wanted the Variant T’Challa audiences will see next to impact the Marvel sequel.
Marvel’s What If…? debuted last week and introduced viewers to the wild world of the Multiverse. First introduced in Loki, but teased for a long-time in the greater MCU, the Multiverse and the Sacred Timeline were a keen focus for Tom Hiddleston’s live-action series. Now, Marvel will showcase some of those realities discussed in the Loki finale via its latest project.
The first episode of What If…? — based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name — welcomed the new Captain America to the Marvel Universe — Hayley Atwell’s Captain Carter. In this universe, it is Peggy Carter who takes the super-soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers to become the new superhero face of the war effort against HYDRA. And that is exactly what What If…? is — an exploration of alternate realities all documented by MCU newcomer, Jeffery Wright as The Watcher, who serves as the show’s narrator.
The Marvel studio recently revealed the episode list of the series and we know that Boseman’s T’Challa will appear this week and again throughout the first season. What If…? marks Boseman’s final appearance in the MCU and here he won’t be playing the Black Panther character fans are used to but a Variant version of Star-Lord — the Guardians of the Galaxy character Chris Pratt originated for the big screen back in 2014.
While actors like Atwell and Boseman returned to voice their animated counterparts in this alternate universe television series, some of the characters will be recast with different voice actors. This is the case for superheroes like Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Widow, and Captain Marvel who were played in the live-action MCU by Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland, Scarlett Johansson, and Brie Larson, respectively.
We have already seen Steve Rogers make his animated debut and the official trailer revealed that fans can expect Tony Stark to appear alongside Michael B. Jordan’s, Killmonger — the Variant Black Panther. Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) will show up ahead of his appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) and the Doctor Strange sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022). The new series also sees Marvel zombies enter the Universe.
With Boseman’s return to the MCU imminent, Feige has recently spoken out about how the Avenger actor wanted this version of T’Challa to impact Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Will Chadwick Boseman be in Black Panther 2?
Speaking to Variety at the premiere of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), Marvel Studios President, Kevin Feige, had this to say on the highly anticipated sequel and its connection to the comic book character in What If…?:
“Well, we didn’t know it would be his final performance, obviously. He came in numerous times, I think three or four times, was so gung ho about it, was so excited about it. Somebody’s probably spoken about this already, but he came in and he read the episode that airs 24 hours from now, and then came back and said ‘I really love this version of T’Challa.’
This version of T’Challa — Star-Lord — sees the character taken under the wing of Michael Rooker’s Yondu instead of Pratt’s Peter Quill in an alternate reality. Feige then revealed how they hoped, and maybe still do, to get some of Variant T’Challa/Star-Lord into Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
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. And now, of course, it is remarkably sad and bittersweet, but I’m very happy we have it and I’m very happy he did it for us, and I’m excited for the fans to see that as well.”
Feige seems to emphasize that the Variant character won’t impact the Black Panther sequel in terms of the storyline, but he does suggest that aspects of the version of T’Challa fans will meet this week in What If…? could be included in the upcoming MCU film. The Marvel movie will not be recasting the role of T’Challa so it will be interesting to see how they handle the transition to the new Black Panther.
Regardless, if Boseman’s excitement over the new T’Challa was that important to him that he requested to include some of the voice of the character in Black Panther 2, then the next episode of What If…? is sure to be a special watch.
Will you be watching Chadwick Boseman make his final MCU appearance in What If…?