On the heels of the Season 1 finale of their first canonical animated series What If…?, Marvel has announced that they had hoped to make an animated spin-off based on Chadwick Boseman‘s Star-Lord T’Challa. The character made his first appearance in episode two, titled ‘What If…T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?.’ What If…? ran for nine episodes, chronicling different pockets of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where Captain America (Josh Keaton) is now Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell) or Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) takes out Earth’s mightiest heroes.
The second episode and the subsequent appearance of T’Challa Star-Lord can be looked upon fondly for several reasons, most notably that they are the final performances of Boseman. The character is an amalgamation of his original T’Challa and Chris Pratt‘s Star-Lord, though his actions and words fall far more on the former.
Boseman noted how much fun it was portraying this new iteration, and how he hoped that Marvel would be able to incorporate some of the mannerisms and characteristics into T’Challa for Black Panther‘s sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
It would seem that Marvel was fond for this new character as well, as series director Bryan Andrews noted in an interview about What If…? with Variety. The team was in the early stages of a spin-off centered on Star-Lord T’Challa, and Andrews said the following about that and Boseman‘s fondness for the character:
“Chadwick had recorded his Star Lord T’Challa stuff early. But we had those later episodes that he appeared in sporadically, and it was a long stretch before we got him [again]. And it was not long after the final recording that he passed. I think it was maybe just a few months, or a month. None of us knew, obviously. But we got him in time to have everything.I think he was also trying to make an effort because T’Challa was so important to him — and also this new version of Star Lord T’Challa was so important to him. He dug it.
“I don’t know if he knew this, but there was planning to have Star Lord T’Challa spin off into his own show with that universe and crew. We were all very excited. We know he would have loved it, too. And then, you know, he passed, and so all that’s in limbo. So, who knows? Maybe one day.”
While What If…? brought in several new and exciting characters, the mark that Boseman left on this new iteration of T’Challa is undeniable. It’s bittersweet that the spin-off cannot be realized with Boseman himself in the wake of his tragic passing, though the character of T’Challa, in both forms, is sure to live on in the hearts and minds of many MCU fans.
All episodes of What If…? are currently available to stream on Disney+.