As always, there are spoilers ahead for Episode 2 of What If…? And the wider MCU. If you haven’t yet seen the episode, bookmark this post and return to it once you have.
Marvel Studios’ latest Disney+ series continued this week, asking the question, “What If…? T’Challa became Star-Lord?” The episode was an emotional one for sure, with Chadwick Boseman voicing his iconic Black Panther character in what we now know to be his last performance. As well as bringing us a stand out performance and stunning animation, the episode comes with tons of MCU references and details, and as always, we’re here to break them down for you. Here are all of the details and references we noticed in What If…? ‘s episode 2.
Guardians of The Galaxy
The opening scene mirrors the opening from Guardians of the Galaxy, where we see Peter on Morag trying to steal the Orb AKA the Power Stone. However, in this reality, it’s not Peter Quill beneath the iconic helmet, and it is revealed to be none other than T’Challa. In this reality, Korath knows exactly who Star-Lord is, different from Guardians of The Galaxy, where he’s never even heard of Star-Lord.
Should we Bow?
Korath asks T’Challa if he should bow or kneel, and T’Challa says, “Neither is necessary.” This feels very similar to the Avengers’ arrival in Wakanda during Infinity War when Bruce bows the first time he meets the Wakandan king.
A Ravager never flies solo.
In this reality, Star-Lord is accompanied to Morag by the Ravagers; this is the first time we get to see how different the relationship is between Star-Lord and Yondu. In this version, the two are very close and are working together.
T’Challa mentions the Krylorians while talking to Yondu about the treasures they have just found. Carina, one of The Collector’s slaves in Guardians of The Galaxy, is a Krylorian. She also makes an appearance in this episode.
T’Challa says that if the Ravagers still operated like they used to, Yondu would only have half of his teeth. In Guardians of The Galaxy, Yondu has several false, metal teeth.
T’Challa’s ship is named Mandela, after Nelson Mandela, one of his heroes. In Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill’s ship is named The Milano after his childhood crush Alyssa Milano.
T’Challa being abducted by the Ravagers is identical to Peter Quill’s abduction in Guardians of The Galaxy.
While talking about how T’Challa stopped Thanos, his plan is referred to as “genocide”, which Doctor Strange calls it in Infinity War. The conversation mirrors the one between Thanos and Doctor Strange, where the pair discusses his solution to overpopulation.
In this reality, Drax’s wife and daughter are still alive because thanks and Ronan never murdered them alongside the people of Drax’s planet. Instead, Drax’s planet is overrun with Kree, and Star-Lord saves everyone.
While talking to Nebula, T’Challa mentions that Thanos loves gardening, which we see him doing at the beginning of Endgame, after he’s won. In the comics, Thanos also gardens when he retires.
In this reality, Nebula only has one cyborg eye, which means that Thanos stopped experimenting on her. Presumably, he was persuaded to stop by T’Challa.
The coordinates for Knowhere are the same in this reality as they are in Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Black Order
Instead of working for Thanos, as they do in Infinity War, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian and Corvus Glaive, known collectively as The Black Order or Children of Thanos, are seen working for The Collector.
The Collector’s Collection
While inside the Collector’s base, T’Challa passes Cosmo the Spacedog and a Dark Elf, both seen in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Howard the Duck
In Guardians of the Galaxy, Howard the Duck can be seen sipping a cocktail as part of the Collector’s display of curiosities. He plays a much more significant role in this reality, helping T’Challa find his way out.
In the same scene, while T’Challa passes through the Collector’s treasure room, several notable ships from the MCU can be seen. These include one of the Nova Corps ships and the pods that Ronan’s followers used in Guardians of the Galaxy, the Grandmaster’s party ship from Thor: Ragnarok and even the ship Scott Lang and co use to navigate the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man and the Wasp.
The Collector mentions getting a fist off a “terribly chatty Kronan.” The fist looks like a pile of rocks, and who do we know that looks like a pile of rocks and happens to be a “terribly chatty Kronan”? Korg!
Among the Collector’s weapons are Captain America’s shield, Mjölnir and one of Loki’s daggers.
The Collector refers to the “Asgardian Goddess of Death”, which is obviously Hela; he even wears her horns and mimics her moves from Thor: Ragnarok.
When Yondu arrives to help T’Challa, you can hear the Guardian of the Galaxy theme song in the background.
While in Wakanda, Kraglin can be heard talking about how jump points make your face all weird, which is something we saw happen in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.
When Ego finds Peter Quill on Earth, he’s working at Dairy Queen. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Ego and Meredith Quill visit a Dairy Queen. Peter can also be seen listening to his iconic Walkman from the Guardians movies.
Dedicated to Chadwick
Not a hidden detail but an important one nonetheless, the episode ends with a fitting dedication to Chadwick Boseman, who tragically died last year.
What cool details did you manage to notice? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments.