In Episode 2, the choice had a little more humor behind it. We find out immediately when the episode begins that T’Challa is Star-Lord — who in our reality is Peter Quill — after he was wrongfully kidnapped from Earth by the Ravagers. Instead of doing it himself, Yondu let Kraglin and Taserface find and take the boy, which opened the door to this new universe.
Being the complete morons that they are, the men kidnapped the first boy they saw and figured it had to be him because he had “two see holes, two hear holes, and one eat hole.” Instead of returning T’Challa to Wakanda, Yondu opted to keep the boy and raised him as a Ravager — who are Robin Hood-esque, good guys. Kidnapping T’Challa changed the entire universe in ways we could never have imagined.
T’Challa’s role as Star-Lord effectively stops the Snap from ever happening, and his Knowhere heist also allows for the entire universe to be fed. That’s a much bigger impact than Peggy Carter becoming a super-soldier — no offense to our new Captain. While that’s the biggest takeaway from Episode 2, there are plenty of “what if” scenarios to wonder that isn’t laid out for us. There really isn’t a need for the Guardians of the Galaxy as we know them, especially since Ronan wouldn’t be looking for the Orb to serve Thanos. The Kree leader is probably off battling the Skrulls — who get a brief mention in the club scene — but he doesn’t seem to be a threat in this universe.
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Killmonger — who will appear in another “What If…? episode — is still out there we assume, but he hasn’t arrived in Wakanda yet. It’s possible he still comes to challenge the throne because T’Challa becoming Star-Lord doesn’t necessarily change his story at all. Also, in the episode’s conclusion, we see that Ego has traveled to Earth on his own and meets Peter, who is mopping the floor of a Dairy Queen. This story could go anywhere, with a naive Peter much more likely to aid his planet of a father in whatever he might be up to these days.
The major ramifications of T’Challa’s kidnapping are astounding
One of the biggest things to ponder from Episode 2 are the deeper ramifications of T’Challa convincing Thanos to abort his genocidal plan. This would all boil down to timing and at what point the Mad Titan decided to go straight. If it was done before he began collecting stones, or more importantly — before he obtained the Mind Stone — it would change the entire MCU from Phase 2 and beyond. Just go with us on this one, as it might sound a little crazy.
Thanos gives Loki the Scepter — which holds the Mind Stone — so he’d have the upper hand on Earth as he sought to obtain the Tesseract — which contains the Space Stone. If Thanos gives up his plan before giving Loki the Scepter, that means the Mind Stone never makes its way to Earth. This simple change could suggest that the Avengers never form because, without Loki, the team would never come together. It’s as simple as that.
If the Avengers were formed one way or another — through the threat of another foe, possibly — Tony Stark and Bruce Banner never would have gotten their hands on the Mind Stone, which would mean no Ultron and no Vision. This also means Baron Zemo is happily chowing down on some paprikash with his wife and children in Sokovia. He never would have bombed the United Nations meeting in Vienna, meaning T’Chacka is no longer in danger. No Mind Stone on Earth also means no Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. That little shiny sucker shaped the MCU more than any other stone, and if T’Challa was Star-Lord, this all might have looked very different.
As we said, this would all depend on timing, and if Thanos had already sent Loki to Earth, all these points we’ve made are moot. That’s the point of this series, though, isn’t it? We’re left to ponder the question, What if? The Watcher would be so proud.