What if T’Challa became a Star-Lord? The film What If…? T’Challa Became A Star-Lord reminds us that while he has been an excellent king and epic Avenger, it is his heart as man which makes him great.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s safe to say Wakanda’s T’Challa has been and will always be one of the most selfless heroes around. Whether he is a prince or king or Avenger his motivation for altruism have come from within himself- not just how others perceive him on the outside. In this alternate universe we see that while some people are motivated by what they represent in their lives, other simply do good because they know no different way than being kindhearted individuals themselves who care about those close to them.
What If…? T’Challa was not the king of Wakanda, and instead became Star-Lord? A few years ago a group of space pirates led by Yondu found Prince T’Challa in his home country. He wanted to explore the universe so he decided to stay with them and become their captain: they named him “Star-lord.”
The Black Panther has turned the Ravagers into an institution, much like Robin Hood and his Merry Men. They steal from the rich to give to those who are poor, which stems back to what T’Challa was taught on Earth: using one’s kingdom as a means of helping others. So in this case he becomes that thief obsessed with ending things such as poverty or inequality by stealing from people like Klaue (who is white) while giving it away for free among other African Americans living below the Mason-Dixon line.
The Ravagers have evolved from villains to heroes in the Marvel Universe. A testament of this is how they’ve been inspired by T’Challa, with Yondu even lying about Wakanda being destroyed so that he doesn’t lose his “son” as it would mean a loss for themselves and the galaxy.
When T’Challa spied Korath’s potential in a bar, Thanos made his presence known. The Mad Titan confirmed he had plans to wipe out half the galaxy and tried to convince him of its efficiency as well. Luckily for us all, King T’Challa was wise enough to realize that this would not be good for prosperity within their society so instead they shared resources rather than enacting genocide against 50% of the population which lead them down a path towards healing our cosmos. Star-Lord’s wholesome vibe is what helps him to mend the rift between Nebula and Thanos. It culminates in a plan where they trick the Collector and steal the Embers of Genesis from her head, which she has had for years suffering under his will.
Nebula saves Thanos, which is a prime example of how T’Challa inspires people around him to be better. When they return home from their mission’s success in Wakanda after he took his crew back there, it was framed as such when Black Panther inspired them all with the ways that made him more human than anyone else and showed what true leadership looked like for those who would follow even if blindly at times just because someone has been brave enough to take up the mantle before you out of ideals or dreams.
Ultimately Nebula saves Thanos by sacrificing herself instead so he can live on having learned not only about himself but also new perspectives through her time spent with Thor and Iron Man while she waited for an opportunity where she could disrupt things without. T’challa had always been a formidable enemy on the battlefield, but as King of Wakanda, he could use his ultimate power to unite people. His father made many mistakes and T’Challa felt responsible for them because they were partly due to him not stopping Yondu’s botched kidnapping attempt in time; nevertheless, when it came down to bridge between two families who would be blessed with their presence should never have gone unsaid or unappreciated.
It’s reminiscent of a man who helped Bucky Barnes become whole again, who forgot about grudges to help Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and fight off Thanos’ forces even after he got snapped. This reflects the character of Chadwick Boseman–who kept playing hero with his own health battles—leaving behind a legacy for Wakanda or Star-Lord in voice alone. Marvel has never made an endearing piece like this before!