Phase Four has been something of a new beginning for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the Infinity Saga now in the rear view mirror, and many of the biggest heroes of the previous three phases now out of action, the franchise can be taken in a much different direction than ever before.
One of the biggest changes is that the MCU has branched out into the world of limited series on Disney+, and in the case of the fourth outing on the streaming platform, animation.
Bringing back an impressive cast from the MCU past, What If…? boasts the kind of talent most projects can only dream of, and with a new animation style, paired with The Watcher chronicling the very different versions of events that happen across the multiverse, there was a lot to be excited about for this completely unique series.
Now that the dust has settled, and Marvel Studios has put out all nine episodes, each different outing can be compared to those around it. There was some truly spectacular Marvel Cinematic Universe content within this series, but there were also those rarest of times when the franchise missed the mark.
9. What If... Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?
In theory, this episode could have, and should have been great. It was the only one to feature Tony Stark for more than a cameo, it brought back one of the franchise’s greatest ever antagonists in Erik Killmonger, and had the chance to explore Wakanda once more. However, this episode was far from what it could have been.
The story itself felt rushed, and made little sense at times. After Killmonger saved Tony he decided to hire him as his head of security. This was fine, but when he uncovered that Obadiah was the one who tried to have him killed, why did he automatically offer him Stane’s old COO job, despite having zero business acumen or experience? It seemed that this episode didn’t actually care about the story so much as getting to the end where Killmonger became the Black Panther. This was the endgame, and it almost didn’t matter how we arrived there.
It may have previously been unthought of in the MCU, but Tony Stark actually detracted from this episode. Without his life changing attack, he was incredibly entitled and annoying, and too much of this was definitely a bad thing. Not to mention that, although Mick Wingert didn’t do an terrible job as Tony Stark, he certainly wasn’t Robert Downey Jr.
All this paired with poor action sequences, particularly compared to what the show achieved in other episodes, and a final battle between Wakanda and America that didn’t feel earned, made for an episode that was, for lack of a better word, boring.