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What If…? writer A.C. Bradley and director Bryan Andrews open up about Boseman’s final outing as T’Challa.
Today, with the premiere of the first episode of the new animated series, What If…?, Marvel is beginning to really lean into the whole “multiverse” thing. Each installment of the series will explore a hypothetical reality in which a slightly altered detail in the backstory of a major character leads to an outcome almost entirely unrecognizable from the main (or in Marvel parlance, “sacred,”) timeline.
While today’s episode ponders what might have happened if Agent Carter was the one to receive a dose of the super-soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers, next week’s episode will primarily center on Chadwick Boseman‘s T’Challa. Except, in this reality, the heir to the Wakandan throne doesn’t become Black Panther. Instead, T’Challa is the one who get abducted by Yondu and is raised to become Star Lord. It might seem like a long shot, but the series is seemingly filled with them. And Boseman’s performance is particularly sentimental, as it marks his final appearance in the MCU, albeit in voice alone.
To offer some context to the multiversal thought experiment, the writers of Boseman’s breakout episode in the series have detailed their time working with the late actor in a recent interview. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, writer A.C. Bradley and director Bryan Andrews, offered a glimpse at Boseman’s process for this alternate take on T’Challa. “[Chadwick] really enjoyed the idea of being able to play this slightly different version of T’Challa,” Andrews says. “The events are so extremely different, but the galaxy doesn’t change T’Challa; T’Challa changes the galaxy,” Andrews adds.
“I have the sad honor of writing some of his last lines in the MCU. I obviously did not know that when I was writing them,” Bradley says. “Chadwick Boseman understood the importance of Black Panther. He understood how important it is that young people see a Black man standing shoulder to shoulder with Captain America and Thor Odinson, so that they know a Black man saves the world just the same as anyone else,” the director notes. “He came in to record, and I joked that he didn’t bring his A-game; he brought every damn sport there is. He made sure that this was going to be the episode that shined, but we did not realize why. And the world is a little sadder for it.”
Read the full interview via The Hollywood Reporter. Watch the official trailer for Marvel’s What If…? below and head over to Disney+ to see the first episode of the series. Tune in next week to see Boseman’s final appearance as T’Challa.