If so far all the chapters of What would happen if …? Disney + had been self-finalizing, the sixth breaks the scheme. It also does so with the possibility of an inevitable continuation that was already announced in the mid-season trailer. The eventuality has an advantage and a disadvantage. It is the most adult and violent episode to date. But also the one with the most anticlimactic and unclear ending of all the chapters released.
Despite that, episode six of What If…? is brilliant in approach and has only one goal: create a villain. It does so with a subtle link between three of the films of the house of ideas most related to the confrontation of ideals.
The references work as a careful mechanism that gives the chapter its best moments. We leave you the best Easter eggs from the sixth episode of What if…?
What if… peace was a business?
One of the great references of the sixth chapter of What would happen if …? it was his reinvention of the plot of the first Iron Man movie. Instead of being injured, trapped and kidnapped, Tony Stark ends up being rescued by Erik Killmonger. The event immediately triggers a scale of events that dramatically changes the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Tony Stark does not go through his redemption arc, thus accentuating his worst features. Beyond that, Killmonger becomes a refined, more devious and manipulative version of what he was in Black Panther. One of the great achievements of What would happen if …? it is to reformulate the idea of the hero to create a new landscape. And he does so with a strange combination between Tony Stark’s ideal of helping and Killmonger’s for revenge.
The first minutes of the chapter are devoted entirely to dismantling the story of Tony Stark piece by piece. The plot of the sixth chapter of What If … shows how Tony follows the path of the man he was destined to be before his encounter with death. You not only offer your limitless technology to Killmonger, but your support. In turn, the member of the USA Navy carefully manipulates Tony’s environment until he is removed from his entire inner circle.
Killmonger’s first victim is Obadiah Stane, whose plans he unveils during a press conference. The scene is reminiscent of the now iconic moment when Tony Stark reveals his identity. But it’s actually a bit more complex: by removing Stane, Killmonger takes his place and removes anyone from control of the Stark companies.
The maneuver allows the first part of Killmonger’s plan to be completed. After mentioning his thesis at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Killmonger gets Tony to build a battle version of the Iron Man project. It is the key moment when everything that happened in Jon Favreau’s Iron Man is dismantled and ends up becoming anything else.
Fun fact: While analyzing the plans of his university thesis, Killmonger mentions that they are unrealizable because they are similar to “anime” characters. The mention refers to statements by actor Michael B. Jordan, a declared fan of the Japanese animation genre.
What if Ulysses Klaue made the same mistakes again?
In a direct reference to The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the early Black Panther sequences, Ulysses Klaue’s gun dealer reappears. But he does it not just to sell vibranium to Killmonger, but as a link between something more sinister. It is Klaue who ultimately faces Killmonger’s wrath. Again, he is killed by the character once he takes him to the borders of Wakanda.
But if in the timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe the character is a nexus with the world of crime, in What if…? it is somewhat murkier. Killmonger uses him to attack the morale of the Stark companies.
What if… T’Challa was killed?
In one of the harshest and most disturbing scenes of the What would happen if…? Chapter. T’Challa is killed by Killmonger. The scene includes the arrival of the body in Wakanda in a modern sarcophagus covered with phrases in the language of the country. The scene appears to make direct reference to King T’Chaka’s death in Captain America: Civil War.
The death of T’Challa in place of T’Chaka not only changes the line of succession in Wakanda, but creates a power vacuum. So when Killmonger returns to the country in a scene virtually identical to that of Black Panther, he is greeted as the prodigal son. With the exception of Queen Ramonda and Shuri, the Wakanda court receives Killmonger with deference and respect.
The eventuality completely transforms Wakanda’s reaction to external aggression. And also, the way the country is perceived beyond its borders. By the time Killmonger convinces T’Chaka to face the weapons he built with the help of Tony Stark, his true plan is revealed.
Stark Industries will pass into the hands of the government
To make things more complicated, and in the midst of what seems like an inevitable confrontation, the US government takes over the Stark companies. The reference is tied to the first part of Iron Man and Obadiah Stane’s plans. But taken to a new level, the takeover is aggressive and ends up delinking Stark industry production from any private control.
An imminent war will take place with the weapons built by Killmonger on both sides of the border.
And if Killmonger was Black Panther
Much harder to see the iconic scene of the transformation of the King of Wakanda into Black Panther now through the figure of Killmonger. Once accepted by the court, the King’s nephew is the one who takes the mantle of the mythical hero. And in his first vision, the conversation is with T’Challa.
The scene is identical. The landscape of the afterlife where the dead kings of Wakanda rest is identical to that of Black Panther. But instead of T’Chaka appearing, it is T’Challa who appears in front of Killmonger. The short discussion includes a reference to Endgame and also to Killmonger’s actual motivations.
Finally it becomes clear what the plan is that will end up hitting the fate of Wakanda and the rest of the world. Killmonger has started a war and Wakanda is no longer a secret.
Shuri and Pepper Potts as the heroines of the day
Amid the chaos, the Dora Milaje end up fighting Killmonger’s weapons. In this universe they are led by Ramonda instead of Okoye. The scene is virtually identical to the showdown between the Killmonger and T’Challa supporters in the original timeline. But within the Killmonger scheme there is no room for mistakes: the last robot Stark is destroyed by the character. Thus the future of the country is sealed and a large-scale war in which North America will respond with the weapons of Stark.
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That’s when Pepper Pots and Shuri have their big time. By the final scene it is clear that the alliance between the two will prevent a confrontation that could turn Killmonger into the central figure of something more dangerous. What would happen if…? closes with a sneaky encounter and what appears to be the promise of a second episode that completes the story of the first.