The sixth episode of the anthology titled What if… Killmonger saved Tony Stark fails to maintain the lofty standards set by the fourth and fifth episodes
This alternate timeline in the anthology series takes the viewers back to where it all started, the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) - Iron Man. The film set the stage for the MCU, which is now the biggest movie franchise in the world in terms of revenue.
The plot of this episode revolves around Killmonger, the villain from Black Panther, who saves Tony Stark in Afghanistan before he is kidnapped by extremists. This alteration in the timeline means that Tony Stark never becomes the Iron Man and Killmonger wins Tony’s trust, which is all an elaborate cunning plan for Killmonger to take the throne of Wakanda.
The plot and the premise is an intriguing concept, the idea of Erik Killmonger as a redeemable character is something that would excite the fans of the MCU. The reason being, Killmonger was portrayed as a sympathetic villain in Black Panther. However, the episode made certain that this theory can be discarded and holds no credibility. This version of Killmonger is in fact more devious and sadistic than the live-action adaptation.
Michael B Jordan reprises his role from the live-action film Black Panther. The other cast members from the film include the late Chadwick Bossman (T’Challa/Black Panther), John Kani (King T’Chaka), Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda), Danai Gurira (Okoye), and Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaue) all return to foe this episode of What if…?. A few of the original cast from the Iron Man series, Don Cheadle (James Rhodes), Paul Bettany (Jarvis), and Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan), also return for the film. It is also worth mentioning that Jon Favreau was also the director of the first Iron Man film.
Even though there are several memorable moments in the film, the narrative attempts to do several things within the constrained 30-minute runtime, which inadvertently makes the episode give a feeling of being rushed through the narrative. It also means that Killmonger’s motivations become lost in the process, and his plotlines become convoluted. There is also a sense of haste in Killmoger’s actions as if the character himself is aware that he has only 30 minutes to wrap up his act. This is a letdown considering the storylines had immense potential.
The final scene of the episode seems to indicate that there’s more to come from the story, which is surprising, considering the series is an anthology. This is also the only episode where the ending is ambiguous, unlike the other episodes which appeared to have a definitive ending.
An episode that is the fusion of two of the biggest origin stories from the MCU should have ideally offered a lot more than it did. It is by no means a poorly written story, but it surely could have been executed with a lot more finesse.