In the second episode of the anthology series, now streaming and titled “What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?,” Boseman offers a lighter, more witty take on his MCU character. (For example, he at one point quips that he has tried to get Thanos and Nebula into family counseling.)
Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige says that Boseman was so “gung ho” about his animated incarnation, there was talk about letting that vibe influence the Black Panther sequel, which this May was officially subtitled Wakanda Forever.
“We didn’t know it would be his final performance, obviously,” Feige told out sister site Variety on the red carpet for the studio’s latest big screen release, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (watch video below). “He came in numerous times… was so gung ho about it, was so excited about it… He read the episode that airs [this week] and then came back and said, ‘I really love this version of T’Challa.’ And we had a conversation after that with [Wakanda Forever writer-director] Ryan [Coogler] about how do we get some of this voice — none of the [alt reality] storyline — but just some of that voice into Panther 2.”
Whether in the wake of Boseman’s nearly year-ago death that change in “voice” still had an impact on the reconfigured movie sequel, in any manner, is unclear.
Kevin Feige opens up about Chadwick Boseman's final performance as T'Challa in #WhatIf, revealing how it informed the direction of #BlackPanther2 at the time. https://t.co/BcSX5GyNzt pic.twitter.com/Y97vH18ZL3
— Variety (@Variety) August 17, 2021
Given Boseman’s sudden passing, his performance in What If…? now “is remarkably sad and bittersweet,” Feige said. “But I’m very happy we have it, and I’m very happy he did it for us. I’m excited for the fans to see it as well.”