Marvel’s What If…?
Season 1 Episode 6
What If…Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?
The latest episode of What If combines two MCU films to create its story. This time, the events of Iron Man take a drastic turn when Stark is saved from injury by Erik Killmonger. Bringing Killmonger on as his head of security, he quickly makes a name for himself by publicly uncovering Stane’s plan to kill Stark and further ingratiating himself with his new boss. It’s an interesting and entertaining opening that teases some huge things to come in the episode. The voice actor for Stark is a little too high pitched, but it’s balanced by the return of Michael B Jordan and others.
Pepper is naturally suspicious of Killmonger’s motives and brings in Rhodey to get information. Killmonger’s relationship with Stark takes an interesting turn when he suggests a project he’s been working on and Stark jumps at the chance to help his new friend. The project is an armored suit of his own design and the two immediately get to work. The pieces of a larger plan are definitely at play here and I like that the episode doesn’t force anything and lets the viewer to come to their own conclusion.
Their experiment doesn’t go as planned and Killmonger suggests vibranium might be the missing component they need. This prompts Tony to go to Ulysses Klau for what they need and sends Rhodey to deal with him. Andy Serkis returns as Klau and continues to be entertaining. Their deal for the vibranium attracts an interested third party who comes to stop them and the result is unexpected. It also reveals the true motivations of Killmonger and returns him to the villain role we all knew. It’s a masterful moment and is a testament to the brilliance of the character.
Tony takes an interesting turn as well and the final moment between the two of them is compelling. What’s even more compelling is the next steps in Killmonger’s plans and how brilliantly they are executed including his return to Wakanda. I loved hearing both John Kani and Angela Bassett as the king and queen and you can tell how T’Chaka’s views have changed in light of his personal tragedy. Something Killmonger takes full advantage of. What follows is an amazing battle scene and the culmination of Killmonger’s plan. What makes the resolution of the episode so satisfying is the unexpected lesson from a brilliant sequence involving Killmonger and T’Challa as well as the flexing of Shuri’s genius.
This episode is like a beautifully played game of chess. Every move is well crafted and executed brilliantly. It has dark undertones, but it isn’t without hope like the last couple of episodes and I was impressed with how compelling and brilliant this episode was.