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"As fate would have it, at that very moment, a Ravager spacecraft was arriving on Earth to abduct the spawn of the Celestial, Ego. But in this universe, Yondu outsourced the assignment to his subordinates."
The Watcher

What If... T'Challa Became a Star-Lord? is the second episode of the first season of What If...?.


The rough-and-tumble space pirates known as the Ravagers abduct T'Challa instead of Peter Quill.


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In 1988 Wakanda, T'Chaka discourages his young son T'Challa on exploring the world, warning him of the "destruction and pain" occurring outside. But one night, T'Challa runs out and to the outskirts of Wakanda, eventually passing through the forcefield that cloaks the nation from the outside world. Immediately thereafter, he is abducted by Yondu Udonta's subordinates, who were attracted to the strong cosmic readings of Wakanda's vibranium meteorite. In space, Udonta scolds his men for abducting the wrong kid, but welcomes the boy to the Ravagers nonetheless. Learning of T'Challa's explorative nature, Udonta invites him to come along and explore the galaxy.

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Twenty years later on Morag, T'Challa, known as Star-Lord, successfully collects the Orb from its chamber before being confronted by Korath the Pursuer and two Sakaarans, having been assigned to obtain the object for Ronan the Accuser. But when Star-Lord reveals himself, Korath recognizes him as the legendary outlaw, famed for stealing from the powerful and giving to the powerless. An enthusiastic fan of his many adventures, Korath expresses interest in joining the Ravagers, but Star-Lord turns him down. While reluctant to harm his idol, Korath spars with him, only to be electrocuted by the energy field that was protecting the Orb.

After killing the two Sakaarans, Star-Lord reconsiders Korath and hauls him out of the chamber for induction to the Ravagers. Star-Lord encounters a Sakaaran unit outside, but Udonta arrives and eliminates them all using his Yaka Arrow. While Udonta considers selling the Orb to the highest bidder, Star-Lord insists on keeping it to help dying systems facing extinction. The two then proceed to leave Morag with the Orb and Korath in tow.


The Ravagers then land in Contraxia. Korath continues to fawn over T'Challa's adventures, which includes convincing Thanos to abandon his quest to decimate half the universe. As the redeemed Titan joins the group as they enjoy drinks, T'Challa's heroism continues to attract admirers like Drax, who now works as a bartender after his homeworld and family were saved from a Kree invasion. Talking to Nebula afterwards, T'Challa reveals that Udonta attempted to return him to Wakanda, but it had been destroyed in a war.

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Nebula gathers the Ravagers for a briefing on the Embers of Genesis: ancient cosmic dust able to cultivate and transform entire ecosystems, with the power to heal dying planets in ounces. However, a known batch of the material is located on Knowhere, where Taneleer Tivan had taken Thanos' place as the most ruthless warlord in the galaxy. Knowing the Collector is involved, Udonta backs out, but relents when T'Challa argues on behalf of the Embers' charitable potential. With the Black Order acting as Knowhere's security, Nebula and T'Challa formulate a plan to reach the Collector: she and Udonta will smuggle him inside while the Ravagers create a distraction to lure the Black Order outside. With Nebula and Udonta keeping the Collector occupied, Star-Lord scours the exhibits for the Embers.

Asking Howard the Duck for directions to the Embers proves to quickly exhaust Star-Lord, so he frees him instead to act as a tour guide. Outside, Proxima Midnight jumps to knock out the Ravager group, but signals a lockdown after realizing she fell for a diversion. Star-Lord manages to move past the closing gates, leaving Howard behind at a bar as he fetches a drink. He comes across a hangar and finds his necklace reacting to the presence of a nearby Royal Talon Fighter. Venturing inside, he finds mannequins of Dora Milaje and a message from his father pleading for his return. Immediately afterwards, Nebula turns Udonta and Star-Lord in to the Black Order, sending them to a cell with the other Ravagers. Star-Lord confronts Udonta, enraged at his lie about the fate of his homeland. Udonta insists that Earth has no place for a galactic explorer like his adoptive son, but Star-Lord dismisses him, declaring he was never family.

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The Collector summons Star-Lord and encases him to be relegated for display, but he was able to use his necklace to bust out. Ebony Maw's telekinesis restrains him momentarily, but Carina kills him, having been inspired by Star-Lord's words against incarceration. Meanwhile, Nebula frees the Ravagers from their cell, revealing she had triple-crossed the Collector to covertly retrieve the Embers and settle their debt. As Midnight alerts the facility to the Ravagers' escape, the Collector confronts Star-Lord, using an arsenal of items including a gauntlet hacked off a Kronan corpse, and a crown bestowing to him powers belonging to the Asgardian Goddess of Death. Udonta arrives to assist his son, but the Collector destroys his Yaka Arrow.

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Thanos remains behind to confront the Black Order, but is overpowered by Midnight and Black Dwarf. Nebula returns to save her father and forces Dwarf to ingest some of the Embers, effectively turning him into a spawn for massive vegetation. Thanos and Nebula use the sprouting stalks to safely return to the Ravager ship, while Udonta and Star-Lord work together to disarm the Collector of his control over his exhibits and in turn entrap him inside one. They turn over the control to Carina, who releases every single specimen from their imprisonment and leaves the Collector at their mercy. As foliage overtakes Knowhere, Star-Lord fetches the Royal Talon Fighter and escapes with Udonta, all the while forgiving him for his prior misdeeds.

While T'Challa recognizes space as his lifelong home, Udonta encourages him to return to Wakanda and reunite with his biological family. As the Ravagers and the Wakandan royals share time together, Peter Quill is working at a Dairy Queen when he is met by Ego, who had come to meet his offspring. The Watcher notes that it is unfortunate that this meeting could potentially spell the end of the universe, but that is a story for another day.


Starring Cast:

Guest Stars:

Non-Speaking Characters:






Sentient Species





Song title Artist Location(s)
Guardians of the Galaxy Theme Tyler Bates
  • Various
Wakanda Theme Ludwig Göransson
  • Various
Space Age Love Song A Flock of Seagulls Peter Quill listening to the song as he meets Ego.


  • This episode includes an epitaph before the ending credits for the late Chadwick Boseman.
  • Cull Obsidian is referred to as Black Dwarf, his original name from the comics.



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