The most recent episode of Marvel Studios’ What If…? on Disney+ introduced the multiverse to a reality where Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa was mistakenly abducted by the Ravagers as a kid instead of Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill, resulting in T’Challa becoming Star-Lord and traveling the galaxy as a Robin Hood-like hero. As a tribute to Boseman (who recorded his dialogue before his death last year), the episode is a little lacking, if only because his charm and personality are hard to convey in animation, resulting in an appearance that just makes you miss the real Chadwick Boseman.
Still, the episode as a whole is a ton of fun. A lot of that fun comes from the fact that this episode is absolutely stuffed with cameos from Marvel Cinematic Universe actors besides Boseman, including Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Gunn, Benicio del Toro, and Chris Sullivan. However, some of the best cameos, including one that deserves a lot of the credit for how entertaining the whole romp is, were a bit more surprising: Seth Green voices Howard The Duck for an extended sequence, paying off a one-line cameo he had in the original Guardians Of The Galaxy (and hopefully laying the groundwork for Lea Thompson to eventually direct the Howard The Duck movie of her dreams).
Kurt Russell pops up at the end of the episode to share just a few words, possibly teasing that Ego The Living Planet will show up again later in the series, because Kurt Russell surely has better things to do than record one second of dialogue. And we finally get to hear a little bit more from Carrie Coon’s Proxima Midnight, who says more lines in this one episode than she ever did in Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers: Endgame—though that’s an extremely low bar to clear.
The best of all, though, comes when Djimon Hounsou’s Korath joins Star-Lord T’Challa’s heroic Ravagers and excitedly asks to hear about all of their most famous adventures, like the time they stopped The Mad Titan, Thanos… at which point Thanos himself pops up from behind a couch and explains that T’Challa just talked to him about how stupid his plan to wipe out half of all life really was. Josh Brolin reprises his role in the episode, and one of the funniest things about it is that he’s not putting his previous spin on Thanos’ voice. He’s Thanos, right down to the constant grimace on his face, but he’s a Thanos who has sort of seen the error of his ways and is willing to be the butt of everyone’s joke as part of a largely unseen redemption arc. He’s basically the Jerry Gergich of the team, if Jerry had once been one of the most ruthless tyrants in the galaxy, and Brolin plays it very well.
There is one notable absence from the vocal cameos. Drax appears in the episode, the only member of the original Guardians Of The Galaxy team to do so, but he’s not voiced by Dave Bautista. In fact, Bautista says he was never even asked—a claim that series executive producer Brad Winderbaum seems to be surprised by, since he says that he thought “everybody was asked in some way.” Marvel has been tight-lipped on all of the casting for What If…?, so it’s unlikely that they would ever explain this decision, but we would wager that (as a reverse of Kurt Russell’s one-line cameo) this likely means Drax doesn’t show up at all in the rest of the season. If that’s the case, What If…? should give Bautista a whole episode in season two where Drax becomes Captain America or the Sorcerer Supreme or the Punisher—after all, characters becoming the Punisher and/or getting the Venom symbiote are two of the most common What If? scenarios in the comics.