Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige confirms late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman recorded "numerous episodes" of What If...?, the studio's first animated series inspired by the Marvel comic book. In What If...?, narrated by the cosmic observer The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright), multiple Marvel actors return to voice their characters who are re-imagined in unexpected ways. Marvel first announced Boseman would return alongside many of his Marvel Cinematic Universe co-stars, including Michael B. Jordan (Killmonger) and Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier), when revealing the Disney+ original series during San Diego Comic-Con in July 2019.
"These are all sorts of stories we couldn’t explore through live-action," Feige told Emmy Magazine about the series, which imagines what happens if it's T'Challa (Boseman) of Wakanda who becomes the legendary outlaw Star-Lord.
Boseman "came in about four times and recorded numerous episodes," Feige said, adding that "in hindsight, it's very moving."
During Disney Investor Day earlier this month, Feige confirmed Marvel Studios would not recast Boseman's King T'Challa in the Ryan Coogler-directed Black Panther II. The sequel, which will explore the world of Wakanda, is now dated for July 2022.
Boseman died in August after a private four-year battle with colon cancer. The Captain America: Civil War and Avengers star was 43. The actor has since received widespread acclaim for his role as trumpeter Levee Green in Netflix's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, released posthumously on Friday as Boseman's final on-screen performance.
"On the reel [shown at D23 Expo 2019], there is this image of a Star-Lord T'Challa because we wanted to see what if the worlds of Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy collided," What If…? head writer Ashley Bradley told Discussing Film in 2019. "That was taking two universes, two to three movies, kind of twisting them in new ways."
A new look at the animated series reveals Star-Lord T'Challa encounters cosmic characters like Howard the Duck when What If...? premieres on Disney+ in summer 2021.
"With Star-Lord T'Challa obviously, we want to know how T'Challa ended up in other planets? What’s the story there? It’s super exciting to work on because again, it’s seeing these characters and seeing the combination of character interactions," Bradley said. "Seeing the Avengers hang out together and more recently Endgame gave us the fun of seeing something like Ant-Man hanging out with the Hulk. What If…? is taking it a step further."
Other Marvel Studios stars lending their voices to What If...? include Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), Josh Brolin (Thanos), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury).