The second episode of Marvel’s What if …? has a lot of fun playing in the MCU sandbox and shows the last performance of Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, and suggests that in another universe he became Star Lord instead of Peter Quill.
Instead of forming the Galaxy’s Guardians, T’Challa stays with the Ravagers and turns out to be an extremely positive presence in the universe, putting the old Star Lord to shame, quite frankly. T’Challa aims to be the Robin Hood of the galaxies and puts treasure in the hands of those who need it, his calm demeanor is capable of disarming almost any insane villain – even the mad Titan himself.
Thanos surprisingly appears as a reformed variant, a hulk-like slugger and team player who is quite willing to laugh at how unheard of he used to be. He has changed a lot and is not nearly as strong as he was back in his tyranny days after he was almost killed by one of his old subordinates, Proxima Midnight, who remains on the wrong side, even in a second universe.
Although the idea of speaking an ideologue out of his position using common sense seems as far out as a fantasy like a talking tree or raccoon, the idea of a reformed Thanos is extremely interesting. There are not many Marvel characters who have moved from selfish monster to self-conscious warrior, happy to take orders and make jokes about their former penchant for genocide.
Could the (former) Mad Titan reappear in live-action, a phase or two down the line at MCU? After all, What if …? is officially canon, all taking place in alternative universes. The potential of the multiverse gives Marvel plenty of room to rework and revive characters that proved popular with fans, and Thanos certainly remains a memorable supervillain.
Loki already toyed with the idea that Infinity Stones are just paperweights in an infinite timeline and multiverse, cosmically insignificant compared to what awaits. And with the final arrival of the Kang Conqueror, the most brutal of all the Kang variants, it may make sense for the Avengers to assemble the perfect team by recruiting good variants throughout the multiverse.
Getting Thanos back as a reformed variant could be considered fan service, but it could also lead to some very interesting and funny scenarios as the Avengers fight a team member who in another reality completely ruined their lives. Maybe one day Thor will fight with Thanos and advise Titan to “aim at his head.”
It would also be fun to pair him with Scarlet Witch (given that Reformed Thanos still has no idea who she is), or even get him and Tony Stark to meet again under different circumstances; even as enemies, the two seemed to have a mutual respect for each other.
Of course, it’s all just speculation, but hearing Josh Brolin voice Thanos again was intriguing; with the multiverse, there is never really anyone who is gone.
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