Did the Latest ‘What If…?’ End With a Dumb Commercial
Marvel continued its parade of animated alternate universes this week with the latest episode of What If…?, which delves into some of the MCU's parallel timelines -- but really, if there are an infinite number of realities, couldn't every show technically be considered part of the MCU? Like, could we one day get an episode called "What if instead of Tony Stark becoming Iron Man, ALF became a boxcar hobo?" and it's just a rerun of that episode of ALF where ALF became a boxcar hobo?
This week's show was bittersweet, featuring Chadwick Boseman's final performance as T'Challa -- and it was pretty great. In this version of events, T'Challa is abducted by the Ravagers instead of Peter Quill and becomes an arguably far more likable Star-Lord. He's basically an intergalactic Robin Hood who even prevents the "snap" by simply being a cool guy who somehow convinces Thanos to abandon his evil plan. Now his genocidal machinations have become mere idle bar banter.
But oddly, the show ends, not with T'Challa returning to Wakanda -- they tack on an extra scene set in a … Dairy Queen? We see the non-Star-Lord version of Peter Quill mopping up melted Peanut Buster Parfaits when his dad,
Kurt Russell's Magnificent Hair Ego the Living Planet, shows up.
Obviously, this is a reference to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, in which it's revealed that a patch of woods behind DQ is where Ego hooked up with Quill's mother. Which is kind of a weird connection; really, how many people end up working at the same fast food joint where they were conceived?
The flashback to Ego's Dairy Queen-centric rendezvous sure seemed like another blatant corporate tie-in from the same studio that had Ant-Man work part-time at a Baskin-Robbins -- but director James Gunn has vehemently denied that it was product placement, arguing that he included Dairy Queen purely for "nostalgic value."
Gunn's defense of his artistic motivations was somewhat undercut by the massive DQ tie-in campaign, which included a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed Blizzard -- which presumably tasted like tree bark and raccoon fur.
So was this What If…? scene was an attempt to further milk their Dairy Queen deal? Maybe we're just extra cynical because What If…? has already unleashed a crap-ton of merchandising tie-ins on the world, including action figures, LEGO sets, T-shirts and weirdly this commercial that imagines "What if" Uatu the Watcher, Thor, and Captain Carter all shilled for the fancy new Hyundai ...?
Which may or may not have spoiled the end of the show.
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Top Image: Marvel Studios