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What If...? Episode 6 Explained

Yikes. Are we ever going to get a happy ending in "What If...?" Episode 6 of the series is all about Killmonger, voiced by the great Michael B. Jordan. The series is all about reimagining the MCU as we know it, and in this episode, we are shown what would have happened if Killmonger saved Tony Stark in Afghanistan all those years ago.

In the original "Iron Man" from 2008, Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) is kidnapped by the terrorist Ten Rings organization where he is commanded to build them a Jericho missile. With the help of his cellmate Yinsen (Shaun Toub), Tony constructs his first-ever Iron Man suit and escapes capture and is found by Colonel Rhodes (Terrence Howard) while he's aimlessly wandering through the desert.

We all know the story well: Tony is inspired, becomes a hero, takes on the mantle of Iron Man, and saves the world about 100 times. In Episode 6 of "What If...?" the exact opposite happens thanks to Killmonger's interference.

A tale of two Tonys

By saving Tony in Afghanistan, Killmonger prevents Iron Man from ever existing. The billionaire now wants to make bigger and better weapons to protect the country, an ambition he abandons in "Iron Man." Since Tony never went through the experience of being a prisoner, he lacked the push to become the best version of himself. Without Iron Man, it's a fair assumption to assume that the world ends at some point in the near future. The Avengers likely never form, and Thanos is probably never defeated. This seems to be a common outcome based on the twisted storylines "What If...?" has been giving us.

This Tony meets his end — the third time in this series, by the way — after Killmonger impales him with a Dora Milaje spear. It turns out he's a bad guy and not the savior he looked like he might have been in the episode's opening. This Killmonger is very much the same version we met in "Black Panther" — a vengeful man always thinking two steps ahead. He uses Tony for his intellect and resources to build soldier drones which he uses later in the episode and effectively ends his new friend's life when he's no longer needed. But Tony isn't the only MCU hero who Killmonger ends in this story — Colonel Rhodes and T'Challa are both taken out by the villain in a salvage yard on the African coast thanks to another master plan.

Killmonger gets what he wants

The whole point of Killmonger's plan is to become the next Black Panther. He achieves this way too easily after convincing a grieving royal family that he is there to save them from the American's killer drones. King T'Chaka and Ramonda trust their nephew to help them, and when he doesn't fail them, Killmonger is offered the purple herb giving him unlimited power. It's safe to assume that he has a plan in the works to eliminate King T'Chaka, because why stop at Black Panther? Why not take it one step further? Based on his comments, we know Killmonger wants to share everything Wakanda has to offer with his brothers and sisters across the world. T'Chaka seems to agree, and we're left to wonder the outcome of when that happens.

Thankfully, two women doubt Killmonger's intentions the entire time. Shuri and Pepper Potts take issue with the so-called hero from the moment they meet him. At the episode's conclusion, Shuri travels to find Pepper when she realizes they share a distaste for the new Black Panther. The episode ends shortly after, and we have to assume they work together to take down Killmonger.

This seems to be a common theme for "What If...?" episodes — ending the story on a cliffhanger, so we're only further left to wonder what might happen next. The other common theme? Killing every hero we've ever come to love in the MCU over and over again.