The tragic death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020 meant that his performance in the recording booth was the last time the actor worked on a Marvel Studios project. The series afforded executive producer Brad Winderbaum his first opportunity to work closely with the actor.
"We obviously had no clue about [Chadwick’s illness] at the time," he tells SFX in the new issue of the magazine. "We reached out to him about T’Challa Star-Lord and he was really excited about the concept, and really liked the pages. He came in, recorded, and had such a good time that we kept writing him [episodes], so he’s in four episodes as three different versions of T’Challa. It’s so humbling to think that he devoted any time to this show in his last year with us.
"It was so devastating when we heard the news. We had forged a bit of a relationship with him because he was in so much of it, and we’re so grateful. He was such a contributor, creatively. I’m sure everyone that’s ever worked with him said the same: he left it all on the field for us."
Boseman's last live-action role was in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, for which the actor was nominated for an Oscar. He was best known for playing Black Panther, a role that will not be recast in the upcoming Marvel sequel.
Speaking with GamesRadar+, the show's lead writer revealed the two rules the show cannot break. "One was we couldn’t do anything that the movies or TV shows were already doing. So that let us go to weirder and stranger places," A.C. Bradley said, adding that the second was a little more frivolous.
"Despite my damnedest, I was not allowed to use Star Wars characters. I tried many times; they kept reminding me that Luke Skywalker is not an Avenger," she said.
You can check out our lengthy feature on the making of What If...? in the new issue of SFX Magazine, which has Titans on the cover. For more from SFX, make sure to sign up to the newsletter, sending all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox.