Producer Nate Moore wishes Avengers: Infinity War had a little more for Black Panther to do. After Wesley Snipes spent a number of years trying to get a Black Panther movie off the ground in the 1990s, the character finally got his live-action debut in Captain America: Civil War, where he seeks revenge for the murder of his father. Chadwick Boseman cut an impressive figure as T'Challa, and the movie ended with a teasing glimpse of his homeland, Wakanda.
The Black Panther solo movie was given to Ryan Coogler (Creed) to direct, and it's fair to say he knocked the project out of the park. The movie broke numerous box-office records, attracted stellar reviews and Michael B. Jordan gave Marvel arguably its best villain to date with Erik Killmonger. The movie became an instant fan favorite, and audiences are already clamoring for a sequel.
Black Panther and Wakanda play a big role in the final act battle of Avengers: Infinity War, with T'Challa teaming up with Captain America, Black Widow and a host of other heroes against Thanos' invading forces. Since he shows up midway through, the movie doesn't have much for him to do, and now producer Nate Moore has revealed to Screen Rant he wishes – given the explosion of new fans for the character – that T'Challa had more of a role.
We knew he was going to be in Infinity War and actually had talked with Joe and Anthony [Russo] very early on, and they had got really excited about placing a good chunk of that film in Wakanda. But, having an idea how big an impact he would I have, I think Joe and Anthony, Chris and Steve - Markus and McFeely - would have approached writing that character a bit differently, and probably I think figured out how to explore the world of Wakanda a beat or two more.
That said, Moore also admits given the sheer amount of characters and storylines, carving some extra time for the character could have been tricky.
The truth is, Infinity War, there's so much going on as you know, that there's not a ton of time to stop and smell the roses, but... Panther turned into this cultural touchstone, that I think given our druthers we would go back and figure out ways to sweeten this time we do spend in Wakanda in the film a bit more. Especially, I think, for T'Challa - give him a couple more key beats or scenes, just because he means so much to people so quickly, which again we didn't anticipate.
The marketing for Avengers: Infinity War played up the role of Black Panther following the success of his solo adventure, but while he gets some cool moments, he's very much a supporting player. It will also be interesting to see how Black Panther 2 reacts to the events of Infinity War, which promises big changes ahead for the MCU. Ryan Coogler himself expressed interest in a possible all-female spinoff focused on Nakia, Shuri and Okoye too.
Moore's comments go to show that while Marvel always expected Black Panther to be a hit, even they couldn't have predicted how much audiences would fall in love with it. While the character's lack of screentime was somewhat disappointing in Avengers: Infinity War, it was never intended as a direct sequel, and it should serve to whet appetites for the next solo Black Panther adventure.
Black Panther is now available on VOD, Blu-Ray, and DVD.
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- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019