Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for Black Panther
The mid-credits scene attached to Black Panther was at one time considered for the film's actual ending. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has developed its own tropes and traditions throughout the first 10 years. While Black Panther does a great job dodging traditional villain tropes, it does stay true to the Marvel formula in key instances.
One of Marvel's signature moments is their use of mid and post-credits scenes, which has since sparked a resurgence of them appearing in Hollywood. Not only are most viewers now anticipating seeing two credits scenes (if not more), Marvel also has a tendency to have one be somewhat comedic, while the other is used to set up future events. What follows Black Panther doesn't stray too far away from that as the final tag teases Bucky's future. But, it turns out the mid-credits scene was almost the movie's ending.
The Empire Film Podcast spoke to director Ryan Coogler as part of their spoiler special on Black Panther. During the conversation, he revealed that the mid-credits scene wasn't always set in stone. Instead, there were conversations about having the U.N. visit end the movie, but they went with an ending that came full circle.
"It was [almost the ending]. We played with a lot of different ways to end it. We went back and forth about the U.N., and we had a version where it was the U.N. before the scenes in Oakland at the end. But we really kind of settled on how do we want the movie to end? And it came back to that symmetry, and it came back to the most moving version of it. That’s what we were asking ourselves, ‘Who’s more moved emotionally, that kid or the people sitting in the U.N.?’ Who is that a bigger deal to for T’Challa to walk in, who’s more connected to him?"
Black Panther ends with T'Challa and Shuri going to Oakland to the spot where T'Chaka (their father) killed N'Jobu (Killmonger's father and their uncle) - the moment that set the recent chain of events into motion. They go there to see the site of Wakanda's first outreach program, and announcing that Wakanda is opening their doors is what eventually takes them into Black Panther's mid-credits scene. Coogler's explanation for ending Black Panther in Oakland makes sense as it wraps up the film's themes of family and loyalty.
What isn't clear is what would've happened if they did, ultimately, end the movie with the U.N. scene. They could've simply swapped the scenes and have T'Challa and Shuri visit Oakland during the credits, but it would take away from T'Challa revealing his plans. Instead, it likely would've resulted in a completely different mid-credits scene. Considering neither scene is particularly humorous, the chance for them to add one more Shuri one-liner may be the safest bet. However, it also could've explained what happened to W'Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) or show, once and for all, that Killmonger is definitely dead. The possibilities are endless.
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