Ryan Coogler's Black Panther hasn't opened in theaters just yet, but that hasn't stopped the writer/director from revealing a deleted scene involving Lupita Nyong'o's Nakia that didn't make the final cut.
Once again sticking Chadwick Boseman in a vibranium suit after 2016's Captain America: Civil War, the 18th Marvel Cinematic Universe movie is all anyone can talk about at the moment. Pitting T'Challa against enemies like Erik Killmonger and Ulysses Klaue, the film also introduces Marvel comic book favorites like Shuri and M'Baku. With a gripping story and some tantalizing post-credits scenes, there is more than enough to warrant a Black Panther sequel or two in the upcoming Phase 4 - meaning that Coogler would be able to include some of the plans that he didn't get time to fit into Black Panther.
We have already heard how rights issues meant Coogler wasn't allowed to include Kraven the Hunter in the film, but it seems that there were at least two other famous characters that he just didn't have time to squeeze into Black Panther's 134-minute runtime. Speaking to Digital Spy, Coogler revealed one scene in particular that he was gutted he couldn't bring to life:
"I was so in love with Wakanda, I wanted to explore it more. There was a scene in the script early days that we had to cut for the sake of affordability where T'Challa and Nakia run through Wakanda – they take a jog. And it was kinda, think of it as a Rocky-style jog or a Muhammad Ali When We Were Kings-style jog where we saw all of Wakanda and you jog back to Nakia's home and you meet her parents."
Nyong'o's Nakia is a major player, being T'Challa's former lover and a spy for the Wakandan forces in the comics, and having a huge presence in the Black Panther movie. However, Coogler has admitted that the scene with her family was never actually shot:
"But it was a scene that you couldn't afford to do and we had to lose it. Now looking at the film, we wouldn't have had time. We would have shot it and had to cut it out anyway."
Whether due to time constraints or for budget reasons, montage scenes like T'Challa and Nakia jogging through Wakanda may have looked pretty, but what would they really have added to the plot of the movie? Ultimately, not everything can make it from page to screen, and it is a natural part of the evolving process of a film. At least Coogler had the foresight to realize what he did and didn't need for Black Panther.
Alongside Nakia's parents, we already know that a romance between Okoye and Ayo was cut from the finished product, leading us to question what else was scrapped in the early stages of Black Panther. Given that Black Panther is the MCU's longest standalone movie, it was an inevitability that some ideas would fall by the wayside to make room for the rest of the action-packed storyline. Importantly though, ideas to introduce more Wakandan characters or exploring same-sex relationships are not ones that have been scuppered forever. Just because they didn't appear in the first movie, it doesn't necessarily mean the franchise will never visit them again. Who knows, maybe Mr. and Mrs. Nakia will pop up in Black Panther 2.
Source: Digital Spy
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