The impending home release of Black Panther is seeing Marvel release a flurry of deleted scenes for the film - and viewers are beginning to realize just how much they'd have added to the movie. Composer Ludwig Goransson actually scored a 4-hour cut of Black Panther, while the final theatrical release ran for just 2 hours 15 minutes; that gives a sense of just how much footage wound up on the editing room floor. Many of these scenes were likely unfinished, with incomplete CGI, and so Marvel is unlikely to reveal all of them.
Still, the home release of Black Panther does include four deleted scenes. These are set at different points in the film, and are all moments that are dear to the heart of director Ryan Coogler; each offers a new window into the world of Wakanda, and the relationships between the key characters.
So far, Marvel has only released three of these deleted scenes online. Each one of them is a poignant, character-focused moment, deepening the cinematic world Coogler built so very well. In each case, it's individually a shame that they were cut; they fitted thematically, they added fresh context to the relationships, and they explored different parts of Wakanda. But there were valid reasons for cutting each one of them, and - as painful as it may be to admit it - the movie as a whole is probably stronger without them. Let's take a look at each of the deleted scenes, and examine what it would have added to Black Panther.
The Impact Of N'Jobu's Death on T'Chaka and T'Challa
The first deleted scene is an extension of the flashback sequence from the beginning of the film, a beautiful father-son moment. It's set immediately after the death of Prince N'Jobu, jumping to Wakanda to see a young T'Challa and Nakia exploring the forbidden Catacombs of Necropolis. They come across King T'Chaka musing over his brother's death, who spots the young duo and brings his son aside. What follows is a touching scene in which T'Challa expresses his unshakable faith in his father, before declaring that his father will reign forever. After all, when T'Challa becomes Black Panther, he will be able to prevent death ever claiming T'Chaka.
It's a poignant scene and perhaps the most surprising cut from the film. Thematically, it expresses the core of the movie; the father-son dynamic that was explored through both T'Challa and T'Chaka, and Killmonger and N'Jobu. Meanwhile, the dialogue actually helps remind viewers of a detail that some found confusing; that there is a difference between the Black Panther and the King, that while they can be the same person, they don't have to be. It also, more minorly, reveals how Nakia knew about the catacombs later in the film (not that that's essential).
So why did this scene get cut? As fascinating as it may be, it doesn't quite fit with the opening montage. The flashback sequence is actually told through the eyes of the young Killmonger - indeed, the voice-over telling the tales of Wakanda (which hits those Panther/King distinction marks) is actually the voice of his father, N'Jobu. That opening montage becomes all the more powerful on the second viewing when you realize it's all from Killmonger's perspective. Adding another scene to this, one viewed through the eyes of T'Challa, would reduce the impact of the opening sequence.
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