Okoye and W'Kabi's Marriage
According to Black Panther editor Michael Shawver, this was "hands down the most painful scene to cut." It features Danai Gurira's Okoye and Daniel Kaluuya's W'Kabi in an intense conversation, set just after Killmonger has taken the throne. The scene properly highlights the relationship between the two, actually confirming that they are married. It also offers a hint as to what their relationship is like, with the revelation that W'Kabi has been trying to persuade Okoye to leave the Dora Milaje in order to start a family. Where it's most crucial, though, is in painting W'Kabi's motivations in siding with Killmonger, with his own sense of betrayal at T'Challa for his handling of Klaue pointed.
It's a real shame this scene was cut, as it offers a valuable insight into two key sides of Wakanda's cultural debate, exploring the character's natures in a very fresh, very different way. Meanwhile, the revelation that these two were considering starting a family is one that grounds Black Panther in a way few superhero movies are. Superheroes are, by nature, locked in a perpetual status quo - comic book publishers and movie studios are always shy about deviating from the success formula too much - but here, right from the outset of the Black Panther franchise, two characters are wrestling with a decision that would utterly transform their personal worlds.
It's character background, but with forward-thinking goals. The argument over Killmonger paves the way for Okoye's fateful choice to reject W'Kabi, and sets up the impending conflict between the Dora Milaje and the Border Tribe. It adds a haunting note of tragedy to the final battle, while foreshadowing the scene where Okoye stops W'Kabi's War Rhino.
Of all the deleted scenes, this is the one that perhaps shouldn't have been cut. It adds much-needed depth to the character, and it makes the final resolution of the brief Wakandan Civil War that much more effective. However, Marvel felt the scene simply didn't help with the film's pacing. With Wakanda in turmoil, it was necessary to keep up a steady pace in this section. Emotional scenes like this risked damaging the flow of the film, distracting attention from the focus on T'Challa's fleeing family. Marvel ultimately made the difficult decision to cut the scene.
T'Challa and Ross Before the United Nations Speech
The final Black Panther deleted scene is set right before King T'Challa's speech at the United Nations, and sees Ross attempt to talk T'Challa out of the announcement. It even reveals that Ross is attempting to learn Wakandan, although he hasn't quite got it right yet. This scene doesn't add as much to the narrative as some of the others, and is mostly played for laughs.
In fact, it's rather weird in the context of the released movie. T'Challa's speech at the United Nations was originally the end of the film, and this would presumably have happened right before it; ultimately, director Ryan Coogler decided to move the UN speech to the mid-credits, instead ending Black Panther in a scene set in the baseball courts. He felt there was a powerful symmetry to this, with the movie ending exactly where it began, and he certainly had a point. When that's done, this scene must go.
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