Spoilers for Black Panther ahead.
Black Panther director Ryan Coogler says there’s a pretty good reason the movie didn’t introduce the final Infinity Stone: it already had a MacGuffin. Marvel’s first film of 2018 is kicking off the year in a big way for the studio, as Black Panther continues breaking records for ticket sales. It now sits behind the three modern Star Wars films as the fourth-highest seller for Fandango advanced tickets, proving just how excited audiences are for the film. And with near-universal critical praise as well, the future of the franchise looks good.
Though Black Panther is a relatively standalone film, it does connect to Captain America: Civil War and sets the stage for Avengers: Infinity War. The post-credits scene for Black Panther checks back in with Bucky, now that Shuri has removed his Hydra brainwashing. The name ‘White Wolf’ he’s given is even one of Black Panther‘s many Easter eggs. But while a nod to the next big Marvel movie is given, one major piece of that film has failed to appear in either Thor: Ragnarok or Black Panther: The Soul Stone.
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IGN spoke with Coogler about Black Panther and inquired if there was ever a plan to involve the final Infinity Stone in the film. For Coogler, however, there was a solid reason not to explore the powerful artifact:
“I love the Infinity Stones as much as any comic book fan, it’s just Wakanda already has its thing, which is Vibranium. For us, that was special enough, so to throw in something like another special thing didn’t feel right. It felt like we should stick with our one MacGuffin for the country and explore that, let that be the important thing because, frankly we didn’t need to have another piece like that. [Marvel Studios] never really was interested in putting a stone in there, either.”
Black Panther not only had to sketch out the evolution of a relatively new MCU hero, but also set up an entirely different locale and a huge ensemble. More than that, Black Panther as a character is built atop a foundation stretching back 1 million years in the comics. As such, Coolger and his cohorts had plenty to establish without uncovering yet another of the items Thanos is seeking. And as Coogler notes, the Vibranium serves the traditional MacGuffin role (that of an object which drives the plot forward) well enough.
Of course, the lack of an Infinity Stone isn’t swaying anyone from seeing the film. Marvel Studios has done well with their relative standalone MCU movies, even when they touch on the larger developments in the franchise. Indeed, Black Panther‘s Thursday evening box office debut was even bigger than Civil War‘s, which suggests that the film is attracting more than the usual hardcore MCU fan crowd. There’s no telling just how big the final box office numbers will be, but Black Panther is on track for commercial and cultural domination.
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