Fans are excited about the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, where the MCU versions of both Spider-Man and Black Panther will make their debut. Black Panther in particular has been featured in a number of trailers and promotional materials for the film, proving himself a match for most if not all of the heroes that have been introduced in the MCU thus far.
Originally, though, Black Panther's role in Civil War was going to be drastically different. The writers of the film recently revealed that the original plan was to not have him suit up at all -- but this was changed by everyone's friendly neighborhood wall-crawler.
Speaking to CinemaBlend, screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely explained that Black Panther was originally just supposed to appear in his uncostumed identity, Prince T'Challa of Wakanda. He and his father King T'Chaka were key players in the film's plot, but T'Challa wouldn't put on the Black Panther suit until the solo Black Panther movie in 2018. As Markus explained:
"Originally, T'Challa and T'Chaka were just the representatives of Wakanda, sort of the voice of other countries in the world going, ‘You people are out of control,’ and then to be aggrieved by possible Bucky actions. Frankly, just not have him be Black Panther yet. He's getting his own movie, you know. He's the prince of a country! That's pretty good for a movie. Maybe we get to play with Spider-Man and all that."
Unfortunately, it started looking like the licensing deal with Sony to bring Spider-Man into the MCU wasn't going to work out and the pair needed a new hero for the film. Markus continued:
"When things maybe looked like we weren’t going to get Spider-Man, it was like, ‘Let's put the costume on that guy!’ And then he became so integral to the story as it evolved that once Spider-Man came back, we didn't take him out. So, it was a problem that created a really nice situation."
It would have been interesting to see T'Challa in a solely diplomatic role, though it's doubtful anyone will complain about getting to see Black Panther in costume now instead of in 2018. The costumed identity is a large part of who the character is, which is why it would've been a great nod to the fans that knew who that diplomat really was. Of course, with the positive buzz surrounding the movie from those who have seen it, it sounds like there's still plenty for fans to enjoy.
Big changes aren't unheard of between early drafts of a script and the final version, and sometimes we never really find out the reason that things changed. In this case, it's kind of neat to learn that one of the characters that fans are most excited about appears in the film in-costume as a direct result of the other character that has the fans worked up. With both characters appearing in the film, it looks like fans are getting the best of both worlds with this one.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange– November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1– May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.