If you left Avengers: Infinity War wanting way more of Wakandaand way less of everything else — hard same.
And we’re in luck, because USA Today released an exclusive clip of a deleted Black Panther scene. It’s a reminder of what makes the film stand out in the Marvel franchise, displaying the incredible depth of its characters while also speaking to real-world cultural issues and questions.
Most scintillatingly, it finally confirms what many suspected: Okoye and W’Kabi are married. And marriage is tough, man.
The scene takes place right after T’Challa loses the King’s Challenge to Erik Killmonger, and is thrown off a waterfall — presumably to his death.
The two debate their loyalties, and what this all means for the future of Wakanda. As the leader of the Doja Milaje, it is Okoye’s duty to serve this new king even if she doesn’t want to. And as T’Challa’s best-friend-turned-worst-critic, W’Kabi makes the case for why Killmonger is the right path forward for their nation.
As transcribed by USA Today, the crux of their argument comes down to this exchange:
Okoye: This is what you would have me leave the Dora for, to bring our children into this world where they become conquerors?
W’Kabi: Yes. Our children will be leaders of a truly free world, not just a tiny country where we have to hide everything that makes us great. There will be war and death but in the end it will be beautiful. And Wakanda will stand tall.
What’s so interesting about this scene is that it was cut, while another similar scene between Okoye and Nakia was kept in. In retrospect, we understand why that was the right call to make, and can see the decision as the sign of a great editor and director.
In a preface, director Ryan Coogler explains the scene was something, “I was incredibly proud of as a director but didn’t work inside of the confines of our film.”
Certainly the performances from Danai Gurira and Daniel Kaluuya are stellar. But to an extent, it undercuts a little of Okoye’s autonomy when juxtaposed with the other Nakia scene. The deleted scene almost makes it seem as though she chose her path based on her husband’s wishes, rather than her deeply-rooted respect for Wakanda, its protection, and its traditions.
Also you won’t find us complaining about forgoing a scene about Okoye’s marriage troubles, over an equally great scene between two women arguing for equally strong but opposing convictions.
If the snippet makes you want to go back to Wakanda forever (again, hard same), look out for Black Panther‘s digital release on iTunes and Amazon on May 8.
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