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One of the major problems with Avengers: Age Of Ultron was that it too often felt hobbled by its attempts to set up future installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from Thor’s vision of the Infinity Stones to the introduction of magic through Scarlet Witch. Now, it’s emerged that director Joss Whedon had originally planned to have yet another teaser for a future Marvel entry – Black Panther – by setting a scene within the fictional African nation of Wakanda, but he eventually chose to take a different route with the scene.
In Age of Ultron, the titular A.I. seeks vibranium, the same metal from which Cap’s shield was forged, within Africa. In the film, he ends up finding the resource at a South African shipping yard overseen by the villainous Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis).
Originally, though, Ultron was meant to retrieve the mineral from a state-of-the-art mine in Wakanda, the homeland of T’Challa (aka the Black Panther), and Gregory Fangeaux created some unused 3D set designs of what that setting would have looked like.
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It’s likely a good thing Whedon didn’t go overboard on the Black Panther references. Introducing Klaue (and disarming him, in a surprising departure from the comics) was more than enough of a tease for the Wakandan ruler, who is expected to show up in Captain America: Civil War, possibly in pursuit of the Winter Soldier for a past offense (fans speculate that the HYDRA assassin could have killed someone close to T’Challa) and very likely to the immense displeasure of Hawkeye, who’s rumored to throw down with the Panther. Besides, Age of Ultron had enough plot to deal with on its own, without laying the groundwork for everything between now and Infinity War.