Marvel Studios have an exceptional track record when it comes to delivering profitable superhero flicks that manage to please audiences and critics alike. With this in mind, perhaps it isn’t too much of a surprise that when Ryan Coogler was assigned to direct the first Black Panther movie, the result was a box office smash that currently sits only behind Avengers: Infinity War in the ranking of 2018’s highest grossing films.
Nonetheless, each multimillion dollar production is a gamble in itself, and the creative team behind Infinity War knew that the film’s climactic Battle of Wakanda wasn’t going to hold as much emotional sway if the flick responsible for introducing us to this region had turned out to be a dud. It’s a topic that’s touched upon in the commentary track for the Infinity War home video release, in which co-writer Stephen McFeely explains how the success of Black Panther affected how viewers responded to their own movie.
“Listen, a year ahead of time, we had no idea ‘Wakanda Forever’ was going to be amazing. We tested this movie a few times, and when we got to this scene, most of the audiences, say in January and early February, went, ‘Oh this is an interesting place, I’ve never been here before.’ After mid-February, once Black Panther had come out, this scene gets a huge cheer. It just rewards you investing in these characters. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but boy, I was really pleased.”
Regardless of how things would’ve turned out for Coogler’s film, Infinity War co-director Joe Russo had long regarded the technologically advanced nation of Wakanda as a worthy setting for the Avengers’ last stand against Thanos.
“It was a big conversation early on. I said, ‘We’re going to set a lot of the third act in Wakanda, because if you’re going to go anywhere in the world to protect a McGuffin from an evil alien, it’s going to be Wakanda.’”
If you care for another viewing of the explosive Battle of Wakanda, Avengers: Infinity War is out now on Digital HD and is coming to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray and DVD on August 14th.