‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ deleted a pivotal scene inspired by a 1970s martial arts classic

midnight angels black panther wakanda forever
via Marvel Studios

Even though the movie ended up running for a hefty 161 minutes, there was plenty more of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever that ended up left on the cutting room floor, with director Ryan Coogler excising countless additional scenes for the sake of trimming down the sequel to a more manageable length.

In all honesty, it’s pretty remarkable that the recent box office smash came in at under three hours given that it needed to address the passing of Chadwick Boseman, pick up from where its predecessor left off on a narrative level, hand Shuri a substantial enough arc that justified her ascension to the titular mantle, debut Namor and the associated characters/motivations/lore of Talokan, and lay the groundwork for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at large as the final chapter of Phase Four.

And yet, it sounds as though one of the scenes to have wound up being dropped would have been one of the most interesting, after Danai Gurira revealed to Deadline that an extended examination of Okoye’s departure from the Dora Milaje would have been inspired by a classic 1970s martial arts TV series.

There’s another of mine that’s [Okoye] saying bye to Shuri. She catches her in Haiti unexpectedly, and Shuri says, ‘Are you going back to the Dora?’ and my character says no. And [Shuri] says, ‘Where are you going to go?’ and she says, ‘Wherever my blue suit takes me.’ And she just walks off.

And they have this beautiful moment, and then she just walks off, [Ryan Coogler] was saying it’s kind of a like that Kung Fu show where the guy just walks the earth. She just walks off. We don’t know where Okoye is going. She’s just letting go. She was fighting to keep that position, and then she just let go. That’s kind of her arc.”

It may have been removed from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever before the end product came to theaters, but it might give us an indication of where Okoye’s immediate future lies. Gurira is expected to headline the Disney Plus spinoff series that was announced a while back, so finding her self-exiled warrior traveling the world and getting roped up into situations that require her unique set of skills would be a logical progression until she circles back around in time for the inevitable threequel.