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Photo: Matt Kennedy. ©Marvel Studios 2018

Watch this Incredibly Potent Deleted Black Panther Scene

One of the most complex relationships in Black Panther was mostly only hinted at. We’re not talking about the love between T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), or the Cain and Able like fury between Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and T’Challa. We’re talking about the relationship between Okoye (Danai Gurira) and W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya).

In a new deleted scene revealed by USA Todayco-writer and director Ryan Coogler explains that Okoye, the powerful leader of the Dora Milaje, and W’Kabi, the head of security for Wakanda’s Border Tribe (also T’Challa’s former best friend) are actually married. This deleted scene was set after T’Challa was thrown off Warrior Falls and apparently killed by Killmonger during the latter’s challenge for the throne. Coogler explains that the scene was meant to highlight not only that Okoye and W’Kabi were married, but show the cracks in their relationship thanks to their differing views on what to do now that Killmonger was in charge.

The thrust of their argument is about Wakanda’s future. Okoye is furious that W’Kabi helped Killmonger even make into the Tribal Council room, where he challenged T’Challa and revealed that he was the son of T’Challa’s murdered uncle (at the hands of T’Challa’s father, the former king T’Chaka, no less). W’Kabi is no less angry, only his fury is at T’Challa for having failed to bring the vibranium thief, murderer, and overall scourge of Wakanda, Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) back to Wakanda to face the consequences. It was Killmonger who pulled off that feat—sort of—when he brought Klaw’s body to W’Kabi’s Border Tribe. Not only that, Killmonger wants to use Wakandan technology to free oppressed people all over the world, and put Wakanda in its rightful stop as the most powerful nation on the planet, a lone superpower that all would fear and respect. W’Kabi believes this is the right thing to do, while Okoye is heartbroken he’d want their children to grow up “conquerers.”

The performances from Gurira and Kaluuya are potent, and offer a prime example of just how tough a director’s job is. You watch this exchange and think how in the world could you cut these performances, yet the film was expertly paced, and we didn’t miss what we didn’t know was available. Coogler was also a big fan of the performances, and even though he ultimately decided Black Panther didn’t need the exchange, the passion and anger on display are still evident between Okoye and W’Kabi in the final cut. There’s a reason Black Panther made history, and its because of actors of this caliber and a director who knows precisely what he needs.

Black Panther is available on digital HD platforms on May 8, and Blu-Ray and DVD on May 15.

Featured image: L to R: Danai Gurira (Okoye) on set with Director Ryan Coogler. Ph: Matt Kennedy. ©Marvel Studios 2018

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