Black Panther could have had a very different ending

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A deleted line of dialogue could have had a great effect on Black Panther’s ending.

Audiences loved Black Panther for a number reasons, but one of the biggest reasons was the final exchange between T’Challa and Erik Killmonger. With his last breath, Killmonger held fast to his convictions, as T’Challa looked on at his dying cousin. However, it seems a key line was removed from that conversation. And it would have led to a major change in the ending.

CinemaBlend recently caught up with Black Panther editor Michael Shawver, who revealed that director Ryan Coogler wanted to reshoot the film’s ending. This ending, which appeared in the finished film, omitted a piece of Killmonger’s dialogue. Originally, the dying villain asked T’Challa how he planned to help the world beyond Wakanda:

"“With reshoots Ryan wanted to do a new ending, and it’s a whole bigger thing with the scene where Killmonger dies… What we shot originally, and in the script, was Killmonger saying ‘It’s beautiful, but what are you going to do for everybody in the world who can’t see this?'”"

While Coogler and company thought the line was “powerful,” they opted not to keep it. According to  Shawver, Coogler and the other creatives decided it was best that T’Challa not get the solution to his problem from the antagonist. On top of this, they also felt the line didn’t fit Killmonger’s character:

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"“… And it was great. It was powerful, it was awesome, but it was problematic for a few reasons. One, we realized that just as a character, for the journey of T’Challa, he can’t get the answer to the movie and what he needs to do from the villain – like straight-up exactly what he needs. And that’s kind of what was happening. Secondly, it was a great performance, and [Michael B. Jordan] brought it, and it was painful to watch because you kind of don’t want this guy to die, but it didn’t fit his character."

It’s hard to deny this single line of dialogue would have resonated with viewers, but cutting it may have been for the best. As many likely remember, T’Challa ultimately decides to reveal Wakanda’s true nature to the rest of the world. He even opens the first Wakandan outreach center in Oakland.

Had that line been delivered, all of the choices T’Challa makes at the end of the film would have essentially stemmed from Killmonger’s urging. As a result, some viewers left the movie wondering if T’Challa truly made the decision to change on his own. The ending wouldn’t have undercut the film as a whole, but it would have tampered with T’Challa’s development as a character.

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Although the original ending would have been an intriguing choice, it’s safe to say the chosen scene was the smart choice. And in the long run, the king of Wakanda’s arc will be all the better for it.