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We Finally Know Why Black Panther Returned First After The Snap

A moment in Avengers: Endgame everyone was looking forward to was the return of the heroes who were killed at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. Their long-awaited arrival came at the 11th hour — after the Avengers successfully retrieved the Infinity Stones and Professor Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) loaded up his Infinity Gauntlet, snapped his fingers, and brought everyone back to life. Mere seconds after that Snap, trouble arrived at Avengers HQ and the heroes were thrust into what would be their final battle with Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his army of alien sycophants. 

As luck would have it, the dusted heroes arrived just in time to assist the surviving Avengers in taking down the Mad Titan. Just when Captain America (Chris Evans) thought that he would have to go it alone, portals began opening across the sky. The very first hero to step through and join the fight was Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), and now we finally know why. 

Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo recently revealed during a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session that the King of Wakanda wasn't technically the top choice to return first — Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), a.k.a. Falcon, was. He and his filmmaking brother Anthony Russo wanted Sam to be the first person to communicate with Captain America during the battle with Thanos, and since Sam was fighting in Wakanda when he disintegrated in Avengers: Infinity War, the directors knew that they needed to have the Wakandan portal be the first one to open up after Professor Hulk's Snap. Given that Sam isn't the most important person in Wakanda (heck, he's not even from there), T'Challa wound up being the first hero to emerge. In Endgame, Sam is the hero who is heard first, telling Cap through his communications device that the heroes are arriving to his left, but Black Panther is the first one seen.

"We spent a lot of time in the edit room playing around with the sequencing of the portals. We probably didn't lock that section of the movie until about a month before the film was in theaters. We always wanted Sam to be the first one to communicate with Cap via his comm and Sam was last in Wakanda, so logically the first portal that would open would the Wakandan portal," Joe Russo explained. "And the first person that would logically walk through a portal from Wakanda would be the king himself, bringing his army once again to the defense of Cap and the world."

Joe added on the audio commentary track included on the digital release of Avengers: Endgame, "Who else would you want to have your back in this moment other than T'Challa and Wakanda?"

In the end, Black Panther being chosen as the first hero to return after Professor Hulk's Snap wasn't down to some big, emotional reason. The Russos didn't have the Wakandan king emerge before everyone else because he's more important or more powerful than the others who were dusted. The real explanation is a lot less exciting than that: it was a matter of logistics. They wanted Sam to communicate with Cap first, Sam was in Wakanda when he was snapped away into the ether, and Black Panther is the leader of the technologically advanced African nation, so he showed up first. Easy breezy. 

The issue of which hero would return first after the Snap in Avengers: Endgame wasn't the only logistical issue the film's team had to tackle. Endgame co-writer Stephen McFeely revealed on the Endgame commentary track that he and his fellow scribe Christopher Markus wrote a version of the script in which the heroes came back and were shown immediately, rather than 20 or so minutes after Hulk's Snap. 

"Just on an act-construction level, we were faced with a strange problem where we needed two snaps of the Gauntlet and asked ourselves often, 'What does it mean to bring everybody back?' and 'What is the best way to do that?'" said McFeely (via ComicBook.com). "We certainly tried a version where everyone came back and you knew it immediately, and there they were. Maybe they all came back to wherever you wished them to come back. And then Thanos attacked them all at once. Doing that prevented us from a really heroic reveal."

And what a heroic reveal it wound up being. Black Panther entering alongside Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) — then giving Captain America a knowing nod as Sam, suited up as Falcon, flies overhead? We're getting chills just remembering it now.