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The Epic Black Panther Fight Scene Cut From Avengers: Endgame

The cat's out of the bag about why Black Panther had such a brief fight sequence in Avengers: Endgame

In an interview with Slashfilm, Endgame editor Jeff Ford revealed that the creative team's initial plans for Black Panther's return to the present timeline underwent some changes. The biggest came down to T'Challa's awesome but brief fight with Thanos henchman and long-faced alien Ebony Maw, as there was originally a much longer and more intricate version of the fight than fans ultimately saw.

"I remember we did have a much more elaborate sequence with [Black Panther and] Maw," Ford said. "We took it down because when they come through the portals, they kind of introduce all these characters into the story that haven't been in the movie yet... Panther and Maw felt like, that's not the story that we're tracking, so maybe we reduce that stuff."

Much like Captain Marvel's lead up to the massive crossover movie, Black Panther was ideally placed within the Marvel Cinematic Universe release timeline, providing the perfect foundation for the King of Wakanda's prominent appearance in Avengers: Infinity War. T'Challa played such a significant role in the third Avengers installment, in fact, that the entire fight was dropped right onto the doorstep of the hero's long-hidden African nation of Wakanda.

All of that attention might have helped explain why Black Panther — who was also one of the victims of Thanos' genocidal snap — didn't get a fight sequence in Endgame that rivaled his greatest Infinity War moments. When the portals opened to return all of our favorite dusted heroes, Black Panther was the first to step out — but he was also one of a countless number that needed to be featured, and they all bore the task of driving the final fight toward that climactic confrontation between Thanos and Iron Man, according to Ford.

"We ended up making sure we had a cool shot of Panther, but it was like, 'Let's make sure that every moment we engage in that section [leads to] that final confrontation with Tony [Stark] and Thanos," the editor explained.

T'Challa having his individual battle sequence trimmed, Ford says, was among "a few things" that were ultimately whittled down in editing. It was a decision that had the effect of allowing more space for characters like Captain Marvel and Spider-Man to be featured alongside the original Avengers team, but in the end, how long the cameras stayed with any one character or followed any given fight sequence had a lot to do with keeping the film — and final battle — focused on Endgame's, well, endgame. 

Black Panther will have plenty of time to fight in his solo sequel

With so many characters in play during the final Endgame fight sequence, it's easy to understand how one could get lost trying to keep up with who fought who, and for how long. While T'Challa's appearance may have been cut short, he'll have ample opportunity to showcase his skills, of both the diplomatic and ass-kicking varieties, in the upcoming Black Panther sequel. What we're not yet clear on, though, is just what foe or foes he'll be facing down since Wakanda was forced to move on without him.

His situation is complicated by the fact that it's not entirely clear who ascended to the Wakandan throne in his five-year absence. If it was someone close to him, such as his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett), then reclaiming his position as the leader of the African nation won't present too much of a problem — but this, of course, probably won't be the case. 

While we know that M'Baku (Winston Duke) worked out some of his early issues with T'Challa, we don't know whether he'd be keen to simply hand the throne back over to his former rival, for example. It's also possible that someone else among the nation's leaders, like Okoye's (Danai Gurira) disgruntled husband W'Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya), may have ended up on the throne — and, fractious as Wakandan politics can be, it seems more likely than not that T'Challa will have a fight in front of him before he reclaims the title of King.

There's also the matter of the sequel's still-unknown villain. While there have been widely reported rumors that Michael B. Jordan's Erik "Killmonger" Stevens will make a return in Black Panther 2, he's unlikely to be the main antagonist even if the rumors are true (and at this point, Jordan's return is in no way confirmed). Instead, Killmonger may appear on the ancestral plane, the ethereal realm in which T'Challa had a conversation with his deceased father T'Chaka in the first flick.

The rumor mill has also put forth the theory that iconic Marvel antihero Namor, the Sub-Mariner, may make his first appearance in Black Panther 2 — a notion bolstered by a throwaway line in Endgame which may have teased the character. This is also unconfirmed, although we must say that if Namor does indeed show up in T'Challa's second solo outing, it won't be a moment too soon.

In any event, Black Panther may have helped the Avengers defeat Thanos, but we're betting that he'll be facing a crisis of the crown — along with a new, formidable enemy — in his solo sequel. Fans who loved the first film's blistering action sequences and are hungry to see more of Panther's moves will have to wait for a little while; Black Panther 2 is slated to hit theaters on May 6, 2022.