With a running time approaching three hours, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is not a movie that lacks for content. However, with an earlier cut that exceeded four hours, not everything could stay in. Indeed, not everything initially worked as well. In an interview with Newsweek, editor Michael P. Shawver discussed some of the cuts and changes made before the final cut. Most significantly, the way Riri (Dominque Thorne) and Shuri (Letitia Wright) bonded occurred quite differently.
“There was a subplot in it where Shuri and Riri work together to help Namor do something in Talokan, and it was the vessel for Shuri and Riri to bond and to feel their smart scientists’ connection that they have, which we were able to implement later in the movie with reshoots,” Shawver says. “When we took that section out that solved one problem, but then came several other issues because then we felt like Riri wasn’t as involved in the story in the movie.” He solved the issue by having Riri and Shuri plan to defeat Namor later in the film, which then necessitated giving Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) more to do in the film’s mid-section.
Shawver also teased bigger hints of a Shuri-Namor romantic chemistry that ultimately, the movie did not lean into. He felt it would devalue Shuri somewhat as a leader, saying, “you’ve got to watch out for portraying, for example, Shuri flirting to get what she wants as opposed to being a diplomatic leader and becoming the leader that she needs to be, that she’ll get to at the end. So what we ultimately focused on was Namor’s line where he says ‘only the most damaged people can be truly great leaders’, and that’s planting the seed of the shared trauma that she realizes at the end.”
Additionally, the editor revealed the way the film’s tributes to the late Chadwick Boseman changed, focusing on quiet moments rather than a lot of audio exposition. “Ramonda says, ‘I could feel him, his hand was on my shoulder and I could feel him in the breeze.’ And [I thought] that’s sort of how we’ve felt making this movie, that Chadwick was with us, and so I was like, ‘well, let’s put a breeze there. Let’s put a wind down there, so it’s a moment of silence but you hear it’ but you don’t have any idea why it’s like that.”
Would you have liked more hints at Namor-Shuri sparks? Let us know in comments below!
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