Editors might very well be the unsung heroes of Hollywood, as even box office phenomenons like Black Panther must be trimmed down before audiences can sink their claws into the final product. Now, thanks to Michael Shawver, who edited the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest hit, we’ve got the inside details on two such scenes that were left on the cutting room floor.
“Hands down the most painful scene to cut was [one] with Danai Gurira and Daniel Kaluuya,” Shawver told The Wrap. In the film, Gurira plays Okoye, the general of Wakanda’s armed forces, while Kaluuya portrays ambassador W’Kabi. By the end of the film, the two find themselves as star-crossed lovers on opposite sides of the movie’s central conflict.
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“Toward the end, after things go bad and Killmonger [Michael B. Jordan] is in control and all that, we’re talking about, what are they going to do?” Shawver continued. “What is Wakanda going to become? Those are two powerhouse actors and it was an incredible scene with so many layers to it — boyfriend and girlfriend, it was general and her advisor, all those things. That was painful [to edit out].”
Shawver added that his primary job as an editor is to “have your finger on the pulse of what the audience is feeling,” and that the sequence had to be removed to refrain from dragging the movie’s second and third acts.
The other sequence that was cut took place earlier in the film’s narrative, but similarly developed dynamics between two characters. One of the strongest bonds in the movie is the one between T’Challa and his mentor Zuri, and a deleted sequence further deepened the connection. “There’s a scene between Chadwick and Forest [Whitaker’s] characters which sets up their relationship,” Shawver recalled. “It sort of lets you attach yourself to their father-son dynamic so that later on in the film … you really feel more.”
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Shawver confirmed that the two deleted scenes, and presumably many more, will be available for viewing when Black Panther hits the home video market.
In theaters now, director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan as N’Jadaka/Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Winston Duke as M’Baku, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Forest Whitaker as Zuri and Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue.