Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Scrapped Shuri and Riri's Iron Man-Inspired Storyline
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's Dominique Thorne recently opened up about the film's scrapped Shuri and Riri Williams subplot, revealing its similarities to a pivotal sequence in 2008's Iron Man.
Thorne discussed the deleted scenes, in which Riri and Shuri bond while being held captive in a cave, during an interview with The Direct. "[Shuri and Riri are] working on this thing for [Namor and the Talokanil] that they say they'll give them in exchange for their life," she said. "But all the while, [they're] sort of siphoning off materials and supplies to rig their own distraction and get out of there. And while they're doing that, just sort of talking about life experiences." This is not unlike the scenes between Tony Stark and Ho Yinsen in Iron Man during which the pair forges a close connection while plotting their escape from the Ten Rings' cave headquarters.
The Shuri/Riri subplot was one of several aspects of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's story retooled or even excised entirely over the course of production. That said, the most drastic changes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster were made early in pre-production, following the untimely death of star Chadwick Boseman. The tragedy meant overhauling the film's plot to write out Boseman's character (and original franchise protagonist) T'Challa was necessary, which in turn meant devoting less time to the supporting cast. This included Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, whom co-writer and director Ryan Coogler recently confirmed played a bigger role in the original Wakanda Forever script.
Ryan Coogler On Black Panther 2's Original Script
Coogler also explained that had Boseman lived to reprise the T'Challa role, the Black Panther sequel would've focussed on T'Challa's relationship with his son, Toussaint. "It was going to be a father-son story from the perspective of a father because the first movie had been a father-son story from the perspective of the sons," he said. Coogler added that due to the events of Avengers: Infinity War, T'Challa would've missed the first five years of Toussaint's life. "You realize that [Toussaint] doesn't know his dad was the Black Panther. He's never met him, and [Toussaint's mother] Nakia is remarried to a Haitian dude," Coogler said.
Ultimately, this didn't come to pass, and Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole revamped Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to focus on the relationship between Shuri and her mother, Ramonda. In a recent interview, producer Nate Moore noted that this was a "natural" direction for the story to take, given Shuri and Ramonda's attachment to T'Challa.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in theaters now, and will debut on Disney+ on Feb. 22, 2023.
Source: The Direct