Warning: Major spoilers to follow for Avengers: Infinity War!
Before Avengers: Infinity War hit theaters, most fans were anticipating that some of the MCU's most beloved heroes might fall in battle. But few of us were prepared for just how far the film would go, wiping out half the universe and our heroes with a snap of the fingers. Along with Peter Parker, the most jarring of those deaths was probably T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman). The Wakandan king's solo debut had just set box office records a few months ago after all. Yet the decision to turn the character to dust was made long before Black Panther. At the time, Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore urged the Russo Brothers to reconsider, as he explained:
I knew pretty well what they were talking about, and personally urged them to reconsider. But the storytelling made sense, so I love that we got to see a little bit more of Wakanda in that film, and I hope to see how they're going to resolve that.
It reflects well on Marvel Studios and Disney at large that the Russo Brothers were able to make their case for why the story demanded that T'Challa die and they were heard. Nate Moore's urging that T'Challa survive came even before the success of Black Panther, so perhaps he just really wanted the character and Wakanda to have a longer tenure in the MCU and maybe at that time it wasn't clear if or how T'Challa would be coming back. Although Nate Moore didn't specify to The Huffington Post the Russo Brother's exact reasoning as to why the character had to die in Infinity War, he did imply that they had some strong justification for the decision.
What that reasoning is, we can only speculate at this point, with Avengers 4 such a mystery. That the Russo Brothers stood their ground on this matter though is telling that it is at least somewhat important. Given who died and who survived, it definitely appears that Avengers 4 is set up to be something of a swan song for the original Avengers team that came together in the 2012 film so characters like Black Panther might not be featured as prominently. It is also possible that T'Challa's death changes the path of Wakanda, affecting the world at large or that the Black Panther mantle is passed to someone else while he is gone.
Of course, we all know that T'Challa is not permanently gone. If Black Panther 2 was ever a question mark before the first film came out, it is just about the most certain thing we can count on for sure in Phase 4 after Black Panther's performance this year. The character is now one of the MCU's most popular and his sequel film is inevitable and thus T'Challa, like Peter Parker, will not stay dead long. Even knowing this, T'Challa's death was still shocking in the film because of the popularity of the character. This ending has meaning because while we know that the king will return, we still feel sadness for the pain of those left behind who imagine him gone for good, like Nakia and Okoye, and possibly Shuri.
You can see how it all shakes out and why it was important that T'Challa die when Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3, 2019. For all the latest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, keep it locked to CinemaBlend.