Last year’s Avengers: Endgame featured a large ensemble of heroes, villains and everyone in between from across the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even more so than Avengers: Infinity War in 2018. But with so many players involved, needless to say that not everyone was going to be on camera for a significant amount of time. In the case of Winston Duke’s M’Baku, he could only be briefly seen in Endgame’s final battle.
As it turns out though, Winston Duke could have had much more screen time in Avengers: Endgame, but those extra scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. The actor explained:
The raw footage was just so long with everyone that my stuff didn’t make it in. I filmed so much fighting for it, and I was really bummed to not see any of it in the movie. I did so many fighting scenes in Endgame during that final battle… It was really cool. Marvel knows what they’re doing, and it all leads to the best product. So, I am happy; I was just very disappointed that nobody got to see all the stuff I was doing.
So while it sounds like M’Baku still would have only participated in Avengers: Endgame’s climactic conflict, which saw the Avengers and their allies clashing with Thanos and his army, at least we would have been treated to more shots of him in action. Not that it wasn’t already clear that M’Baku bravely faced down The Mad Titan’s forces, as he could be seen alongside the likes of Black Panther, Captain America, Hulk and more charging into battle.
Nevertheless, with so many moving pieces in Avengers: Endgame’s final battle, it’s understandable why M’Baku’s extra fight scenes were cut, which Winston Duke acknowledged when speaking with THR. While Endgame’s home release has come and gone, maybe there’ll be an opportunity down the line for those deleted M’Baku scenes to be shown to the public, like how the scene of Tony Stark seeing his daughter Morgan as a teenager within the Soul Stone was thrown onto Disney+.
Introduced in Black Panther, Winston Duke’s M’Baku, the leader of Wakanda’s Jabari Tribe, was initially shown in an antagonistic light, as he didn’t feel that T’Challa was worthy of leading the African nation and challenged him for the crown in ritual combat. T’Challa emerged victorious, though rather than kill him opponent, the king of Wakanda persuaded M’Baku to yield.
Later in the movie, M’Baku became an unexpected ally to T’Challa after he was overthrown by Killmonger. Granted, he was initially unwilling to help T’Challa take back his throne, but M’Baku and the rest of the Jabari eventually provided some much-needed assistance at the last minute against Killmonger’s forces. M’Baku returned in Avengers: Infinity War to fight alongside Wakanda’s warriors and the Avengers against Thanos’ hordes, and he was among the half of the universe that survived The Snap.
It hasn’t been announced yet if/when M’Baku will be seen in the MCU again, but one would imagine he’ll return in Black Panther 2. However, Winston Duke is game for M’Baku being the villain this time around, as his character is usually depicted in the comics.