Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Was 4.5 Hours Long Originally. Now, Editor Shares What Got Cut

Letitia Wright as Shuri in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is always expanding, and Phase Four has been no exception. As various Phase Four projects were arriving on the small and silver screens, perhaps the most highly anticipated upcoming Marvel movie of the group was Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The epic meditation on grief clocked in at 161 minutes, but it was nearly 4.5 hours long during the post-production process. And Black Panther 2 editor Michael P. Shawver recently shared what got cut during this time.

Given the insane popularity of comic book movies, it’s commonplace for filmmakers to shoot additional scenes that never make it into the theatrical cut. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is no exception, especially considering just how much narrative ground Ryan Coogler’s sequel had to cover throughout its runtime. Michael P. Shawver recently spoke to Syfy about some of the content that was left on the cutting room floor. This includes more scenes with Letitia Wright’s Shuri and Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams. As he shared:

There were big parts that we we had to take out before anyone else saw the movie. They're both very unique in terms [of them being] two of the most brilliant minds in the MCU and having them relate was important. But the movie needed to move, the pacing needed to move, we needed to get [Shuri] back to her mom. We ended up just figuring out later that, ‘Let’s incorporate [Riri] more into the plan of capturing Namor.

Some serious points were made. Because Black Panther: Wakanda Forever had so many characters to service, including the introduction of Namor and the Talokan, finding the right pacing was key for Ryan Coogler, Michael P. Shawver, and company. Audiences will likely agree that the movie’s pacing ended up working out well, but that’s only because certain sequences were cut entirely– including more of Riri and Shuri bonding in captivity. 

Dominique Thorne made her MCU debut in Black Panther 2 as Riri Williams/Ironheart, and was a scene stealer throughout the long-awaited sequel. But it looks like we could have gotten more scenes with her after being kidnapped by the Talokan. Instead her bond with Shuri was cemented in the third act when they concocted a plan to capture Namor, and Riri developed some epic vibranium-powered armor.

Later in his same interview, Michael P. Shawver spoke about another deleted scene. While he was careful not to reveal too much, it turns out that we could have gotten a confrontation with Danai Gurira’s Okoye and the rest of the Dora Milaje. As he shared:

I feel okay talking about the scene because there's a shot the first trailer from it, where Okoye has her spear up and the Dora put their spears up to her. I won't say what happens in case [it's part of the] deleted scenes [on the home release], but it was really cool. It was Wakanda at night, you saw the cityscape late at night, you saw this former general facing off against her sisters.

My FOMO is through the roof right now. Seeing Okoye stripped of her title as General of the Dora Milaje was heartbreaking, although she would eventually become a Midnight Angel alongside Michaela Coel’s Aneka. I personally thought that the Aneka/Ayo plotline came kind of out of nowhere, but perhaps this cut sequence would have helped to flesh it out better. We’ll just have to see if/when the deleted scenes are released to the public.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is still in theaters now, and remains at #1 at the box office. Be sure to check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year. We’ll just have to wait and see when the characters from Wakanda reappear in the MCU– especially after that emotional mid-credits scene.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.