Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) had to be the first person to return from the dead in Avengers: Endgame, and directors Joe and Anthony Russo explain why. Fresh off his smash hit solo outing directed by Ryan Coogler, T’Challa was among the unfortunate half of the universe affected by Thanos’ (Josh Brolin ) snap in Avengers: Infinity War. Fans always knew that he’d return, but according to the filmmakers, he needed to be at the forefront of all the dead heroes coming back to help the remaining Avengers with the fight against the Mad Titan.
Debuting in Captain America: Civil War, the King of Wakanda was quickly a hit with fans. His unique origins, coupled with his fascinating homeworld became the main selling points of his own solo film, but Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole also crafted a socially and culturally-relevant narrative that resonated with a lot of people. Black Panther squashed long-existing industry myths about people of colour-led films not performing well at the box office, and the movie was well-loved across the board. It made sense for T’Challa to be the first person out of the portal considering his current popularity, but the decision, as the Endgame directors explain, stemmed from the narrative.
The Russos recently hosted a Q&A on Reddit (via CBR) and revealed that it was deliberate on their part to have T’Challa, Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Shuri (Letitia Wright) return first via Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) portals in Endgame. Joe explained that while they always wanted Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) to be the first person to reach out to Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Panther was the first person to emerge considering that Infinity War’s battle was set in Wakanda.
“We spent a lot of time in the edit room playing around with the sequencing of the portals. We probably didn’t lock that section of the movie until about a month before the film was in theaters. We always wanted Sam [Wilson] to be the first one to communicate with Cap via his comm and Sam was last in Wakanda, so logically the first portal that would open would the Wakandan portal. And the first person that would logically walk through a portal from Wakanda would be the king himself, bringing his army once again to the defense of Cap and the world.
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