Ryan Coogler Reveals The Original Storyline For Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," as it exists, will absolutely go down as a big hit, especially considering the downright terrible circumstances that the movie was made under. Not only did director Ryan Coogler have to coordinate filming in the midst of a pandemic, but he also had to so without Chadwick Boseman. The actor, who played T'Challa in the original "Black Panther," passed away in 2020, leaving the world without one of its biggest heroes. Coogler and Marvel Studios had to press on without him.

But what might have come of "Wakanda Forever" had Boseman lived to make the movie? In a new interview with the New York Times, Coogler has pulled back to the curtain to reveal the story they originally intended to film. First and foremost, the filmmaker explained that the original idea was to deal with the "Blip" from "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame," whereby Thanos dusted half of all life in the universe, with Earth's Mightiest Heroes bringing everyone back five years later.

"'What are we going to do about the Blip?' That was the challenge. It was absolutely nothing like what we made. 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."

T'Challa and the Blip

As the mid-credits scene in "Wakanda Forever" revealed, T'Challa had actually had a son with Lupita Nyong'o's Nakia. Unfortunately, the Blip took T'Challa away for five years, leaving him unwittingly estranged from his son. That relationship, following his return and in the aftermath of "Endgame," was going to be at the center of the original film. As Coogler explained:

"T'Challa was a dad who'd had this forced five-year absence from his son's life. The first scene was an animated sequence. You hear Nakia talking to [their son] Toussaint. She says, 'Tell me what you know about your father.' You realize that he doesn't know his dad was the Black Panther. He's never met him, and Nakia is remarried to a Haitian dude. Then, we cut to reality and it's the night that everybody comes back from the Blip. You see T'Challa meet the kid for the first time."

The idea of opening with an animated sequence is particularly interesting, as it would have mirrored how the first "Black Panther" opened by showing us an animated history of Wakanda. The fact that Nakia had also remarried certainly would have provided fertile ground for complex character beats and rich storytelling; she and T'Challa were together by the end of the first movie, but after Thanos dusted half the universe no one had any reason to expect that their loved ones would one day return to them.

A father and son save the world

Reckoning with that five-year gap would have merely been the beginning. Coogler went on to explain that he also would have included a further three-year time jump, putting us even further away from the events of "Endgame." At that point, it would become a tale of a father and son saving the world together.

"Then it cuts ahead three years and he's essentially co-parenting. We had some crazy scenes in there for Chad, man. Our code name for the movie was 'Summer Break,' and the movie was about a summer that the kid spends with his dad. For his eighth birthday, they do a ritual where they go out into the bush and have to live off the land. But something happens and T'Challa has to go save the world with his son on his hip. That was the movie."

Aside from that, it was confirmed that Namor still very much would have been the main villain. However, it would have been a bit more complex. "It was a combination," Coogler said. "Val [the C.I.A. director, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus] was much more active. It was basically a three-way conflict between Wakanda, the U.S. and Talokan. But it was all mostly from the child's perspective." It is downright remarkable that Coogler and the team were able to pivot so hard away from these original plans and make something that still, by and large, works on its own.

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is in theaters now.