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Wakanda Is Crucial in Avengers 4, According to the Russo Brothers

Joe and Anthony Russo, the directing duo responsible for a good amount of joy, grief, denial, and anger in my life, sat down to discuss every single hero in Avengers: Infinity War. What they had to say about Black Panther jumped out from the pack.

As much as I might disagree with some of the Russos’ creative choices, there’s no denying that these guys are smart directors who have thought a lot about their enormous cast of Infinity War characters. They sat down to chat with WIRED as part of the promotion for the movie’s Blu-Ray release, and it’s interesting to watch them talk their way through the pantheon.

They run through what they like about each hero, the character’s motivations, and how their arc ties into the Infinity War whole. They also appear to communicate with one another on a near-telepathic level. It’s a good watch if you’re an Avengers fan and want to peek behind the curtain into the mindset of how the folks at the top are looking at our favorites.

When the Russos reach Black Panther (at 7:30 on the video above), here’s what’s said of T’Challa:

“Black Panther as a character has tremendous potential in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” says Joe Russo. “And I think Wakanda is essential to whatever may happen post-Avengers: Infinity War to how the world may deal with what has happened to them.”

This is an incredibly telling pull-quote for me, because the Russos also directed Avengers 4: We Still Don’t Know the Title of This Thing Because Kevin Feige Lives to Torment Us but Maybe It’s ‘Endgame.’

Joe Russo isn’t speculating—if he says that Wakanda is essential to what happens post-Infinity War, with how the world grapples with the Snap, it’s because he knows and directed the plot of what’s coming post-Infinity War.

While it’s clear, as Honest Trailers so recently pointed out, that Marvel had no idea what a phenomenon Black Panther would go on to be when Infinity War was filmed (else they would have utilized T’Challa all the more), the studio has been positioning Wakanda to become the new center of its cinematic universe for a while. So it’s not surprising that Wakanda will prove to be critical in the, erm, endgame—but we hadn’t had such a clear confirmation before.

We know that our lady of perpetual brilliance Shuri—the Russos describe her here as the smartest character in the MCU—survived the Snap, as did General Okoye, M’Baku, and Shuri’s mother, Ramonda. Many of us would love to see Shuri don the Black Panther mantle herself, and she may take a lead role in governing Wakanda.

If I were a betting person, I’d say that the Quantum Realm tech we saw developed in Ant-Man and The Wasp will be brought to Wakanda, where Shuri and her team would likely be able to stabilize and utilize it to a) maybe rescue Scott Lang b) figure out a way to use the Realm to travel around in time. Avengers 4 is being teased as exploring all kinds of reality-bending situations, and there doesn’t seem to be a better base on Earth to ground the Quantum Realm than in the technologically advanced Wakanda.

If you’re interested in hearing more about what the Russos had to say regarding individual characters, commenter Ricardo Pereira broke them down on YouTube:

Each hero’s part: Iron Man – 0:12 Thor – 1:05 Hulk – 2:22 Captain America – 3:08 Black Widow – 3:52 War Machine – 4:56 Doctor Strange – 5:29 Spider-Man – 6:44 Black Panther – 7:31 Gamora – 8:24 Nebula – 9:04 Loki – 9:32 Vision – 9:53 Scarlet Witch – 11:04 Falcon – 11:56 Winter Soldier – 12:17 Heimdall – 13:00 Okoye – 13:22 Eitri – 13:38 Wong – 14:12 Mantis – 14:34 Drax – 15:00 Groot – 15:33 Rocket Raccoon – 16:11 Star-Lord – 17:03 Shuri – 17:44 Ayo – 18:00 Nick Fury – 18:19 Maria Hill – 18:38

(image: Marvel Studios)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.