As expected, Black Panther has taken the world by storm. The movie is breaking records and has topped the box office for weeks. It’s doing so well and not only it is a Marvel movie, but it’s also a movie with extraordinary of representation for black people worldwide. On top of that, it’s one of the best actual movies in the MCU. Director Ryan Coogler put together an amazing film with a plethora of fun and layered characters, exceptional world building, a tight and well paced plot, and one of the best villains to ever feature in a comic book movie. Black Panther is a movie that will be remembered for many years to come, and for good reason.
Seeing as it was one of the most anticipated movies of the year, it’s a given that MCU fans would come up with countless fan theories about the movie. Now that the movie is out, we’ve seen that some people were right on the money and others were way off. However, it’s hard not to wonder how some of these theories that weren’t implemented would have affected the movie. With that in mind, here’s 8 fan theories that would’ve made Black Panther better (and 7 that would've ruined it).
15 BETTER: THE SOUL STONE IS IN WAKANDA
The whereabouts of the Infinity Stones have occupied the minds of MCU fans ever since the introduction of Thanos in the post credits scene of The Avengers. Throughout the many movies since then, people have theorized about which objects were Infinity Stones and where the next ones would be. The only one that has eluded fans all of this time has been the Soul Stone and many fans believed that it would’ve been found in Wakanda.
However, the Soul Stone was never mentioned during Black Panther and it appears that it’ll be found elsewhere. But having the Soul Stone be found in Wakanda would link Wakanda and Black Panther to the ongoing narrative of the MCU while still focusing on the country itself. It would also explain the supernatural phenomena found in Wakanda.
14 WORSE: ULYSSES KLAUE IS THE MAIN VILLAIN
Reports had been circulating for quite some time before Black Panther’s release stating that Ulysses Klaue had been set up as the main villain. These assumptions were due to the time spent developing him in Avengers: Age of Ultron and because of a clip shown at San Diego Comic-Con. People assumed that Klaue would be pulling the strings behind the scenes while Killmonger provided the muscle.
Luckily, what we got was a much more personal tale with Killmonger actually being linked to the royal family and being a dark reflection of T’Challa whose viewpoints were polar opposite of T’Challa’s. This made for a much better movie that allowed us to see T’Challa grow into the king we know he can be from the comic books. He needed this internal challenge in order to figure out who he is and break away from the traditions of his former kings.
13 BETTER: THE BLACK ORDER IS IN THE POST CREDITS SCENE
Of course part of the fun of every Marvel movie is waiting with a bated breath to see the post credits scenes. Not only do people just wait after 15 minutes of credits to see on or two additional scenes, they also like to theorize what those scenes may be. MCU fans theorized that, like the Infinity comic book event, the post credits scene would feature Black Panther and Wakanda facing off against the forces of Thanos.
This would’ve been another way to link Wakanda to the wider MCU in a way that didn’t overshadow the focus of the movie. Imagine seeing T’Challa, backed up by the Wakandan army, facing off against the Black Order. After seeing such a display of Wakandan might during the movie, teasing the audience with a scene such as this would’ve been even better than Thor: Ragnarok’s post credits scene.
12 WORSE: BUCKY PARTICIPATES IN THE MOVIE
With the post credits scene of Captain America: Civil War revealing that Bucky is hiding away in Wakanda, people were going to wonder if he’ll appear in the movie or not. The rumor mill started spinning quickly and the rumor began started that not only wil he appear but that he’ll participate in the film’s climax.
It was good that the movie acknowledged Bucky’s presence in Wakanda during the post credits scene, but this movie was about Wakanda. The battle for her did not need any outsiders taking an active role in it. The movie was about two opposing forces disagreeing on how best to run this technological marvel of a country. The main tagline of this movie was “Wakanda Forever”. There’s no reason to have an assassin with no real allegiance to the country participating in the battle for her soul.
11 BETTER: SHURI WILL BE SET UP AS A FUTURE HERO
Letitia Wright’s Shuri was one of the surprising standout characters in the movie. Wright isn't a well known actor but her performance as T’Challa’s younger sister was so believable and layered. She was devilishly intelligent, mischievous, and progressive but also driven, loyal, and willing to fight for her brother and her country without a second thought. She has all the makings of a hero already, which ensured that MCU fans were drooling at the theory that she would be set up as a hero by the end of the movie.
Unfortunately, it didn't happen. She may have been a fully realized standout character, but nothing indicated that she'd be elevated from a supporting role to a main character. In the comics, she eventually became the Black Panther and Queen of Wakanda, which lent even more credence to the theory. But unfortunately, it hasn't materialized yet.
10 WORSE: TONY STARK GETS WAKANDAN TECH
Tony Stark is an ever present force throughout the MCU. With Tony’s new Iron Man suit operating much like Black Panther’s Vibranium suit, people began to believe that Tony Stark managed to get his hands on Vibranium and Wakandan tech sometimes during the events of the movie.
This just wouldn't sit well with this movie specifically. Black Panther does a whole lot to empower Wakanda. It’s a country that would not allow somebody to gain access to their resources if they didn’t want them to. Having Tony Stark get his hands on Vibranium would undercut Wakanda’s strength and technological superiority to the rest of the world. Shuri has been confirmed to be the smartest person in the world, so even with Iron Man’s intelligence, he wouldn’t be able to get ahold of Vibranium until T’Challa opened up Wakanda’s resources to the world.
9 BETTER: ULYSSES KLAUE WILL SURVIVE
One of the only negative things to come of this movie would be the death of Killmonger and Ulysses Klaue. To be fair, Killmonger’s death was really the only logical end to his arc. He and T’Challa were two forces that could not exist at the same time. However, he was such an amazing villain that we still wanted to see more of him. But Ulysses Klaue, however, did not have the same narrative destiny that Killmonger did.
Many people theorized that Klaue would survive the events of the movie to turn up again in a sequel and that would've been preferable to killing him off. Andy Serkis obviously had a tremendous time playing him and his manic presence on screen was enjoyable to all. On top of that, he had an antagonistic relationship with T’Challa and the Wakandans that would've been fun to explore.
8 WORSE: IT WILL REVOLVE AROUND BUCKY
The post credits scenes from the end of Captain America: Civil War came with the revelation that Bucky Barnes was going to be sheltered in Wakanda in order to remove his Winter Soldier programming him and protect him from those trying to capture him. This made fans assume that Bucky’s presence in Wakanda would be an important plot point. A particular fan theory believed that the movie would revolve around certain Wakandans disagreeing with housing Bucky in their country
This wouldn’t have been a bad thing to include in the movie as it would’ve spoken to T’Challa’s philosophy and how it conflicts with the viewpoints of some of the more traditional Wakandans. However, the movie was paced perfectly. You don’t realize that the movie is two hours and 20 minutes long because no moment or sequence overstays its welcome. Throwing in another subplot would’ve disrupted that.
7 BETTER: KILLMONGER AND FRANK CASTLE WORKED TOGETHER
When Entertainment Weekly did their Black Panther issue and revealed some of Killmonger’s backstory, fans immediately linked it to another Marvel property. Killmonger grew up in America and joined a CIA Special Ops team designed to destabilize nations. According to Netflix’s The Punisher, that Frank Castle was also a part of a secret CIA program and a fan theory wondered if they had known each other.
However, it’s revealed in the movie that Killmonger was a part of a JSOC Ghost unit that knew exactly what they were doing while Castle was a member of Operation Cerberus and didn’t know the purpose of their operation, meaning they never worked together. Leaving this possibility open would’ve been one of the slickest ways to safely connect Black Panther to the rest of the MCU. On top of that, it would've connected Marvel’s television shows to the rest of the MCU as well.
6 WORSE: CAPTAIN AMERICA PARTICIPATES IN THE MOVIE
For many of the same reasons that people assumed that Bucky would be involved, they also believed that Captain America would appear in the movie and get involved somehow. In Captain America: Civil War, it’s believed that him and T’Challa have an understanding and respect for one another as they fought as equals during Civil War. On top of that, Captain America would owe T’Challa a favor for taking in Bucky.
But, also for many of the same reasons as Bucky, he definitely should not have been included in the movie. He may not be an assassin, but he doesn’t have a horse in this race. This was a movie about a Wakandan revolt that needed to be resolved by the people of Wakanda. All thematic importance of the movie would’ve been negated by a third party coming in and intervening in this matter.
5 BETTER: NECROPOLIS WILL FEATURE IN THE MOVIE
Black Panther did an amazing job touching on many aspects of the comic book lore of Wakanda and adapting them to the MCU. However, Wakanda has so many different fantastical elements to it that it’s impossible to cover in one movie. However, one aspect that would’ve been an amazing addition is Necropolis, Wakanda’s City of the Dead.
Many people predicted that Necropolis would make its way into the movie, perhaps as the place where the Soul Stone is housed. Unfortunately, it didn’t appear but it would’ve made Wakanda an even more amazing place and give the Wakandans a place to go try to commune with their ancestors. Wakanda was already a place steeped in tradition. The possibilities that Necropolis would’ve provided towards that would be amazing.
4 WORSE: BLACK PANTHER WILL BE LIKE JAMES BOND
During Black Panther, there is a sequence set in North Korea that shows T’Challa, Nakia, and Okoye on a covert mission to capture Ulysses Klaue. This scene was shown during San Diego Comic-Con and got many people thinking that the movie would be similar to a James Bond movie with T’Challa being a covert operative/king of a very secretive country.
The James Bond-esque scenes were certainly entertaining and future movies could definitely benefit from exploring this concept more, but it was important that T’Challa’s first movie establish who he is as a man, king, and hero. That could only happen with a story that was this personal and this connected to his homeland. On top of that, establishing Wakanda and the major players within it is important to showing how it fits in the wider MCU.
3 BETTER: THE SOUL STONE IS HOW WAKANDA CONNECTS TO THE DEAD
This theory was just another way to connect Black Panther to the rest of the MCU and drive the universe’s narrative forward. Wakandans are very connected with the afterlife to the point that they can visit it and commune with the dead. It would make a lot of sense if this ability came from the residual energy of the Soul Stone, which possesses similar abilities.
However, again, the movie made no mention of the Soul Stone. T’Challa and Killmonger were only able to enter the afterlife when they ingested the Heart-Shaped Herb. On top of that, Ryan Coogler explained that the Wakandans’ Macguffin was Vibranium and Marvel hadn't been interested in introducing another such as an infinity stone. This is as close to confirmation as we'll get that the Soul Stone is elsewhere.
2 WORSE: KILLMONGER IS T’CHALLA’S HALF BROTHER
In the comics, Erik Killmonger has no familial relations to T’Challa or the royal family. He's just an angry outcast Wakandan who challenges T’Challa’s rule. But since the MCU has taken creative liberties with Marvel characters before, many fans theorized that Killmonger would be T’Challa’s half brother in a twist on Hamlet.
However, what we ended up getting was better for T’Chaka. The twist of having T"Chaka kill his brother and abandon his nephew for the good of Wakanda fit the theme of men doing what they thought was best for their people. If Killmonger was T’Challa’s half brother then that paints T’Chaka as both an adulterer and someone who abandoned his own son. This would make him far more despicable and wouldn't fit in the overall theme of the movie.
1 BETTER: M’BAKU WILL BE SET UP AS A VILLAIN FOR A SEQUEL
In the Black Panther comics, M’Baku is also known as the Man-Ape and is a recurring foe of Black Panther. He’s one of the greatest warriors in Wakanda, second only to T’Challa, and possesses superhuman strength gained from killing a rare white gorilla, bathing in its flesh, and consuming its flesh (yikes). Traditionally, M’Baku is a villainous character who has tried many times to usurp the throne from T’Challa.
Many comic book fans assumed that M’Baku would take a similar path in the movie. However, though he’s an antagonistic force at the beginning of the movie, he’s not an outright villain and even helps T’Challa at the end. However, with Klaue and Killmonger both dead, it would’ve been more beneficial to show hints of him eventually following the path his comic book counterpart in order to give T’Challa an additional villain to work with in the Black Panther sequel.