Ryan Coogler opens up about alternate ending to ‘Black Panther’

Ryan Cooler thegrio.com
Director Ryan Coogler attends the ‘Black Panther’ BFI preview screening held at BFI Southbank in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

One of the post-credit scenes in Black Panther was almost the official end of the movie instead.

On the Empire Film Podcast podcast, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler admitted that a scene that was pushed to the post-credits was almost the ending. If you haven’t seen the movie, then spoilers follow:

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The post-credit scene shows T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) speaking to the United Nations as he prepares to open up Wakanda’s knowledge and resources to the rest of the world. This is a momentous decision for T’Challa, since the fictional African nation had until then closed off its borders to all outsiders.

But the actual ending of the movie isn’t in front of a worldwide audience at the United Nations. Instead, it’s a much more intimate moment between T’Challa and a young man in Oakland, California.

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In that scene, T’Challa and his sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), go to California to set up Wakanda’s first outreach center at the site of a pivotal moment in their family’s lives. At that California neighborhood, their father murdered their uncle, setting in motion the events that led to the villain Killmonger’s actions.

While most of the kids in Oakland are in awe over the technology that Shuri shows off in that scene, one kid is in awe of T’Challa himself, and that’s the ending Coogler decided to go with.

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Why end in Oakland?

Speaking of the post-credits United Nations scene, Coogler said, “It was (almost the ending). We played with a lot of different ways to end it. We went back and forth about the U.N., and we had a version where it was the U.N. before the scenes in Oakland at the end.”

“But we really kind of settled on how do we want the movie to end? And it came back to that symmetry, and it came back to the most moving version of it. That’s what we were asking ourselves, ‘Who’s more moved emotionally, that kid or the people sitting in the U.N.?’ Who is that a bigger deal to for T’Challa to walk in, who’s more connected to him?” he said.

He went on to explain, “As a kid, growing up, when you see somebody who looks like an older version of you doing something awesome, it’s like, ‘What’s going on?’ That’s kind of what that moment… We kind of went with the less distilled emotion, and the U.N. makes sense afterwards for where Wakanda could be going in the future of this universe.”

If you’ve seen the movie, then you know how impactful that moment is. It’s an excellent ending to a phenomenal movie and speaks to the power Black Panther has culturally in addition to reflecting T’Challa’s journey in the film itself.

Black Panther is in theaters now.