entertainment

Black Panther writer admits gay romance was cut from film

Critics reported that the film would include LGBT characters after an early screening last year.

2018-02-14

Black Panther is rightly being hailed as a breathrough for black representation in cinema, but it turns out the critically-acclaimed Marvel film narrowly missed an opportunity to show even more diversity on screen.

After an early scene was screened for critics last year, some reports suggested that the superhero movie would be making a breakthrough for the Marvel Universe by touching on LGBT relationships seen in the original World of Wakanda comic book.

The scene reportedly saw a flirtatious exchange between female warriors Okoye (The Walking Dead's Danai Gurira) and Ayo (Captain America: Civil War's Florence Kasumba), but Marvel were quick to deny that the film would portary a same-sex romance.

As Black Panther hits cinemas, breaking box office records in the process, there is no sign of the scene in question, but one of the movie's co-writers has confirmed (in somehwat muddled fashion) that producers did initially toy with the idea of including explicitly LGBT characters.

An early Black Panther scene reportedly say a flirtatious exahcnge between Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba)

"I think the short answer is yes," co-writer Joe Robert Cole told ScreenCrush. "I know that there were quite a few conversations around different things, different directions with different characters, and characters that we may have.

"We thought, ‘Well, maybe we’ll work it this way with an arc or work it that way with an arc.’"

The writer continued: "The scene you’re talking about, I don’t remember. I can’t remember the exact exchange you’re talking about, but I think it was really brief. I’m not sure.

 

"I know that it was not – there wasn’t some major theme through that we were looking to explore with that in terms of the story.  We didn’t like, pull out a full thread of some theme."

Cole added: "But your friend quite possibly could be right, or I’m maybe having a brain fart here and just can’t remember."

It's not the first time Marvel has shied away from addressing a character's comic book sexuality at the last minute.

Last year, actress Tessa Thompson confirmed that a scene in Thor: Ragnorok which touched on the bisexuality of her warrior character Valkyrie was cut from the final edit.

Given the huge financial success of Black Panter and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, here's hoping producers toughen up when it comes to taking the 'risk' of LGBT characters next time around...

Black Panther is in cinemas now.