Black Panther continues to break records and bring in that precious box office money as it reports indicate the movie make another $100 million in its second weekend. The theatrical version of the film runs 2 hours and 15 minutes. However, director Ryan Coogler’s initial cut of the film was four hours long.
Swedish composer Ludwig Goransson who scored Black Panther as well as other Ryan Coogler projects including Fruitvale Station and Creed described the initial cut he received in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
“I remember the first director’s cut was four hours long, but I already had a lot of material written and recorded. So, I actually scored the four-hour cut of the film. Which is really great.”
It’s not hard to imagine some of the parts that were left on the cutting room floor. Probably one of the weaker parts of the film was an explanation of Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger’s knowledge of the current on-goings in Wakanda. How did he know about W’Kabi’s desire to see Ulysses Klaue dead? It did seem like a pretty quick reversal for Killmonger to turn on Klaue so quickly after he just freed him from Martin Freeman’s Everett K. Ross.
Coogler might have also done some more world building in Wakanda. We got to see the Panther tribe and the Jabari, but we didn’t really get to see any of the other three tribes in Wakanda. They were minor players and did not seem to take part in the small civil war that occurs towards the end of the film.
It’s also possible he could have further explored the mystical aspect of Black Panther especially the spiritual plane. In the comics, Djalia plays an important role as it represents Wakanda’s collective memory. Coogler did explore this when both T’Challa and Erik Killmonger take the Heart-Shaped Herb to gain the strength of the Black Panther. It’s possible there could have been a greater connection to the Panther god Bast, who might have seen Killmonger as unworthy of the gift of the Black Panther. It would also lend to reason why T’Challa was able to defeat Killmonger while both were empowered by the Heart-Shaped Herb.
Here’s hoping Marvel Studios releases a Director’s Cut so we can get to see the full four hour vision of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. But even if we don’t it’s more than likely we will get to see some deleted scenes on the Digital HD and Blu-ray releases. Plus, I want to hear the full four hours of Goransson’s score. It was one of the best parts of the film and he apparently went to a library in South Africa and incorporated a number of hard to find instruments into Black Panther.
“I traveled to a library in South Africa called ILAM [International Library of African Music], which has a collection of about 500 different instruments that don’t really exist anymore. To be able to go there, record the instruments and use them in the movie… it was an incredible opportunity.”
I definitely want to hear more of the Black Panther score!
What do you think was left on the cutting room floor?