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Why is Daniel Kaluuya not in “Wakanda Forever”?

The following post contains very minor spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Almost the entire supporting cast of Black Panther comes back later, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, to continue the story of Wakanda and pay tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman. Aside from Boseman’s T’Challa, nearly every key character (who wasn’t killed off) from the first film is back for wakanda forever, including Letitia Wright’s Shuri, Angela Bassett’s Ramonda, Winston Duke’s M’Baku, Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia and Danai Gurira’s Okoye. But a key name is not among those returning in this sequel, and the only reference to him is brief and easily missed.

It would be Daniel Kaluuya, who played W’Kabi. In Black Panther, W’Kabi was the leader of the Wakandan border tribe. He is a trusted friend and advisor to T’Challa, and the lover of Okoye, the leader of the all-female military unit Dora Milaje.

Although W’Kabi is initially close to T’Challa, he is disappointed in his leadership after failing to capture Ulysses Klaue, a mercenary who stole vibranium from Wakanda years earlier, killing many Wakandans – including parents. of W’Kabi – in the process. When T’Challa tries to apprehend Klaue and returns to Wakanda empty-handed, W’Kabi is furious. When Killmonger shows up with a dead Klaue, W’Kabi welcomes him to Wakanda with open arms. And when Killmonger defeats T’Challa for control of Wakanda, he supports Killmonger’s claim to the throne.

When T’Challa returns in the film’s climax, W’Kabi remains loyal to Killmonger and leads the Border Tribe soldiers’ charge against the former (and future) king. When Okoye and Dora Milaje end up supporting T’Challa, she and W’Kabi find themselves on opposite sides of the battle – until W’Kabi decides he’d rather surrender than kill his property. -loved.

This is the last time we see W’Kabi in Black Panther. As wakanda forever begins, T’Challa has just died and his loved ones lead Wakanda in a massive funeral procession. W’Kabi is nowhere to be found and he never appears in the rest of the film – but he is briefly mentioned later, in the scene where Queen Ramonda confronts Okoye about her failure on an important mission.

Ramonda berates Okoye for messing up her mission and in her anger observes that while her husband is dead (it would be King T’Chaka, T’Challa’s father, who was killed by Zemo in Captain America: Civil War), Okoye’s husband is still alive in prison, where she can visit him. (This is the first time we’ve heard of Okoye and W’Kabi being husband and wife; the previous film didn’t detail the details of their relationship.) So we never see W’Kabi in the film because he’s in a Wakandan prison. all the time – which makes some sense. He supported Killmonger against T’Challa, who later became king again. By most measures, these are acts of treason.

It’s a reasonable explanation for W’Kabi’s absence from the story, but in truth, there were off-screen reasons behind Kaluuya’s departure. He was busy shooting Jordan Peele Nope (a main role, instead of being a relatively minor supporting player) while wakanda forever was in production. He could not do both, and therefore does not appear in the Black Panther after. (We also wonder if Kaluuya winning the Best Actor Oscar between the two films has anything to do with his departure.)

But wakanda forever makes it clear that W’Kabi is not dead. He’s somewhere in a prison in Wakandan, just waiting for a sequel that doesn’t conflict with his actor’s busy filming schedule. Maybe he will come back black panther 3or the rumored Wakanda Disney+ series.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in theaters now.

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