The young king awakens, having shared his final words with the king who has fallen.
When Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa awakens from the heart-shaped herb ceremony that brings his consciousness into contact with the other side, he shares a quiet moment afterward with Forest Whitaker’s Zuri, not just the shaman guiding him through this ritual, but a longtime friend of his father’s.
That’s the set-up for this deleted scene from Black Panther, which will be featured when the film debuts on digital May 8 and on the Blu-ray May 15.
The scene begins with joy. Imagine receiving one more moment with someone you loved who is gone forever. “He was there …” T’Challa grins, breathless with happiness.
As anyone who has ever mourned someone can relate, there is comfort in reflecting on the departed person’s stronger days. “My whole life I would watch him, wearing the suit,” T’Challa tells Zuri with a kind of hushed wonder. “He could pick up a grown man with one hand … run as fast as a zebra.”
We also learn how T’Challa came to inhabit the role of Wakanda’s protector even when his father T’Chaka was still alive. “When he told me he was too old to wear the mantle of Panther, he would pass it to me and just be king,” T’Challa says.
Zuri nods. As with everything, there is always another side to the story. “He told me … he was too fat to fit the suit,” Zuri says.
Even in grief, there is room for laughter.