Black Panther: Wakanda Forever featured the return of many MCU characters, but the absence of a key Wakandan played by Daniel Kaluuya was apparent. Now, a special look at the scrapped design of Kaluuya's W'Kabi has been revealed via new concept art.
Ahead of Black Panther 2's premiere last year, Kaluuya confirmed that he would not return in the sequel due to scheduling conflicts. The Nope actor shared that he's at peace that he didn't come back, noting that "it's what's best for the story, what's best for the film."
Black Panther 2 director Ryan Coogler explained that W'Kabi is "basically banished," with the sequel addressing his disappearance with "one line that refers to him still being alive."
But now, fans have gotten a peek at what could have been.
Black Panther 2 Reveals Daniel Kaluuya's Scrapped Role
Marvel concept artist Niek Schlosser revealed what Daniel Kaluuya would've looked like as W'Kabi in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
The visual artist reflected on his scrapped design for Kaluuya's MCU character, but he made peace with it by citing Jordan Peele's Nope as a "great film:"
"Redesign of Wkabi's costume made for Wakanda Forever, sadly never made it in, but Nope was a great film."
Schlosser redesigned W'Kabi's costume from the first movie, with the shoulder pauldron being integrated into his arm and armor plating:
A closer look at W'Kabi's scrapped look in Black Panther 2 showed a sleeker design:
In Wakanda Forever, Queen Ramonda revealed that W'Kabi is in exile, telling Okoye that she could go and visit her husband if she wishes to. This was during her passionate speech after losing Shuri and stripping Okoye of her title as the Dora Milaje's leader:
Will Daniel Kaluuya Return in Black Panther 3?
Niek Schlosser's scrapped design for Daniel Kaluuya's W'Kabi confirmed that his wardrobe would've been still the same even though he is exiled from Wakanda. Despite that, it's possible that W'Kabi was stripped of the power of the Border tribe's vibranium-based capes.
It is unknown if Black Panther 3 will be announced by Marvel Studios, but there is more story to tell. It remains to be seen if W'Kabi will be part of the Black Panther franchise's future, but his thirst for revenge could be a notable storytelling tool that the threequel could utilize.
Moreover, multiple Black Panther Disney+ spin-offs in developments could pave the way for W'Kabi's return. Given that one of those projects will be focused on Danai Gurira's Okoye, Kaluuya's exiled Wakandan may come into play once again, potentially as one of its villains.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will premiere on Disney+ on Wednesday, February 1.