Friday, March 24, 2023

Can I Improve Wakanda Forever? Should I? You Be the Judge!

In the previous "Stuff I Watched" I talked about Black Panther Wakanda Forever, which I really didn't like.  The movie was dealt a bad hand when Chadwick Boseman died and while I agreed that they shouldn't immediately recast the role, what they wound up doing was not great.  Really it wasn't even good.

As always, I think to myself, "Could you do better?"  And because I usually don't need my full brain capacity for doing work at work, I'll roll ideas around in my head to amuse myself.  This is another case of that and I'm sure no one will care, but what the hell, right?

The biggest thing that stuck in my craw after I watched the movie was when I realized there was little to no mention of "the Blip" in the movie.  That was that stupid 5 year period where half the Earth was "dead" thanks to Thanos, which included T'Challa, aka the Black Panther.  As for the rest of Wakanda, I'm not really sure what happened, because there were few mentions of it.  Since Okoye was in Endgame, we know she survived, but I'm not sure about the rest.  Anyway, the point being that there were 5 years where T'Challa was dead, so the premise of the movie that they were all confused and uncertain without T'Challa was pretty dumb as they were without him for 5 full years already!

My thought then is that we need to lean into this.  Which really would have been easier to do if Boseman had lived because they could have made the whole movie about him returning and restoring Wakanda and all that.  Still, seeming to pretend "the Blip" didn't happen doesn't make sense.  We've got to deal with it--thanks Russo Brothers. [eye roll]

The next big decision to make is what do we do with T'Challa?  The actual movie never shows him except in previous footage.  I could see where you don't really want to do that whole CGI deepfake stuff like Disney has done a few times in the Star War franchise.  It seems kind of ghoulish.  And yet just killing him off-screen and showing nothing except previous footage and a coffin seems kind of lame.  And killing him off-screen from an unspecified "illness" also seems lame.

The thing is, since as the Black Panther he wears a full-body costume with a helmet, you wouldn't have even needed all the "deepfake."  Or even to do a lot of trick shots like they did with Harold Ramis's character in Ghostbusters Afterlife.  All you would have needed was someone in the suit, so basically a stuntman, and maybe simulate the voice, which for some reason they didn't even use in previous footage.

So my idea is it's been a few months since "the Blip" and while Wakanda has managed to hold off invaders, things aren't great.  Surrounding countries have been trying raids here and there to get into the country and steal its valuable vibranium.  And with T'Challa and others "dead," it was hard for Wakanda to mount a big offense.

One of the nearby countries (I have no idea what it'd be called) decides to kick things up a notch in part thanks to some "advisors" who provide them with new weapons probably based on alien technology.  They attack a settlement just outside the Wakandan shield and threaten to kill all the women, children, and old people unless they get a specified amount of vibranium.

A group of Wakandan vehicles go outside the shield with the vibranium.  They're led by Okoye.  Meanwhile, the Black Panther sneaks in to try to rescue the hostages.  But things go south and in trying to save a child, T'Challa is hit with one of the new weapons that penetrates his armor and deals a fatal blow.  The Wakandans drive the bad guys off, but the king is dead!

And then you can have the funeral and all that.  Really you can do the above without showing T'Challa's face and barely using his voice.  Maybe a line or two and a grunt or whatever when he's shot.  Then he dies onscreen and in a slightly more heroic fashion in trying to save people.  I think it's better.  Maybe you think different...

From there, Shuri throws herself into investigating her brother's death and blames herself for the armor not protecting him.  Meanwhile, in Langley, Everett Ross starts to uncover evidence that the US is supplying weapons to Wakanda's neighbors to try to get in there and claim the vibranium.

Shuri, Okoye, and Ross then have to work together to find out what's going on and stop the flow of technology.  Meanwhile, the neighboring country steps up its attacks with more alien weapons.  And they probably eventually take down the shield or convince someone to let it down so they can get inside.  The queen is killed and the people have to take refuge in the higher elevations and so on.

Shuri is bummed when she learns her mother has died too.  And Okoye blames herself for not being there.  They find whoever in the US government is supplying the weapons and stop the flow.  Then they have to head back to Wakanda to try to liberate the place.  Along the way, Shuri has a dream and her mother shows up to tell her that she must be the Black Panther now.  When she says she doesn't have that heart-shaped herb, her mother tells her the real strength of the Black Panther is in the heart of the person, not the heart-shaped herb.  And so she makes a suit that's probably more basic than that one in the movie.  And maybe Okoye gets the "Midnight Angel" thing since I guess you need to sell toys, right?  Hell, give Ross some kind of armor too while you're at it.  Toys!

The bad guys are threatening M'Baku and his guys and then Shuri and Okoye show up in their new duds and turn the tide.  Shuri rallies her people to fight back against the bad guys.  Then there's a big battle and they drive the bad guys out and threaten that if the neighboring countries try to get in again, they'll pay bigly for it.  Then Shuri visits the graves or burial places of her family and vows to keep on the Black Panther tradition.

And in cookie scenes you can have Shuri introduce a new suit (to sell more toys of course) and Julia Louise-Dreyfuss or whoever meets with some captured bad guy to have him killed or otherwise silenced.  Or whatever stupid MCU servicing you need to do.  I would not introduce a secret son of T'Challa because that was lame.

Maybe there needs to be more to it to make it 2 1/2 hours but I tried to streamline it.  I suppose if you really want to you could use the underwater place and Namor, but I didn't really like it that much.

So anyway, maybe that's better.  Or maybe it's worse.  You decide!  Or don't. 

(PS:  If you hate this post, you're really going to hate the last 3 before the A to Z Challenge.)

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