There was an interesting real-world subplot that developed last week when the “Avengers: Endgame” trailer dropped. Marvel Studios also released a poster for the film, and every actor whose character was featured got their name listed at the top, save one: Danai Gurira, who plays the Wakandan warrior Okoye from “Black Panther.”
This bit of info understandably irked some folks — Okoye is a great character and Gurira is awesome in the role. So it made perfect sense to question why her name was left off the top of the poster if her face was important enough to be included on the thing in the first place.
Disney quickly put out an updated version of the post with Gurira’s name on it, and the furor died down as everyone resumed parsing every frame of the “Endgame” trailer for clues to how this whole “Avengers” story is going to end. But I say that the fact that Okoye is even on that poster is a big clue about her importance in this film.
Her inclusion on the poster is particularly interesting because she is the only character on it who hasn’t been seen at some point in one of the two trailers or the Super Bowl commercial. So why in the world would she be on the poster if she isn’t a key character in the film? The answer, we can’t help but think, is that she actually is a key character.
It’s impossible to guess just how important she will be overall, given how secretive Marvel is being in general about “Avengers: Endgame” and the fact that Gurira has not been featured in any of the leaked set photos that have come out. And, of course, the fact that Marvel has not even really suggested that Okoye will be a key figure in “Endgame” at all.
But, again, there has to be some reason why they would put her on the poster, and I can’t help but think that it’s because Okoye will take up the mantle of the Black Panther after T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) becomes one of the victims of Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) deadly finger snap.
But what does that mean for her involvement in the plot of “Endgame”? She hasn’t been included in any of the team shots from the marketing, but then again neither has Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and there’s no question he’s going to figure in heavily to everything that goes on in the movie. But if I had to guess about the specifics of Okoye’s involvement, I would think that Wakanda would certainly be involved in whatever plan the Avengers eventually cook up since it has by far the best technology on the planet.
Since Shuri (Letitia Wright) is also a victim of Thanos’ snap (she’s listed as one of the missing in the first “Endgame” trailer), our heroes won’t be operating at peak efficiency — but just having those stores of vibranium will no doubt be helpful. And if the Avengers are doing stuff in Wakanda, then Okoye will by extension definitely be around.
Making any guesses beyond that would be very difficult since we know so little. But you can be sure that Okoye is not the type to want to take advantage of the situation in order to keep her Black Panther powers — T’Challa was her close friend and she, like all our other surviving heroes, will definitely be up for doing whatever it takes to undo the unfathomable damage Thanos caused.
But to find out what exactly “whatever it takes” will involve for Okoye specifically, we’ll probably just have to just watch “Avengers: Endgame” when it hits theaters on April 26. Not long now.