Logan director James Mangold loathes post-credits scenes – and even describes them as f*cking embarrassing – but Marvel Studios and their fans obviously don’t agree. Every movie entertains us with at least one delicious little morsel after closing credits begin to roll, and Black Panther is no exception.
If you’ve seen the movie or read spoiler-y reviews and discussions, you’re aware that the movie offers two post-credits scenes. The first finds Chadwick Boseman’s titular character appearing before the United Nations in Vienna, Austria to announce that Wakanda will share its knowledge and resources with the rest of the world for the first time in history.
Of course, to the rest of the world, Wakanda is a third-world country; everyone is still in the dark about its capabilities. King T’Challa’s speech prompts the following question as the king exchanges a knowing smile with CIA operative Everett Ross (Martin Freeman):
What does a nation of farmers have to offer the rest of the world?
Black Panther is unique among its fellow superhero movies because it carries a significant amount of political weight, and the mid-credits scene is no exception. Coogler addressed the topic during an interview with Entertainment Tonight:
When people say, “This film is a political movie”…Well, yeah. Black Panther is a politician. It’s the first MCU film about a politician, so it should be the most political one. And if this character has to make a governmental address, what kind of stuff would he say?
This line from T’Challa’s speech reflects the current political turmoil in the US:
In times of trouble, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers.
The director revealed that the line is an African proverb that his wife found when they were working on the project during the Obama administration. He added that he wanted the audience to view T’Challa as a figure they’d like to encounter in the real world.
We could argue that Coogler should have included the United Nations scene in the movie proper. Instead, it circles back around to the movie’s initial flashback scene, and concludes as T’Challa and his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) land their plane on a basketball court in Oakland, California.
In a separate interview with Radio Times, Coogler said that incorporating the UN scene into the movie itself would be a complicated thing. He and editors Michael Shawver and Debbie Berman were kind of deciding how to play it:
What ended up happening was just the argument of symmetry. The argument of finishing where we started. And if you think about it, the UN scene and the scene that happens in Oakland are basically the same scene. It’s a reveal of who the Wakandans are. The only difference is who they’re revealing that to. And we thought that it was stronger emotionally [this way].
Unlike the first stinger, the second was never meant to be in the main body of Black Panther, so it caused no confusion for the director. In the scene, Bucky Barnes, aka Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), stepps out of a Wakandan hut as a bunch of kids tease him and call him White Wolf. Shuri greets him, inquires about his well-being, and tells him that he’s got much more to learn. Coogler added:
We weren’t asked to do it. Obviously, it ties in, but the studio didn’t force our hand or tell us what the post-credits scene should be. It was something that we were interested in, that we were interested in doing. And for us, it was fun, because I think the audience – if they’re familiar with the MCU – knows that Bucky is in Wakanda. It was kind of a hold-off. Our film wasn’t about Bucky, obviously, [so] we didn’t feel like it would be right to deal with him in this context. But we thought it’d be cool for the fans that stayed until the end to check in on this character that they love.
The Black Panther post-credits scenes may be markedly different, but they’re both important as we go into Avengers: Infinity War. The first indicates that Wakanda is done with pretending to be a third world country and that it could be a key player in the fight against Thanos and his alien army.
On the other hand, the second scene confirms that Shuri and her team of Wakandan scientists managed to clear Bucky’s mind of Hydra’s brainwashing. So, with the sequence “longing, rusted, furnace, daybreak, seventeen, benign, nine, homecoming, one, freight car” (in Russian), the Mad Titan isn’t going to find an individual who will simply comply with an order!