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Black Panther was an instant sensation when it arrived in theaters in 2018. But the movie wasn’t just a big-screen Marvel Cinematic Universe phenomenon. It also created numerous iconic quotes and memes that live on for its fans. Writer-director Ryan Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole received plenty of credit for penning the script. But two signature moments from the movie resulted from the ingenious adlibs of two actors. 

2 memorable lines from ‘Black Panther’ were improvised on the spot

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(L-R) Actors Winston Duke, Chadwick Boseman, and Michael B. Jordan accept award onstage at the 2018 MTV Movie And TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 16, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Michael B. Jordan brings a lot to the villainous Killmonger. The character radiates an air of relatability despite the fantastical world of Wakanda. And he brought some of that to one notable scene.

After revealing that he is a descendant of Wakandans, Killmonger addresses the shocked Queen Mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) with a disrespectful “Hey Auntie.” The line gave fans a reason to laugh without diminishing the scene’s tension. Bassett later confirmed that Jordan thought of the line himself, surprising her. “I quite remember being taken aback a little with that. And at the premiere, when he utters that, the whole room just went up and enjoyed it,” she said in an interview. 

Another improvised moment came when M’Baku barks at CIA agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman). He threatens to feed Ross to his children before gleefully saying, “I’m kidding. We’re vegetarians.”

Winston Duke talked about his acting choice on an episode of the Empire Film Podcast. “Things like that come out of looking at things from different perspectives and bringing that in,” he explained. “I was like, how do I communicate intimidation? How do I intimidate him in a totally my way? And he spoke, and I just started [barking].”

Will we see these characters in ‘Black Panther 2’?

Following the first film’s success, Disney greenlit a sequel. But Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has faced obstacles, specifically the death of its star, the late Chadwick Boseman. T’Challa’s sister, Shuri, is the most sensible option to take center stage in his absence. But her portrayer, Letitia Wright, has garnered some negative press in recent years.

At San Diego Comic-Con in 2022, Marvel released the first teaser trailer for Wakanda Forever. The sequel shows the return of Wright, Duke, Bassett, Freeman, and others like Danai Gurira (Okoye)and Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia). However, Jordan’s Killmonger died at the end of Black Panther, and he’s not included in the cast list. Then again, comic book stories resurrect people all the time, and most fans would love to see the character back in the mix

Other MCU movies have leaned on their actors for ad-libbed lines


Real MCU Fans Shouldn’t Be Surprised to Learn Which Marvel Movie Is 80% Improvised

Black Panther is far from the only Marvel movie to delight fans with improvised lines. Iron Man, the film that kickstarted the MCU, features one of the best examples of improv in the franchise. Robert Downey Jr.’s decision to throw away a pre-written note card and announce to the world that “I am Iron Man” came entirely from the actor who understood his character even more than those behind the scenes.

Many recall Peter Parker’s heartbreaking final words in Avengers: Infinity War. While they weren’t entirely off the cuff, Tom Holland took the direction he was given about what he wanted to convey and put it straight into his performance when he repeated, “I don’t want to go.”

As MCU fans know, Thor: Ragnarok featured plenty of improvised takes in the final cut. Among the most notable? When the titular character exclaims of the Hulk: “We know each other! He’s a friend from work!” Notably, the dialogue came not from Chris Hemsworth himself but a child visiting the set.