Last April it was reported that the Marvel Universe was going to get a bit more gay with Black Panther, with Vanity Fair reporting on a scene they’d viewed which featured a flirtatious exchange between Okuye (Danai Gurira) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba). The magazine suggested the movie would have more gay content than this, and that as in the 2016 comic World of Wakanda, the two would become a couple.
However, Marvel quickly stepped forward to say this wasn’t true and there would be no romance. It appears though that as with Valkryrie’s bisexuality in Thor: Ragnarok, it appears scenes that would have made it more explicit were filmed, but ended up on the cutting room floor.
Vulture asked Kasumba why she thought her character’s sexuality wasn’t touched upon in the final movie. She says, “The thing is, if the makers would have wanted everyone to see the scene, it would have been in the movie. The final result that we’ve seen, there were a few scenes that have been cut. Different scenes, also. They didn’t make it into the movie for certain reasons, and at that point, I have to say: What their reason is, I can’t tell you, because nobody told me about whether it’s in or not.
“But at this point, I personally think people have no idea who T’Challa is, who are the Wakandans, what is Wakanda, where is Wakanda, what is their culture. There are so many important things that had to be told in these two hours. So the focus was on what is so important for T’Challa. What happens after the last movie that we saw. I know all the other scenes that we have also filmed that are not in the movie. People have their reasons why not.”
However, she does hope there will be a chance to explore that side of the character in the future, saying, “I’d love to, at some point. Not now, because it’s too soon. At this point, the focus is somewhere else. I started reading World of Wakandatowards the end of filming and I loved reading the comics. I loved reading about, Okay, how do the Doras become Doras? … That’s the whole reason why we had a boot camp [to train for the movie]: In order to be physically able to move as a unit. That was more important. That’s what I’m saying, right? Who is in love with whom and whatever — that was not important in this movie.”
Black Panther is currently tearing up the box office, with the film expected to take a record-breaking $205 million in its first weekend in the US.