Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” is set to debut in local cinemas. It will not only shine the spotlight on the fictional African nation of Wakanda, but also focus on members of the Dora Milaje.
Screen Rant reported that one central subplot featuring a lesbian romance between the Dora Milaje’s Okoye (played by Danai Gurira) and fellow female warrior, Ayo (played by Florence Kasumba) was left on the cutting room floor.
In April last year, it was rumoured that Marvel was considering injecting a love storyline of Okoye and Ayo from the comic “World of Wakanda”. As per the description, “Okoye eyes Ayo flirtatiously for a long time as the camera pans in on them. Eventually, she says, appreciatively and appraisingly, ‘You look good.’ Ayo responds in kind. Okoye grins and replies, ‘I know’.”
Unfortunately, that scene never made the final cut. In fact, Okoye is depicted as a hetrosexual and in a romantic relationship with W’Kabi, played by “Get Out” actor Daniel Kaluuya. Co-writer Joe Robert Cole recently confirmed that a romance between Okoye and Ayo was a possibility at one point but it had to go.
“I think the short answer is yes. I know that there were quite a few conversations around different things, different directions with different characters, and characters that we may have. We thought, ‘Well, maybe we’ll work it this way with an arc or work it that way with an arc’,” Joe Robert Cole told Screen Crush.
He added, “The scene you’re talking about, I don’t remember. I can’t remember the exact exchange you’re talking about, but I think it was really brief. I’m not sure. I know that it was not – there wasn’t some major theme through that we were looking to explore with that in terms of the story. We didn’t like, pull out a full thread of some theme. But your friend quite possibly could be right, or I’m maybe having a brain fart here and just can’t remember.”
Cole seems to suggest that Okoye and Ayo’s relationship was never the central focus to begin with.
While you’re here, get to know more about the main characters in our “Black Panther” featured article.