The Daily Grind Video
Winston Duke and Co During the Black Panther Tour in London, UK & Lagos, Nigeria

Source: Handout / Getty

Going into last weekend’s release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, fans didn’t know exactly what to expect but the excitement was at an all time high. A major part of the uncertainty surrounding the film came from the unfortunate death of the first film’s star, Chadwick Boseman. Although most of the supporting cast reprised their roles, moviegoers wondered how the movie would play out without its beloved fan favorite. One positive that came from so many of the supporting cast returning was the ability to expand their characters, roles and stories.

One character who benefitted greatly from being able to get more screen time was M’Baku, the leader of Wakanda’s Jabari tribe, played by Winston Duke. In the sequel, Duke was able to show his leadership abilities along with his humor. There were several moments in the film when tensions were very high and Duke sliced through it with his quick wit and perfectly timed sarcasm. Viewers couldn’t help but to notice. Although director Ryan Coogler deserves a lot of credit for these moments, the movie’s arguably funniest line was all Duke.

During a scene in which the elders/council met to discuss the safety of the tribe, there was a disagreement about the plan of action they should take next. Duke used the moment to show off his comedic timing and improvisation skills by taking a shot at Okoye, who is played by Danai Gurira. That’s right. M’Baku calling Okoye “a baldheaded demon” was not in the script. Although the hilarious moment was improvised, Gurira reacted like a true professional and played along. The interaction between the two ended up being one of the most memorable scenes of the film.

It’s ironic because although that scene was in the heat of the moment and not necessarily planned, Duke’s increased role definitely was. According to Slash Films, the 36 year-old (today is his birthday) negotiated a sizable salary increase based on the popularity of Black Panther. With the increase of salary, Duke solidified himself in a more essential role with room to grow. The Us actor took to Twitter and spoke on how he wanted to portray M’Baku this time around, how intentional he was with every single thing he did with the character and how the insult directed at Okoye was all a part of his plan.

He said that the intention for M’Baku in the film was to serve as the vent for a pressure cooker. Judging by the feedback the film and his character specifically have received, it’s safe to say that he did exactly what he sought out to do. Let us know how you felt about BlackPanther: Wakanda Forever and what your favorite scenes were. Also, HAPPY 36TH BIRTHDAY TO THE TALENTED WINSTON DUKE!