Winston Duke on improvised line, recasting Black Panther, and The Fall Guy

Wakanda Forever’s Winston Duke reminisces on his improvised line, thoughts on recasting Black Panther, and joining The Fall Guy.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s big man, Winston Duke, shares his thoughts on his birthday, reminiscing on his improvised line as M’Baku and looking forward to his next film project: a big screen adaptation of The Fall Guy.

Winston Duke reminisces on his improvised line, thoughts on recasting Black Panther, and joining The Fall Guy. (Images: Marvel Studios/Disney and 20th Century Fox)

The final Marvel Studios: Phase Four film and the sequel to 2018’s Black Panther is currently enjoying box office success. However, it is a very bleak and almost humorless film. Thankfully, Winston Duke brings his unmistakable charm and comic timing to his role as the chief of the Jabari tribe, helping to break the monotony of Wakanda Forever’s running time.

But what did the star have to say about one particular line from the movie? Check out the details about that and more below.

Winston Duke celebrated his birthday in style, as the actor shared his experiences during an Esquire photoshoot. At one point, Duke explained his cultural and personal views with regard to his fashion choices.

With regard to his return as M’Baku in Wakanda Forever, Duke revealed he improvised one particular line during the film:

The intention for Mbaku in this film is to serve as the vent for a pressure cooker & that's what influenced this improvisational gem, amongst others... "you baldheaded demon!"

Duke is referring to the scene where M’Baku addressed the Dora Milaje’s Okoye (Danai Gurira), improvising poking fun at the female warrior’s shaved head, tattoos, and menacing presence.

In a later scene, M’Baku also referred to Tenoch Huerta’s version of Namor as "Fish Man", though it is not clear if this was also improvised. Critics have pointed out how the film can be too grim and lacks action, but Duke's entertaining moments were some of the high points.

Winston Duke addressed the question about recasting T'Challa, and stated "Black Panther wouldn't be the same without Chadwick Boseman."

One point that Winston Duke feels strongly about with regard to the character of Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Specifically, his opinion is that recasting was not an option for the role of T’Challa, at this point in time. The actor addressed the question on Jemele Hill’s podcast:

I think for this iteration of Black Panther, it's very hard for me to really comment on something like that. Because, I'm of the mind that this is Chadwick's role. Chadwick created this and Black Panther wouldn't be the same without Chadwick Boseman, who stood for the things that he stood for. When you cast a person, you're also casting their experiences, their politics, all of these thing. Black Panther was defined by the actor that did it, in my opinion. So, I feel, as-is, the decision that's been made to keep T'Challa, Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa is one that has a lot of nobility in it.

While Winston Duke’s MCU future as M’Baku is unclear beyond being the ally and advisor to the kingdom of Wakanda (as revealed at the end of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), he has other projects lined up.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Winston Duke was recently cast in the Universal Pictures big screen adaptation of the popular 1980’s action series, The Fall Guy.

Winston Duke has been cast for the big screen remake of the popular 1980s TV series The Fall Guy, joining Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt.

The original version starred Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man) as a stuntman who moonlights as a bounty hunter. Duke even shared that he watched reruns of the show back in his younger days.

Duke will be joining Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Stephanie Hsu for The Fall Guy. The film will be directed by David Leitch (Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw). Gosling is co-producing the adaptation with Kelly McCormick, while Drew Pearce will provide the screenplay and serve as executive producer.

For now, fans of Winston Duke can catch him bringing his charismatic portrayal of Hanuman’s champion in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever currently running in theaters.

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.