Avengers: Infinity War was a risky proposition from the outset. The planned storyline, with a divided Avengers team facing off against a determined Thanos, only to lose, was nothing like the Marvel Cinematic Universe had attempted. It was a Shakespearean tragedy, comic book style. There was talk of losing their nerve and putting the snap in the second film so that the drama would be resolved instantly, but the Russo brothers knew they couldn't. However, there was one small miscalculation: Shuri. As these tweets about Shuri in the "Avenge The Fallen" posters show, the audience is far more attached to her than anyone anticipated.
Part of the problem was how much the MCU underestimated the impact of Black Panther. It seems there was a sense T'Challa and company were going to be just another movie in the MCU merry-go-round, and the characters were treated as such when it came to the Infinity War plot. Wakanda might have been the battleground, but the side characters, like M'Baku and Shuri, were treated not unlike, say, MJ and Ned in Spider-Man: Homecoming. They were important to show as background color, but certainly not big enough in their own right to be turned to dust on-screen when the Snappening came.
But fans had other ideas. Shuri, especially, has a passionate fanbase, and the theories she not only survived off-screen but could temporarily pick up the Black Panther mantle, ran wild in the wake of Infinity War's ending. Until the character posters for Endgame were released this week, and Twitter discovered, to their horror, she was pictured among the Fallen characters.
There were a few "told you so" comments from fans who took this as proof they had been right about Shuri's fate after her picture was flashed as "missing" in the first Endgame trailer back in December. However, her image was shown along with Ant-Man's face, who fans know is alive, just trapped in the Quantum Realm. Therefore, her being listed as "missing" was not conclusive one way or the other.
The black and white poster, on the other hand, was irrefutable proof. The result was immediate.
One of the more frustrating aspects was that the Russos didn't recognize how much they'd miscalculated with the character. The line from the interviews that everyone used to confirm Shuri would be fine was that "no one important died off-screen."
The world would beg to differ, sirs.
Not that this changes the calculation overall for the forthcoming film. Oyoke is still alive, her in-color poster proves as much, as does Valkyrie's. The fact is, over a dozen characters are heading into this next film, who will have to be as carefully balanced in their screen time as the 22 characters in Avengers: Infinity War were. Just because all the Guardians save Rocket are dead doesn't mean this balancing act gets any easier.
Avengers: Endgame will arrive in theaters on Friday, April 26, 2019, and reportedly will run three hours or more. Plenty of time to bring Shuri back, right?