Jordan Peele’s next horror film, Us, is hitting theaters this month and it turns out the Marvel Cinematic Universe almost altered the movie's casting. Winston Duke, who played M’Baku in Black Panther, almost missed his chance at the horror movie over his MCU role. According to Cinema Blend, Peele was hesitant to cast Duke because his character in Black Panther was so fierce, the director was worried he might be “too tough” for the horror film's dad role.
“It would take away from our ability to feel afraid [for the family] if they have M'Baku on their side. [On the other hand] Winston had this charisma that just stole scenes and really left an impression,” Peele explained.
Duke also commented on the casting, saying that M’Baku does not embody who he really is in real life.
“I was in conversation for a lot of [roles in which] the character was a fighter, a big guy — he's aggressive, a warrior. I loved playing M'Baku, but that's not who I am. I want to convey the full spectrum of masculinity. I want people to say that this guy helped change the definition of masculinity onscreen 40 years from now. I’m trying to be that person,” Duke explained.
There’s been a lot of interesting casting tidbits circulating about Duke this week. The actor also recently revealed to Metro that when he auditioned for Black Panther, he did not know what he was actually auditioning for.
Not only did Duke get the parts in both Us and Black Panther, but he went on to reprise his role of M'Baku in Avengers: Infinity War. It’s currently unclear if he’ll be showing up again in Avengers: Endgame, but he is listed as a cast member on IMDB, which is a promising sign. However, if you don’t get to see him on the big screen next month, you can see him in Us next week alongside fellow Black Panther alum, Lupita Nyong’o.
The actor also got to be a part of an exciting awards season this year, taking home a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. He’s also nominated for an NAACP Image Award (which is taking place on March 30th) for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture.
Currently, the cast for the inevitable Black Panther 2 has not been announced, but we can’t imagine more Wakanda adventures without Duke.
Us is hitting theaters on March 22nd, and Avengers: Endgame will be released on April 26th.