In the latest episode of his Fat Man on Batman podcast with Marc Bernardin, the pair discussed the emotional impact of the various deaths in Infinity War. While Bernardin explained that he was deeply impacted by Spider-Man/Peter Parker's (Tom Holland) death in the film and Smith had nothing but praise for the scene, he was a lot less accepting of the death of Black Panther.
"His performance in that moment is so genuine that like I bought, even though I'm smarter than that I'm like I can't believe they killed off Spider-Man and sh** but what I didn't buy was when they killed off Black Panther, because I was like 'oh no, that movie made too much money for that to happen. He'll be back for sure!' you know, but Tom Holland's performance was pretty moving to the point where I'm like holy sh** man, I'm buying that this kid's f***** dying.'"
Smith does have a point. Black Panther was a massive box office success. The film remained in the top 10 domestic grossing films at the box office for 13 weekends (Deadpool 2 dropped the film out of the top 10 this weekend) and remains the top-grossing domestic film thus far this year -- currently beating out the record-breaking Infinity War. That kind of success guaranteed Black Panther a sequel, but a sequel doesn't guarantee the return of T'Challa.
Black Panther producer Nate Moore recently told Screen Rant that Marvel Studios is open to introducing a new Black Panther in the sequels.
"One thing I like to tell Ryan is, the Black Panther is a mantle as much as it is a person, so we're not restricted by anything, because the truth is, there's a lot of different ways to go back to Wakanda and have a good time and continue to explore the themes that made the first film so resonant," Moore said.
With T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) having crumbled to ash when Thanos (Josh Brolin) snapped his fingers, if Shuri (Letitia Wright) survived it could provide an opening for her to step into the Black Panther role -- something the character did in the comics. However, Smith isn't alone in thinking that you can't have a Black Panther 2 without T'Challa. Wright told ComicBook.com upon that film's release that a sequel needed a lot of the characters to work.
"That's the kindest thing an interviewer has ever asked me," Wright said. "I hope whenever the time is right, if it's meant to happen, I would happily do it. But you can't have a Shuri movie without T'Challa and you can't have a Shuri movie without Ramonda and Nakia and the rest of the Dora Milaje and Okoye. So, I guess, the question is: when can we have Black Panther 2?"
Of course, for Smith, even with Black Panther's death being difficult to believe, he did acknowledge why the character deaths mattered so much.
"It's the magic trick of a movie and you only feel loss because you've loved those characters for 10 years," Smith said. "They did such a great job of setting up that universe that when they started taking the toys away from you you're like 'No!'"
Avengers: Infinity War is now playing in theaters. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6th, Captain Marvel opens on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.
Which Avengers: Infinity War did you have a hard time believing? Let us know in the comments!