Black Panther composer reveals the original cut was four hours long

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Feb 23, 2018

Moviegoers are loving Black Panther, though at one point there was a lot more to love. The composer of the film, Ludwig Goransson, has revealed the original cut of the movie was a full four hours long. 

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Goransson remarks on how director Ryan Coogler chooses not work with temp track — that is, there is no "placeholder" music in his edits. Many films use the placeholder technique, and in some cases the temp track ends up being used in the actual film, with one of the most famous cases being the repeated use of Strauss in Stanley Kubrick's 2001; A Space Odyssey

Enjoying the complete freedom of sound he was given, Goransson tells THR that "...the first director's cut was four hours long, but I already had a lot of material written and recorded. So, I actually scored the four-hour cut of the film. Which is really great." 

While this is quite a departure from the 2 hours and 14 minute film that is now in theaters, it's not unheard of for a first cut to have such an extended length. Scenes that are sometimes cut in these versions resurface later, either in extended cuts, or in supplemental home release material. You can almost always see why the material was shaved off, but every now and then there's a little gem of a deleted scene (which may or may not feature Jeff Goldblum riffing) that you wish was in the actual film. 

Goransson also talks about the whirlwind experience of working with Coogler, remarking that he "felt incredible pressure to pay homage to African culture and its traditional music. It's not lost on me that I'm a Swedish guy..." 

Swedish or not, Goransson was devoted to the iconic sound of the film, which is rooted in the music of African tribes that goes back over 700 years. He ended up using as many African sounds as he could, and was able to use instruments that have likely never been heard in any superhero movie before. As he says, "I traveled to a library in South Africa called ILAM (International Library of African Music), which has a collection of about 500 different instruments that don't really exist anymore." The experience paid off, as he recorded many of those instruments and they can be heard in the film. 

The instruments may not exist in our world anymore, but they certainly could exist in the hidden realm of Wakanda. They help contribute to the film's fantastic score, which is one that we certainly wouldn't mind listening to for four hours, or even more. 

Do you need the original four-hour cut of Black Panther right now, or are you satisfied with the razor-sharp version we already have? Would you be interested in a four-hour cut that was nothing but music? Let us know in the comments! 

(Via: The Hollywood Reporter)