Just two years after Chadwick Boseman’s unexpected passing, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is here. Naturally this Black Panther sequel is a bittersweet arrival. Because the original defied the odds and made over a billion dollars—impressive even for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and especially for a film with a predominantly Black cast, Boseman’s T’Challa will eventually be recast. Right now, however, is just not the right time.
Wakanda Forever recognizes the magnitude of this great passing. As the first big screen manifestation of the comic book hero, Boseman balanced the duality of T’Challa and superhero. Prior to becoming the Black Panther, Boseman rose to fame by playing real-life Black American heroes, namely Jackie Robinson and James Brown.
“His loss was devastating,” Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Nakia, T’Challa’s love, shares. That loss made going into Black Panther: Wakanda Forever without him so off, she confesses. Director Ryan Coogler’s recognition of the magnitude of Boseman’s passing via T’Challa in Wakanda Forever really struck an emotional chord for Nyong’o and her castmates. It also changed their roles this time around.
Here, Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, who plays Okoye, and Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri, share those feelings as well as where some of their characters are now in the aftermath and Wakanda Forever’s new additions.
(Additional reporting provided by Joseph Hammond)
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