It’s not easy to write the script for a blockbuster sequel, especially one that’s coming burdened with the levels of hype and expectation attached to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
The first installment is the franchise’s highest-grossing solo movie ever, one of the biggest commercial hits in the history of cinema, a genuine cultural phenomenon and the first superhero epic to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. All that, and the cast and crew were then hit with the monumental tragedy of leading man Chadwick Boseman passing away last summer after a four-year battle with colon cancer.
Shooting is now underway on Wakanda Forever ahead of a July 8 release date next summer, and it sounds as though the screenplay is still in the midst of revisions, even with cameras rolling. That’s according to star Angela Bassett, who revealed in a new interview that she’s aware of at least five different iterations and counting.
“I don’t know what it’s going to look like at all. There have been about five incarnations of the script and I hear another one’s coming. Of course, with our dear king going on to glory, a lot of things had to be shifted and changed. So, thankfully, Ryan and Joe Robert Cole, they’re just such masterful storytellers that they’ve found a way into this world and hopefully it will be satisfying, I think, for the fans and it will be honorable of our Chad. We love our king.”
You’d have to imagine that Bassett hasn’t yet returned to the set as Wakandan matriarch Ramonda if she’s still completely in the dark as to what shape the script is currently in, but it was always inevitable that it would take a lot of time and even more effort to settle on the final draft.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever needs to ensure that it continues building out the mythology and delivers a sequel worthy of living up to the standards of its predecessor, all while paying tribute to the life and legacy of Chadwick Boseman’s iconic stint as T’Challa, without leaning too far into hagiography at the expense of the story being told. It’s an unenviable task, but we’ve got faith that Coogler and his team can pull it off.