Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is easily the most conflicting upcoming MCU project. On the one hand, Marvel fans are excited to return to this rich corner of the universe, especially with Namor making his debut this time around. On the other, the trailer alone proved to be a hugely emotional experience, so the full film itself is no doubt going to be pretty tough to get through for the millions of people missing Chadwick Boseman around the globe.
It goes without saying, however, that regardless of how emotional a watch the sequel might be for viewers, it was incomparably more of a struggle to create for the cast and crew, who had to soldier on and make the movie without their friend and colleague. Letitia Wright, who plays Wakandan princess Shuri in the franchise, opened up to The Playlist about how difficult it was for her to work on Black Panther 2 without her “brother.” As she said:
“It was hard for me to imagine being on set without my brother. It was something I was battling for months. The confidence that Ryan [Coogler] felt that he heard Chadwick just give him that gentle push forward, to continue. And the way that Ryan would express that it was bigger than all of us, and Chad would have wanted us to continue. That really encouraged me. I have so much confidence. I love Ryan. I can’t wait for you guys to see the film and how we honored Chad in a beautiful way.”
Like Wright states, while there might have been some talk of canceling the production following Boseman’s unexpected death in August 2020, director Ryan Coogler and the team elected to keep going as the sequel became a way to honor the beloved performer’s legacy and life. The British actress offered some similar sentiments while appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon this week, in which she labeled Wakanda Forever as a “love letter” to her late co-star.
Marvel has confirmed that Wright will have an increased role in the follow-up, likely serving as its new lead, although it’s still being left deliberately vague whether Shuri will become the next Black Panther or not. This seems the most plausible course of action, though. We’ll find out if Black Panther: Wakanda Forever can manage to both live up to its Oscar-nominated predecessor and honor Boseman’s memory when it roars into theaters this Nov. 11.