‘Black Panther’ star initially couldn’t even imagine a sequel without Chadwick Boseman

Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’
Screengrab via Marvel Studios

Lupita Nyong’o got candid about her Black Panther: Wakanda Forever concerns. The first movie has been one of the MCU’s biggest successes, but without its lead, the future of the franchise was uncertain.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Nyong’o shared her reservations ahead of the movie and how it all turned around.

“Every time I thought about what the next Black Panther could be, my imagination fell short. Even just talking about Black Panther in the midst of still grieving Chadwick, it was really complicated emotionally to do. Ryan [Coogler] wrote something that so honored the truth of what every one of us was feeling, those of us who knew Chadwick. He created something that could honor that and carry the story forward. By the end, I was weeping.”

In Black Panther, Nyong’o played Nakia, the steadfast rebel willing to put herself in danger to help others outside of her home Wakanda. She had a romantic relationship with Boseman’s T’Challa, and she winds up teaching him a great deal about responsibility and using his reach to do more good beyond what’s been done before.

After Boseman died in Aug. 2020, it was difficult for the entire cast to move forward without their leader. She revealed in the interview that it was Viola Davis, Boseman’s co-star in Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Big Bottom, that told her about her dear friend. She stated that she was paralyzed and in disbelief about the news. He was a leader with an aura and everyone was good with it. Without him, they were lost.

In an example of life imitating art, Nyong’o and Boseman didn’t always agree. In one instance, Nyong’o requested that Boseman join her and co-star Dani Gurira to South Africa to promote the movie and he refused to go as much as she pushed. She later realized that he was battling cancer and that he probably had medical reasons for not wanting to attend.

Coogler addressed that Wakanda Forever would be a cathartic experience as it honors Boseman and T’Challa’s memory. It will touch upon loss and he has hopes that it will be both an epic and intimate experience, but it’s not without its fun. Coogler said that it’s important to lean into the weird stuff because that’s what makes it fun, and this is what Tenoch Huerta’s Namor brings to the table this time around.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever comes to theaters Nov. 11.