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Ryan Coogler addresses the biggest burning question behind ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

The sequel is defined by a question that applies both on and offscreen.

black panther wakanda forever
via Marvel Studios

In a cruel twist of fate, the biggest burning question behind the narrative of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is also one that’s dogged the production since the tragic passing of leading man Chadwick Boseman.

As revealed by director Ryan Coogler in the latest issue of Empire magazine, it’s a simple but incredibly personal, powerful, and pertinent one: “How do you carry on in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds?”. Sadly, that’s something the cast and crew have had to deal with every day, but it’s reassuring to know that Boseman’s presence was with them every step of the way, and that’ll continue right up until the sequel’s hotly-anticipated November release.

Expounding further, the filmmaker spoke at length on how desire to overcome the odds on both a personal and professional level ended up defining Wakanda Forever both on and offscreen.

“Unfortunately, that question became more and more relevant. Both for humanity as a whole, but also for the people in our production who were coming back for this one. It became super-relevant when we lost our bro. This unique group is more like a band than it is a group of actors, and Chad was our lead singer. So for me, it was like, ‘How do I figure out a song that they can still get up there and sing?’, in light of what we were dealing with.”

As the follow-up to a critical, commercial, and cultural phenomenon that became one of the highest-grossing movies of all-time and landed an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, the pressure on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was massive to begin with. Based on the footage we’ve seen so far, though, the end product has every chance of succeeding on its own merits, even without the heart and soul Boseman brought to the role of T’Challa.

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Scott Campbell

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