Now that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is here and single-handedly pulling in more money than the national GDP of a small country, we can start to talk about some of the casting choices and decisions that needed to be made story-wise. Marvel has been very clear about not recasting T’Challa after actor Chadwick Boseman’s death, but how did they decide where to go next?
Producer Nate Moore, speaking withMarvel.com, revealed that they could have chosen any one of the other characters in the Black Panther universe to take on the mantle of the superhero, but only one choice felt right – actress Letitia Wright, who plays T’Challa’s younger sister Shuri.
“[Shuri] just felt like the most organic storytelling choice,” he said. “We had a performer that we knew could carry that if she agreed to do it. We didn’t really explore other options that thoroughly because this just felt like the right thing to do.”
Moore revealed that Shuri was surprised when she was told she was going to become the next iteration of the character and that she “wanted and wants to do right by this franchise.” While Moore wasn’t sure that Wright “ever envisioned herself donning the mantle and carrying this film, she was 100% game. I think that’s a credit to her and to her spirit.”
“She understood A, what it means to people generally, and B, I think what this franchise meant to Chadwick, as an artist, and as a performer. … To come to her and say, hey, we want to continue this franchise, and we think you’re the right person to be at the center of it was a big ask. But she was game for it and has never blanched from that responsibility as a storyteller.”
Director Ryan Coogler said once they figured out the theme of the movie was going to center around T’Challa’s death, they asked “who would be the most affected by that? It became clear that Shuri should be the nexus of our movie.” Interestingly, Shuri the character never even imagined herself as the Black Panther.
“She always imagined, my brother will be the Black Panther and then when he’s too old to be a Black Panther, I’ll be too old to be a Black Panther. It’s never something that was on her mind to have to do. We thought that would [make her] the most interesting character to actually do it.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is currently in theaters nationwide.