‘Wakanda Forever’ star says reminders of Chadwick Boseman’s presence carried them through filming

okoye black panther wakanda forever
Photo via Marvel Studios

On Friday, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be upon us. The movie comes in the face of devastating loss, touches on this feeling of grief in its story and — though its former lead is gone — his presence loomed every day when on the film set.

Star Danai Gurira, who plays Okoye in the franchise, talks about the late Chadwick Boseman in a new article published by Screen Rant. Essentially, on the first film, Boseman had a friend on set who would play drums and during the production of the current movie, they brought him back and he was there for all aspects of Gurira’s acting in the franchise.

“And so, when I was training and everything, he would be there playing drums. He’s in the film a little bit as well.”

Gurira adds that no one would be where they are in the story without him and they needed him anchoring things to remind themselves of what he was like. He had many wonderful qualities and this is what allowed Black Panther to be as big as it is now.

“The integrity and the authenticity and the beautiful leadership he manifested, that is what allowed Black Panther to become what it became. So, to not have him there was devastating. But there were anchoring aspects that we found to get through it.”

The work is doing more to honor Boseman and T’Challa as well. Trailers suggest an extended sequence will follow the character’s funeral, director Ryan Coogler has said when filming, number one on the call sheet was left blank and he almost did not do the piece, as, in his grief, he even considered quitting the entertainment industry outright before ultimately changing his mind, too. Though some have called for recasting the role, Coogler has also revealed this option was never even remotely given any sort of thought.