Following the incredible success of Black Panther, many were curious when a sequel to the blockbuster film would follow. Fans were eager for more of Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, as well as more of the Dora Milaje and Letitia Wright’s Shuri. What no one knew, though, was that Boseman was terminally ill. His untimely passing was a shock to nearly everyone, including the cast and crew of Black Panther, and in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lupita Nyong’o discussed what it was like to lose him.
As the actress noted, Marvel Studios and the rest of the cast and crew from Black Panther didn’t know how – or if they could – revisit the franchise without their leading man. As Nyong’o explains, director and co-writer Ryan Coogler had already drafted a screenplay for the sequel before Boseman’s passing. That film would’ve heavily focused on T’Challa and it was expected to “delve deeply into his psyche and situation.” Many fans had expected Marvel Studios to recast the role, but out of respect, the studio opted not to. The sequel was later reworked, instead turning Wakanda Forever into a film meant to honor T’Challa and Boseman without recasting the role – a decision the actress wholeheartedly agrees with.
“That is not the death of the Black Panther, that’s the whole point. It’s laying to rest [T’Challa] and allowing for real life to inform the story of the movies. I know that there are all sorts of reasons why people want him to be recast, but I don’t have the patience. I don’t have the presence of mind, or I don’t have the objectivity to argue with that. I don’t. I’m very biased.”
While moving ahead with the sequel was emotionally difficult for all involved, Nyong’o said that Coogler had successfully crafted something to honor Boseman, while still carrying the story forward.
“Ryan 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.”
Fans will get the chance to help honor Boseman’s legacy when Wakanda Forever hits theaters on Nov. 11th.