It’s not a secret that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2017’s Black Panther, was forced to undergo some changes in 2020. With production on the project already well underway, star Chadwick Boseman passed away unexpectedly from illness. As a result, changes had to be made to the story to account for his absence, leading to a very grief-focused sequel. Since the first plot details began to release on Wakanda Forever, fans have wondered what the film might have looked like before it lost Boseman’s King T’Challa. According to co-writer and director Ryan Coogler, it really wasn’t all that different.
Speaking to Inverse during a recent interview, the acclaimed creative revealed that Wakanda Forever was always going to be about grief. The main difference in the original script, however, was the subject of the lead’s regret. In the finished product, audiences will see Letitia Wright’s Shuri and Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda grieving the loss of their loved one, while in the initial version of the movie, it would have been Boseman’s T’Challa grieving the loss of time.
The tone was going to be similar. The character was going to be grieving the loss of time, you know, coming back after being gone for five years. As a man with so much responsibility to so many, coming back after a forced five years absence, that’s what the film was tackling. He was grieving time he couldn’t get back. Grief was a big part of it.Ryan Coogler
Black Panther was one of many heroes who turned to dust in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, before returning to life the next year in Avengers: Endgame. It seems that the original take on Wakanda Forever would have joined the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4 in dealing with the fallout of “The Blip.” As for Namor, the new film’s antagonist who strikes as Wakanda is at its most vulnerable, Coogler confirms he was always part of the story:
There were other characters, for sure, that we considered including. Namor was always there.Ryan Coogler
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on November 11th.