Chadwick Boseman’s memory lives on in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
The sequel film, which is set to premiere November 11 in theaters, comes out more than two years after Boseman’s death in August 2020 of colon cancer. Boseman portrayed the titular MCU superhero, King T’Challa. While a fan petition with over 60,000 signatures called on Marvel to honor the late actor and character by recasting the role, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige addressed why “Wakanda Forever” opted to go without Black Panther altogether.
“It just felt like it was much too soon to recast,” Feige told Empire magazine. “Stan Lee always said that Marvel represents the world outside your window. And we had talked about how, as extraordinary and fantastical as our characters and stories are, there’s a relatable and human element to everything we do. The world is still processing the loss of Chad. And [director] Ryan [Coogler] poured that into the story.”
The first trailer for “Wakanda Forever” shows the fictional nation mourning the loss of King T’Challa.
Feige continued, “The conversations were entirely about, yes, ‘What do we do next?’ And how could the legacy of Chadwick — and what he had done to help Wakanda and the Black Panther become these incredible, aspirational, iconic ideas — continue? That’s what it was all about.”
Boseman’s “Black Panther” co-star Lupita Nyong’o told Empire that she had “dread” returning to the “Black Panther” sequel. “Ryan had walked me through what the film was going to be when Chadwick was still alive. And so once we lost him, the thought that we could go on, it was just unfathomable to me,” the Oscar winner said. “[But] what Ryan ended up sharing with me was just so utterly truthful and beautiful. By the end of it, I was in tears.”
Nyong’o added earlier this year that the film feels “spiritually and emotionally correct to do” in the wake of Boseman’s passing. “Hopefully, what I do look forward to, is getting back together and honoring what he started with us and holding his light through it,” Nyong’o said. “Because he left us a lot of light that we’re still going to be bathing in. I know that for sure.”
Director Ryan Coogler previously said that writing “Wakanda Forever” without Boseman in mind was a “profound” experience, while “having to be a part of keeping this project going without this particular person who is like the glue who held it together.”