While the production of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” has stopped and restarted, and its plot debated and speculated, we are still one step closer to the Marvel follow-up, though sans lead star Chadwick Boseman.
“Black Panther 2” is slated to premiere in November 2022, over two years after Boseman died of pancreatic cancer in August 2020. Boseman’s historic role as T’Challa was reportedly not going to be recast, leaving writer-director Ryan Coogler ti rework the original script for the sequel.
Yet co-star Lupita Nyong’o revealed “Wakanda Forever” is honoring the late Black Panther himself.
“It’ll be interesting to bring out another one of those films without Chadwick Boseman,” Nyong’o said during Saks’ digital-first Spring 2022 campaign, as reported by PEOPLE. “But we are holding him in close light. I think people will be excited about this one.”
In May 2021, Nyong’o previously shared to Yahoo! that Coogler reshaped the second movie to be “so respectful of the loss we’ve all experienced as a cast and as a world.”
Nyong’o added, “It feels spiritually and emotionally correct to do this. And hopefully, what I do look forward to, is getting back together and honoring what he started with us and holding his light through it. Because he left us a lot of light that we’re still going to be bathing in. I know that for sure.”
T’Challa’s younger sister, played by Letitia Wright, was rumored to take over as the lead, prior to a series of controversies surrounding the star. The plot for “Wakanda Forever” is still under wraps.
Boseman was honored at the 94th Academy Award nominations announcement, featuring students and educators from Boseman’s alma mater Howard University as part of the multi-million dollar Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship. Boseman was nominated in 2021 for his final role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
As “Black Panther” writer-director Coogler said on the “Jemele Hill Is Unbothered” podcast (via People), Boseman’s life was an inspiration to artists everywhere.
“I’m incredibly sad to lose him but I’m also incredibly motivated that I got to spend time with him. You spend your life hearing about people like him,” Coogler said. “For this individual, who is an ancestor now, I was there for it. It’s such an incredible privilege that fills you up as much as it knocks you out. So often as Black people, we have to pick up the pieces after loss.”