After 2018's Black Panther raked in over a billion dollars at the box office and redefined the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s cultural impact, it was always going to be difficult to follow up. However, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, due out this fall, seems up to the challenge, despite its production being beset with difficulties like the pandemic, director Ryan Coogler getting mistaken for a bank robber, and, of course, the 2020 death of Chadwick Boseman.
Marvel Studios announced that the actor’s role would not be recast, and the first trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is purposefully mysterious about which character will step into the vibranium suit. Ahead of the sequel’s release, the women of Wakanda opened up to the New York Times about the experience of returning to set without Boseman.
“There was a lot of stillness, reflection, prayer and meditation to bolster me up as emotionally, mentally and spiritually as possible,” Lupita Nyong’o shares. “It was a unique experience to step back into this world without our leader. When you have a sophomore film, there’s a lot of expectation. But I think the loss of Chadwick kind of took all that away. I found myself having to radically accept that this was going to be different, and that showing up with as much openness as possible was key.”
Boseman first played the role of King T’Challa back in 2016's Captain America: Civil War before the character’s solo installment in the franchise. He also appeared in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame before his death from a previously undisclosed battle with cancer.
“I remember sitting with Ryan, and he helped me process what felt different this time: It was grief,” adds Danai Gurira. “So grief intermingled with our process. There were things I couldn’t prepare for, like stepping into the throne room and remembering the last time I was there and getting really hit by that.”
Head over to the New York Times to read the full conversation. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in theaters on November 11.