Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Cast & Crew Share Their Reason for Continuing the Franchise

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has the monumental task of continuing the franchise without the former titular character, played by Chadwick Boseman. When the actor tragically passed away in 2020, the cast and crew were left in disarray without a goal to strive toward. Questions of whether to continue with a Black Panther sequel quickly arose, as Boseman led the film when it was released in 2018 and has since become a major part of the MCU with Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame in 2019.

During an interview with Variety, the talent behind Black Panther: Wakanda Forever shared their initial thoughts after the loss of Boseman and how they decided the actor would have wanted them to continue with the legacy of the titular character. Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri and the sister of T’Challa in the MCU, says the first days after Boseman’s death were the most difficult. “It haunted me for months that I couldn’t say goodbye to him or be around my Black Panther family to share in that moment.” The actor passed away during the height of the pandemic, so Wright was unable to see Boseman during his private memorial. “I kind of had to do that by myself. Like, bless Daniel [Kaluuya] — he came to see me and stuff. But it wasn’t enough. I wanted to book a flight that day.”

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Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige offered his thoughts on Boseman’s memorial, saying, “They were the first non-family members I had hugged since March. What shocking, sad circumstances it was. And yet, as Chad had always done, and will continue to do forever, he brought us together.” However, according to the Variety report, Feige, director Ryan Coogler, and producer Nate Moore were unsure how to proceed. Eventually, they realized Boseman would’ve wanted them to continue. “He was such a part of the fabric of that character in that world because he helped us build it,” Moore said. “To deny people the ability to revisit that world didn’t sit right with anyone.”

Letitia Wright Reiterates Black Panther 2 is Dedicated to Chadwick Boseman

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Clearly, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be in Chadwick Boseman’s memory, and Letitia Wright says her involvement in the franchise is entirely for him. The actress wasn’t sure she would want to return for a sequel but tells Variety she came to her conclusion after a conversation with Ryan Coogler.

“[Coogler] found me and said, ‘We have to talk about this,” after the passing of Boseman. “It was a gentle conversation. I said, ‘I’m going to dedicate this movie to Chad and to God, and I’m going to give my all. Whatever you need from me, I’ll do it,'” she explains. “I just trusted him all the way. He believed in me all the way.”

The recent trailers point to Wright taking over the Black Panther mantle in the film, becoming the new face of the franchise. The actress is undoubtedly feeling the pressure ahead of the release, although the upcoming sequel is expected to make a splash at the box office. Fans can see Wright, Angela Bassett, Tenoch Huerta, Lake Bell, Martin Freeman, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, and Michaela Coel when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives in theaters this Friday, Nov. 11.