Letitia Wright Says Director Ryan Coogler Helped Develop a ‘Full Arc’ for Shuri in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

With the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on the horizon, the absence of Chadwick Boseman is striking. The decision not to recast Boseman’s T’Challa after the actor’s untimely passing in 2020 and instead writing his death into the sequel’s script has been applauded by the cast for honoring his memory in a way that allows space for their real-life grief.

Letitia Wright, who plays T’Challa’s younger sister Shuri, says that the decision also was important to the genuine growth of her character—almost certainly the next person to don the Black Panther suit.

Speaking at a press event ahead of Wakanda Forever’s premiere, Wright says she had a “heart-to-heart” with director Ryan Coogler about how to move forward while trying to honor Boseman’s legacy every step of the way.

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“It was, firstly, through connecting with Ryan. That heart-to-heart conversation of how do we take a gentle step forward, because it was so raw when we spoke. It was just Ryan talking me through how the different characters and how the world was going to expand a bit, but also how we’re going to grow. We all take so many different turns, and Shuri does too.”

Part of the conversation, Wright says, was figuring out how the young, “protected” Shuri would handle the heartbreak of grieving her older brother.

“We meet her in the first film, and she is that ray of sunshine. She’s so clothed and protected in royalty and love and proud of her big brother taking this step, following his father’s legacy. And she just wants to create.””I love Shuri in the first one, because there was no limit to her as well. She was the person her brother went to for his protection and his armor, and he encouraged that. Her family encouraged her to be a genius and to be wonderfully made. We follow on from that. What does that look like when your heart is broken?”

Wright Hopes Wakanda Forever Will Resonate with Grieving Fans

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Once Wright and Coogler figured out what was next for Shuri, the actress says she felt she was able to give her character a truthful, “full arc.”

“I think it was just Ryan’s guidance on how do we create a full arc of this human being; of this young woman going through something alongside her fellow family members in general, and Wakandans.

I think the way it was written, and the delicacy and gentleness of how we approached it, [showed that] we always communicated at every step of the way. We were able to bring something that felt real; that felt truthful, and I was able to really give my heart to it and give Shuri a full arc.”

Ultimately, Wright says that she hopes the sequel will bring some healing to the fans that are grieving Boseman alongside his loved ones.

“Hopefully, people can really resonate with that and find some healing alongside us with it,” she said.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives in theaters on November 11.

This story comes to us from ScreenRant.