Marvel star Winston Duke has detailed the difficulty felt by himself and the rest of the cast when returning to the world of Black Panther without Chadwick Boseman. Speaking with ScreenRant, Duke revealed what it was like returning to set for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever without Boseman being there, heaping praise on the late, great actor and describing his absence as leaving “a gaping hole.”
“The first week of set was really jarring. Not having Chadwick there, personally, was incredibly profound and very potent. He’s one of those people that never needed a lot of attention. When he’s very present, he doesn’t ever take up a lot of space, but his entire gravitas had no border. You know what I mean? It was everywhere. Not to have that person there physically was a gaping hole. And we had a lot of grief on set, I’ll be honest with you.”
The first trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was released during San Diego Comic-Con and proved to be a profoundly emotional experience for both the cast watching and Marvel fans. Following Boseman’s untimely death in August 2020, it was decided that the role of T’Challa would not be recast. Instead, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will begin with the character’s death, with the footage paying tribute to both Boseman and T’Challa.
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Introducing the trailer at SDCC, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler spoke of showing the trailer for the first movie to Boseman, saying, “He was right next to me, and he was excited. And he grabbed my left shoulder with his hand. He was just squeezing down on my shoulder the whole time,” adding “I promise you that I can feel his arm on my shoulder right now.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Will Pay Tribute to Chadwick Boseman
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has also discussed how Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will honor Chadwick Boseman, saying that the actor’s legacy will be felt throughout the upcoming sequel. “He is,” Feige replied when it was pointed out that Boseman’s spirit was “pulsing” through the cast during the SDCC panel. “And [director] Ryan Coogler had some beautiful words at the top of the panel about feeling Chad on his shoulder still. The last time we were all together on that stage, Chad was with us, and it was beautiful.”
The recently released synopsis for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has also teased how much influence Chadwick Boseman and T’Challa’s passing will have on the plot of the movie. “In Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,’ Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba), fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death,” the synopsis reads. “As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled to be released in the United States on November 11, 2022, as the final film in Phase Four of the MCU.