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Wakanda will endure no matter what happens — it’s right there in the title, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — but it’s a very different place without King T’Challa. And the characters who live in Wakanda are different, too, as Letitia Wright, who plays T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri, promises that we’ll see a very different side of the character than we saw in 2018’s Black Panther.
As a sad consequence of Chadwick Boseman’s death in August 2020, Wakanda Forever, which opens in theaters on Nov. 11, will not feature T’Challa, the character he helped make so iconic. Though the specifics have not been revealed, T’Challa has died in the fiction of the MCU, too, which means that Wakanda is in mourning — Shuri especially, which is quite a change from her debut appearance.
“We meet her in the first film and she is that ray of sunshine. She's so clothed and protected in royalty and love. [She’s] proud of her big brother for taking the step, following in his father's legacy. She just wants to create,” Wright said at a press conference attended by SYFY WIRE ahead of the film’s release. “And I love Shuri in the first one because there was no limit to her, as well."
“It was like she was the person her brother went to for his protection, his armor. And he encouraged that. Her family encouraged her to be a genius and to be faithfully and wonderfully made,” Wright continued. “So, we follow on from that. What does that look like, when your heart is broken?”
Though certainly not devoid of the joy she was so full of in the first movie, Shuri is indeed much more somber and glum for much of Wakanda Forever’s runtime. That makes sense — she’s lost somebody dear to her, after all. Wright credits Ryan Coogler, director and co-writer of both Black Panther films, with helping to harness those natural feelings of grief and creating “a full arc of this human being.”
“We were able to bring something that felt real, that felt truthful,” Wright said. “And I was able to really give my heart to it and give Shuri a full arc."
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in theaters Nov. 11.
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