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When Shuri is finally ready to pounce next year, fans may feel like they’ve waited forever for the hugely anticipated sequel to Black Panther. Work on the film has just hit another significant snag — though in this case, Marvel reportedly says it won’t affect the film's already once-delayed release date.
Marvel and Disney reportedly have halted production on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to allow breakout MCU star Letitia Wright (Shuri) more time to fully recover from the injury she sustained on the film’s set back in August. It’s a temporary but necessary measure “due to the severity of the injury” that Wright suffered two months ago while doing stunt work in Boston for the sequel, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Since Wright’s injury, director Ryan Coogler reportedly has continued filming as much of the movie as possible, minus her participation, from Marvel’s main set in Atlanta. But, the report notes, Coogler “is said to have shot all footage that his crew is able to without filming Wright’s scenes.”
That means there’s not much to do but give Wright whatever additional time she needs to recuperate all the way — something fans of Shuri, as well as the Oscar-winning first film, can no doubt get behind. “Letitia has been recovering in London since September from injuries sustained on the set of Black Panther 2 and is looking forward to returning to work early 2022,” Wright’s representative said in a statement, via the report. “Letitia kindly asks that you keep her in your prayers.”
Even by MCU standards, Black Panther shook up the Marvel movie-verse with ferocious box office success and enormous critical acclaim when it debuted just ahead of Avengers: Infinity War in early 2018. As King T’Challa (aka Black Panther), the late Chadwick Boseman carved out a definitive performance as one of the brightest stars among the MCU’s next generation of big-screen heroes, before his life tragically was cut short in August of last year.
But Wright’s smart, capable performance as Shuri, T’Challa’s scientist sister, was hardly less of a fan (and critical) favorite. In the comics, Shuri herself has taken up the mantle of the Black Panther, though we do not know if the films will follow that arc. But if it does, that could explain how Wright was injured on set. It ain't easy being a superhero action star, after all.
The original Black Panther surged to the top of the box office, grossing $1.3 billion worldwide and earning 7 Academy Award nominations. Of those, the movie ended up taking home three Oscar statues (for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score).
As it stands, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever reportedly will pause production beginning at Thanksgiving, with the studio eyeing “early 2022” for a restart. THR cites “insiders” who say that, despite the temporary shutdown, the movie is still on track to hit its release target of Nov. 11, 2022 — a date already pushed three months from its originally scheduled July 8, 2022 date.