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Last week, it was reported that production on Marvel Studios' Black Panther sequel — Wakanda Forever — would be taking a short hiatus in order for actress Letitia Wright to recover from an on-set injury.
This development led to renewed speculation over whether Wright's character, Princess Shuri, will take on the mantle of Black Panther from her brother, T'Challa (played by the late Chadwick Boseman). Even if this is true (and all the signs seem to be pointing in that comic book-accurate direction) the follow-up from writer/director Ryan Coogler won't forget the immense impact left by Boseman, who tragically passed away in August 2020 after a secret battle with Stage IV colon cancer.
“I think this movie has a different sort of pressure on it," MCU producer Nate Moore explained during a recent appearance on ComicBook.com's Phase Zero podcast, where he discussed Eternals and upcoming projects. "Obviously, with the loss of Chadwick, which was unexpected and unprecedented in a way narratively to figure out how to deal with. So, beyond, ‘Hey, we want to make a big, fun time’ … It’s: 'How do we do right by his legacy and tell a story that isn’t exploitative?' — which we would never ever do — 'but build on the things that he loved about the property and build on the things that he brought to the property in a way that is enjoyable, feels real, feels earned, feels organic?' Because I think people are gonna see the movie in two lenses: pure entertainment, but also cathartic. We have to be conscious of both of those lenses as we’re making it."
Moore's comments reinforce the assurances already made by other Marvel executives/producers like Kevin Feige and Victoria Alonso, who previously promised to honor Boseman by not recasting T'Challa or resurrecting the character with a body double and CGI trickery.
“It’s clearly very emotional without Chad,” Feige remarked over the summer. "But everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We’re going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud."
"It feels spiritually and emotionally correct to do this," cast member Lupita Nyong’o (reprising the role of Nakia, T'Challa's close friend and confidant) said in the spring. "And hopefully, what I do look forward to, is getting back together and honoring what he started with us and holding his light through it. Because he left us a lot of light that we’re still going to be bathing in. I know that for sure.”
Danai Gurira (Okoye), Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda), Winston Duke (M'Baku), Martin Freeman (Everett K. Ross), Dominique Thorne (Riri Williams/Ironheart) round out the main cast.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is currently scheduled to hit the big screen on Nov. 11, 2022. It was recently moved out of its original slot of Summer 2022.