The 2020 death of Chadwick Boseman from cancer at age 43 was a surprise to his millions of fans, as well as his Black Panther family.
When Marvel Studios decided not to recast his role, director and co-writer Ryan Coogler wove grief into the script of the anticipated sequel Wakanda Forever: Boseman’s T’Challa loses his life off-screen at the movie’s open. The loss leaves Wakanda without its protector; his mother, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), without her son; and his sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), without her big brother.
Wright said at a recent press conference, “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 fearfully and wonderfully made. So we follow on from that [in the sequel]. What does that look like when your heart is broken?”
Wright adds, “I think the way it was written and the delicacy … of how we approached it, we … were able to bring something that felt real, that felt truthful. And I was able to really give my heart to it.” She hopes viewers can “really resonate with that and find some healing” alongside the cast and characters.
Danai Gurira reprises as Wakanda’s fiercely loyal Dora Milaje General Okoye, whose character is also changed by the events in the movie — as the actress was by Boseman’s death. The Walking Dead veteran says anchoring her was the goal of honoring Boseman. “He loved to see us shine and loved to see us do our thing … And he would always give us so much encouragement about doing great things, and he had such great taste. So, you know, I think that was really an anchoring aspect throughout the process.”
Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.