Ryan Coogler on Making Wakanda Forever Post-Boseman Death


Florence Kasumba, Angela Bassett, and Danai Guira in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Image: Marvel Studios

As the weeks until Black Panther: Wakanda Forever grow shorter, the biggest question is what kind of film we’re getting in the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s passing. On a meta level, we know that it’ll be about the film’s characters reacting and coming to terms with the loss of their king, similar to how the real life cast and crew felt while making the film. But for those thinking that the current iteration of the November film will be some grand departure from the original film, director-writer Ryan Coogler said that isn’t really the case.

Speaking to Empire MagazineCoogler revealed that Wakanda’s central question would be “How do you carry on in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds?” Back when Boseman (and by extension, T’Challa) was alive, that question also drove Coogler’s original pitch, which he said was “spiritually very similar” to that of the final film. Following Boseman’s death, the question continued to guide the movie, but under a new light, with Coogler admitting “it became super relevant when we lost our brother.” Comparing the cast as a band and Boseman as their lead singer, he continued that making the film required him to make a film that would highlight their talents even more than the original 2018 film. “For me, it was like, ‘How do I figure out a song that they can still get up there and sing?’, in light of what we were dealing with.”

With Wakanda Forever now putting T’Challa’s supporting cast in focus—including sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett), and partner Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o)—there was trepidation among the cast going forward. Nyong’o confessed to having dread, especially in light of Coogler telling her what the film was first intended to be. “Once we lost him, the thought that we could go on, it was just unfathomable to me,” she said. Those fears were later assuaged once Coogler explained his vision for a film that would honor Boseman and T’Challa, which she called “utterly truthful and beautiful. By the end of it, I was in tears.”

Also starring Winston Duke, Michaela Coel, and Tenoch Huerta, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will release in theaters on November 11.


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