Ryan Coogler, who directed and wrote “Black Panther 2,” remembers wanting to deliver Chadwick Boseman the first draught of the script before the actor passed away.
Soon to be released in theatres is Marvel’s newest film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which is shaping up to be one of the most heartfelt entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon.
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This new picture, directed by Ryan Coogler and written by Ryan and Joe Robert Cole, heralds the MCU’s return to Wakanda and is the second solo Black Panther film following the award-winning Black Panther in 2018.
The absence of T’Challa after Chadwick Boseman’s death in 2020, while significant, pales in comparison to the spectacle of returning to Wakanda and exploring new worlds and characters.
The loss of Chadwick will be incorporated into the film as we see Shuri (Letitia Wright), Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Ramonda (Angela Bassett), and the rest of Wakanda mourn.
Ryan Coogler has stated that the central topic of the film is dealing with loss and moving forward despite it. Ryan told the throngs of Marvel fans in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con 2022 that everyone involved “placed [they are] love for Chadwick into this film.”
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Ryan recently disclosed that the original script for Wakanda Forever was written before Chadwick’s death two years ago, despite the film’s scheduled to release in 2022.
In an episode of Marvel’s The Official Black Panther Podcast, Ryan noted, “I had just finished it.” My last interaction with him was a phone call in which I asked if he wanted to read it before I got studio notes.
That was the last time I saw him, and he died not long after I finished working on it. “He was exhausted, dude. From what I could see, he had been up for a while.
For a few days, I had been attempting to contact him… Clearly, something was wrong. However, he was lighthearted and humorous as he discussed his forthcoming nuptials in South Carolina and the guests he intended to invite.
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Then he claimed he didn’t want to read it because he didn’t want to interfere with the studio’s notes, so he said, “It’s best if I read it later,” Ryan elaborated. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was too weary of reading.
Letitia Wright mentioned Chadwick’s jokes about Black Panther 2 writer Ryan Coogler’s lengthy script in a recent interview with Variety.
Letitia recalled hearing rumors that Chadwick was making light of the script’s length—around 300 pages—despite his serious illness. Ryan’s method consists of “putting it all on paper,” sending it to Chad, and then having a conversation about it.
Obviously, since Chadwick passed away, Ryan had to make some significant adjustments to the script he had planned to show him. In particular, the sequel changed its attention from King T’Challa to Shuri, who is now at the forefront as she adjusts to life without her brother, who has been by her side from the very beginning.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told Variety that “Letitia was selected because she, No. 1, was a wonderful actor, but No. 2, she offered a levity to the film.”
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“Now, in a way that obviously no one imagined, the entire weight of the movie and the kingdom of Wakanda was on her shoulders in the next film.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever retains some “essential elements” from the original script, including the introduction of Namor (Tenoch Huerta Meja) as the film’s antagonist and the setting of Talokan, Namor’s home and an advanced civilisation that competes with Wakanda.
Wakanda Forever may not have been the intended feature.
Still, I do not doubt that Ryan Coogler and this incredible ensemble cast will deliver a masterpiece in tribute to Chadwick Boseman. On November 11, you can see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in theatres.