Black Panther Wakanda Forever makers on coping with Chadwick Boseman’s death: ‘We were able to build that sense of community’

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the sequel to Marvel Studios’ Academy Award-winning film Black Panther (2018), is all set to release in India on November 11. Wakanda Forever has had an unimaginably difficult journey as the original film’s lead actor Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer in August 2020. He was 43.

Chadwick’s death was an overwhelming loss for the film’s director Ryan Coogler, who was still developing the screenplay for the sequel, which also forced him to introduce major changes to the story.

In a recent virtual press conference, Coogler mentioned how he felt “a sense of loneliness” during the pandemic. He also opened up about how the film’s team coped with Boseman’s loss.

He said, “It was just great to see everybody again, to catch up and to see how everybody had grown. We were also coming off of a pandemic. We actually started the film, like, right smack in the middle of it. I think everybody experienced a sense of loneliness during the years that followed the crisis. And it was just great to see some of these folks and give them a big hug again.”

The director then revealed how he and the film’s team coped with Chadwick Boseman’s death. “We were all processing the grief and loss. But it’s also great when you don’t have to do it alone. We were able to build that sense of community and we were able to welcome new members. So, it was awesome. It was awesome. I really feel grateful.”

Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, who was also part of the press conference on Zoom, shared that Chadwick Boseman’s death came as a shock.

He said, “The shock turned into, well, you know, what do we do? What should we do? Should we do anything? And I think relatively soon, it was determined that this amazing ensemble of characters and this world that had been created needed to continue.”

Feige then revealed that Coogler initially had Boseman’s T’Challa as a part of the sequel. However, he reworked the film after the actor’s death.

“Ryan pours everything and all of himself into everything he does. He had been working for almost a year on a version of the movie with T’Challa in it. He was finding and pouring his life experience from making the first movie into that. And then when we lost Chad. All of that, obviously, was then poured into this movie, as well. And keeping the idea of a celebration of Wakanda and the character at the forefront, in addition to the grief that, of course, is gonna come with that,” Kevin Feige shared.

Nate Moore, one of the producers of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, opened up about how the film’s team took the story ahead without Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa. He said, “I think, as storytellers, you just want to be as honest as possible with what the characters would experience in the film after they experience the loss of T’Challa. And that is not just grief.”

“It’s also sometimes joy, sometimes humor. It is all of the emotions anyone feels with any profound loss. But we had such a collection of talent and such a collection of characters, who all have a different point of view on that loss, that I think Ryan found ways to express all the different colors of grief through the ensemble. And that’s not just the Wakandans, by the way, who definitely feel it, but it’s the loss that Namor and the Talokan feel because of the loss of their homeland,” Nate added.

“So, I think Ryan was savvy enough as a filmmaker and storyteller to weave all those themes across the entirety of the film. Which is, I think, why hopefully the film will be powerful for people,” he concluded.

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