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Marvel's Phase Four is well on its way, with Black Widow, Shang-Chi and Eternals armed and ready for their 2021 debuts, the next Tom Holland Spider-Man movie currently shooting and Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder expected to start rolling its cameras at the top of 2021. As Marvel continues to lay out its production schedules for the next year, Black Panther 2 has reportedly found itself a window to begin filming in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ryan Coogler’s return to Wakanda to follow up the Best Picture nominated cultural phenomenon, previously announced as Black Panther II last summer, is moving forward with a July 2021 production start date, per The Hollywood Reporter. The Atlanta production is said to last at least six months. Marvel has yet to comment on the plans for the project, and at this point, it’s unclear what the vision is for another Black Panther following Chadwick Boseman’s tragic passing three months ago.
The Black Panther II update also mentions a possible newcomer to the cast. Tenoch Huerta of Narcos: Mexico fame is in talks to play one of the villains in the movie, which will also star Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Angela Bassett. Word on the street is Wright’s Shuri could have a “prominent role” in the sequel, but that's purely outside speculation at this point.
Since Chadwick Boseman died back in August after a private four-year battle with colon cancer, the Black Panther cast and crew have made it a point not to move forward regarding Black Panther 2 conversations. Last month Letitia Wright said this when prompted about what could be next for T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri:
We’re just still mourning Chad, so it’s not something I even want to think about. The thought of doing it without him is kinda strange. We’re just grieving at the moment, so it’s trying to find the light in the midst of it.
If reports of Black Panther 2’s production sticks, the cast would return to their roles nearly a year after Chadwick Boseman’s death. with Marvel and Ryan Coogler having decided to go forward with another Wakandan epic, this start date also gives them ample time to reframe the storyline Coogler had been working on to move forward without Boseman. Last week, Marvel executive Victoria Alonso made it clear that the studio was not planning to include a digital version of Chadwick Boseman in future movies. In her words:
No. There's only one Chadwick, and he's not with us. Our king, unfortunately, has died in real life, not just in fiction, and we are taking a little time to see how we return to history and what we do to honor this chapter of what has happened to us that was so unexpected , so painful, so terrible, really… I know that sometimes two months go by or three months go by in production and one says, already, it was a long time. But it is not a long time, we have to think carefully about what we are going to do, and how, and think about how we are going to honor the franchise.
Even with a production start date in place, Marvel could still have Black Panther 2 on pause or is actively deciding the next steps to take. We’ll keep you updated here on CinemaBlend. Check out the upcoming Marvel Phase Four slate, beginning on the film side of things with Black Widow coming out on May 7, 2021.