Black Panther’s Martin Freeman On How ‘Strange’ It Is To Plan Wakanda Forever Without Chadwick Boseman

Martin Freeman as Everett Ross in Black Panther

When actor Chadwick Boseman died it shocked millions. The actor had largely kept his battle with cancer secret so many did not know what it was he was dealing with and were not aware how serious it had gotten. For his fans, it meant never getting a chance to see the accomplished actor make a new movie, and that included, many assumed, the planned sequel to Black Panther. That film, now officially titled Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is moving forward, and while we're all wondering just how we'll get a Black Panther without Black Panther, one star of the film knows the answers, and he admits the whole thing is a little strange.

Martin Freeman, who plays the role of CIA agent Everett Ross, recently appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden and Freeman spoke a little bit about the upcoming film. The actor recently had a meeting with writer/director Ryan Coogler where Coogler took him through the story of Wakanda Forever, and it seems Freeman could not hide his shock at where the new movie is going. According to Freeman...

I had a zoom call with Ryan Coogler the director and co-writer about seven or eight weeks ago, I suppose. He meticulously took me through all my character’s beats in the film. He took me through the film, incorporating my character’s beats. Some of it was very odd. He could see by the reaction on my face, some of the things he was saying. My face must have been going (shocked face) like that a lot. He kept sort of stopping and going ‘Stay with me, but this is going to work.’

So just on the face of it, it sounds like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is going to be a wild ride, but in many ways that's to be expected. While we know that we're getting a Black Panther sequel, it's been made clear that the role of T'Challa is not being recast. Chadwick Boseman won't return using CGI or anything like that. But that means that the movie will have to find some way to deal with his absence. It's very likely the entire movie itself will be about the fact that T'Challa is gone.

And Martin Freeman admits that when he learned of Chadwick Boseman's death, he assumed that the planned Black Panther 2 simply would not happen. Now that it is, he hopes the movie is able to do justice to the legacy of the first film, which Boseman was largely responsible for.

It’s a very strange thing. When Chadwick passed last year I suppose after the initial shock of that the next thing was ‘So I guess we’re not doing it. That film won’t or can’t happen again.’ So Marvel came to us shortly afterwards and said ‘Obviously this is a dreadful thing, but we’re going to go on.’ So that was the plan from a while ago. The hope is that we do the first film justice, and we do Chadwick’s legacy on it justice.

Considering just how much Black Panther meant to so many people the sequel was going to have a high bar to clear even if things had gone as initial expected. Now the cast and crew have even more work ahead of them and even higher expectations to make something special. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will arrive in theaters July 8, 2022.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.