Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Ryan Coogler Reveals What Was Planned For The Movie Before Chadwick Boseman’s Death

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is weeks ago from hitting theaters. From the trailer, the blockbuster sequel is expected to be both joyous and somber for Marvel fans. Of course, those fans will miss Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa when the film drops. No one understands that more than Wakanda Forever’s director Ryan Coogler. Losing Boseman in 2020 not only affected the MCU, but the overall story of the franchise in the same breath. With the sequel around the corner, Coogler revealed what was planned for the movie before Boseman’s passing.

Having to shift his vision for the Black Panther sequel led to Coogler nearly quitting his filmmaking career. The director already mentioned filming without the late actor would be the hardest thing for him professionally. Losing his leading man and friend was sad for him on various levels. Before Boseman’s unexpected passing after a private cancer battle, the Fruitvale Station director wanted to delve more into T’Challa the man. Coogler spilled to THR what he had in store for the King of Wakanda in the original Black Panther 2 script.

The script we wrote before Chadwick passed was very much rooted in T’Challa’s perspective. It was a massive movie but also simultaneously a character study that delved deeply into his psyche and situation.

Looks like fans were going to learn more about T’Challa after opening Wakanda up to the world. Delving more into the man would’ve been an excellent way to connect the viewers with the Wakanda king even more. It would’ve been nice to see how Coogler put the microscope on the character while taking the full dive into the MCU.

Coogler recalled his co-writer Ryan Cole retooling the sequel to “honor the truth” the cast and crew were feeling about the Oscar-nominated actor’s passing. The filmmaker mentioned the revised script honors Boseman’s memory while moving “the story forward.” After the story was completed, Coogler and company started to film the sequel. But the circumstances were different compared to the first film as COVID-19 protocols and Boseman’s death led to the cast and crew spending less downtime together. Facing so much adversity turned the film set into a therapy session for the returning cast and the director. In his words:

Art can be therapeutic, but the process of therapy can be painful, at times tortuous. But also at times calming and rewarding. It was all of those things. Sharing that with the cast, who were also in grief, they granted me a lot of grace.

Giving himself and the cast grace allowed everyone to deal with the late MCU star’s absence on the set. The environment became a safe place where the cast and crew could pour their grief into creating an amazing body of work. While some Marvel fans were pushing for the recasting of T’Challa, it was too soon for those who worked with and knew Chadwick Boseman personally. Of course, the cast agreed with Marvel’s decision to not recast with co-star Winston Duke expressing his excitement over the decision. Lupita Nyong’o expressed she couldn’t see another actor as the King of Wakanda despite online petitions pushing for it. So, the cast wasn’t on board for anyone replacing Boseman.

Seeing T’Challa’s story in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame would’ve been an interesting exanimation of the character. Unfortunately, fans won’t get that story… for now. Along with returning cast members like Duke and Nyong’o and Ryan Coogler back behind the camera, the sequel introduces Marvel characters like Riri Williams and Namor into the MCU fold. Viewers will get to see who is taking up the Black Panther mantle when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives in theaters on November 11. The Black Panther sequel serves as Phase Four’s official sign-off as upcoming Marvel movies, starting with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in February 2023, are entering Phase Five.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).