Lupita Nyong’o, Born In Mexico, Opens Up About Speaking Spanish In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

After the shocking death of T’Challa’s Chadwick Boseman, this meant that the women of Wakanda for the Black Panther sequel would be taking over the reins of the franchise. Ever since the first Black Panther, it’s been apparent that Lupita Nyong’o’s character Nakia had changes made to her character allowing her to be more than T’Challa’s love interest. This Mexican-born actress got the opportunity to show off her Spanish-speaking skills in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

We first heard Lupita Nyong’o speak a different language in the last Black Panther movie when she introduced audiences to her never-before-seen Korean skills in a scene that took place in Busan, South Korea. In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, reported the Kenyan-Mexican actress speaks Spanish in it as her character digs information from mutant superhuman Namor. Speaking to EW, she called this opportunity “a straight gift.”

I was so excited about it. It was just a straight gift. And I was very, very happy to do it... I've always wanted to work in Spanish and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that that opportunity would come in Black Panther.

The 12 Years a Slave actress was born in Mexico City to two Kenyan parents in 1983. At the time Nyong’o was born, her father was a visiting lecturer in political science at El Colegio de México in Mexico City. After growing up in Kenya, her parents sent her to stay in Mexico when she was sixteen to learn the country’s native language. During those seven months, Nyong’o took classes at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México's Learning Centre for Foreigners. Clearly, those Spanish lessons paid off well and must have been a real treat for her to present to audiences her multilingual skills on the big screen.

Another person who would have been happy to hear his co-star speaking Spanish in the Black Panther sequel would have been Chadwick Boseman. Director Ryan Coogler told EW that the Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom actor encouraged there to be more diversity in the franchise, particularly indigenous American representation. He was so happy about the idea that audiences would never see this representation coming. This proves that even in death, Chadwick Boseman continues to be an inspiration to the Black Panther cast.

Despite having to “reshape” the Black Panther sequel after the unexpected death of the last film’s Marvel hero, the sequel went forward with some amazing results. Critical reviews have said the movie has done a great job moving forward despite the death of T'Challa. Critics gave the sequel props for not having this Wakanda native’s death take over the entire story and still providing a focus on the individual journeys of the remaining Wakanda leaders. It didn’t shock anyone that it was hailed as a box office champion its opening weekend at $175 million in North America. It broke records for having the biggest opening weekend ever for a November release and the third-biggest worldwide opening during the pandemic era behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Spider-Man: No Way Home. I’d like to think Chadwick Boseman would be very proud of the sequel’s success.

We already knew Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o had a real mastery of the craft of acting. Now, audiences will get a glimpse at her Mexican heritage when she introduces her Spanish-speaking skills in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. See for yourself this new Marvel movie in theaters now.

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.