The Women Of Black Panther Speak Candidly About Preparing For Wakanda Forever After Chadwick Boseman's Death

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

When Black Panther was released in 2018, the world watched in awe as Chadwick Boseman saved Wakanda as the Black Panther. When the actor died in 2020, the world mourned over the loss of an icon. Now, with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever up next in Marvel’s upcoming releases, the women of the movie are opening up about what it was like to prepare for the highly-anticipated sequel without the man who was supposed to lead the franchise forward. 

Many involved with the movie have been incredibly candid about what it’s been like going through this process without Boseman as King T’Challa. The film’s director, Ryan Coogler, honored him by giving a touching speech saying he could feel the actor's presence on stage at San Diego Comic-Con. One of the film’s stars, Winston Duke, spoke about the “gaping hole” Boseman’s absence created on set. Now, in an interview with The New York Times, more of the movie’s stars, including Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira, spoke about how they each prepared for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Nyong’o has said filming was “therapeutic,” and she recently spoke again about this process, saying: 

Let me speak for myself. There was a lot of stillness, reflection, prayer and meditation to bolster me up as emotionally, mentally and spiritually as possible. It was a unique experience to step back into this world without our leader. When you have a sophomore film, there’s a lot of expectation. But I think the loss of Chadwick kind of took all that away. I found myself having to radically accept that this was going to be different, and that showing up with as much openness as possible was key.

While we only know the basics of the Black Panther sequel's plot, what we do know about Wakanda Forever is that it will honor Boseman’s legacy and explore the major other characters in Wakanda more. Letitia Wright spoke about how her character Shuri is coping with her brother T’Challa’s death

Danai Gurira in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

As for the actress herself, Wright talked to NYT about how the process of coming back was “spiritual.” She also mentioned how she connected a lot with Danai Gurira, who plays Okoye. Gurira agreed with Wright, elaborating on how grief played a role in her process with these words:

There are ways that you as an artist can try to have some control over what you’re stepping into. And for me, a lot of that is the training we do as the Dora Milaje. But it was also clear that there was another journey that we had to take. I remember sitting with Ryan, and he helped me process what felt different this time: It was grief. So grief intermingled with our process. There were things I couldn’t prepare for, like stepping into the throne room and remembering the last time I was there and getting really hit by that. And then, as Letitia said, we leaned on each other.

While sad, it’s been beautiful to see all the care the cast and creatives behind this movie have put into the sequel, for Chadwick Boseman and for Black Panther. Just looking at the Wakanda Forever trailer, it became clear his presence would still be felt during the movie in a massive way. This collective love for each other and Boseman has been imprinted on Wakanda Forever, and we will all get to honor the great actor, character and the entire team behind one of the most anticipated movies of 2022 starting on November 11. 

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.