Black Panther: Wakanda Forever‘s story and script had to change. Without its main character, more than a simple rewrite was going to be necessary to make the sequel work. But while the script had to change, the tone didn’t change as much as you might think, according to director Ryan Coogler in a new interview with Inverse.
Chadwick Boseman took Marvel’s Black Panther film to the top of the movie charts, making it one of the most highest-grossing movies of all time and turning what was long considered a B-tier character into a household name. Then, in 2020, he died of colon cancer. Neither the film’s cast nor Marvel Studios brass were willing to consider recasting the character of T’Challa.
“The tone was going to be similar,” Coogler said of the original Wakanda Forever script. “[T’Challa] was going to be grieving the loss of time, you know, coming back after being gone for five years [after the ending of Avengers: Infinity War]. As a man with so much responsibility to so many, coming back after a forced five years of absence, that’s what the film was talking. He was grieving time he couldn’t get back; grief was a big part of it.”
Some major details remain from the original script. Namor the Sub-Mariner “was always the antagonist,” Coogler said. Other things had to change, though.
“Who the protagonist was, the flaws of the protagonist, what the protagonist was dealing with in their journey, all of that stuff had to be different due to us losing him and the decisions that we made about moving forward,” said Coogler, who called making Wakanda Forever without Boseman “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my professional life.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is expected to be a box office hit, making $175 million or more during its first weekend alone. Wakanda Forever also stars Angela Bassett, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, and Winston Duke. Ryan Coogler directed the film and co-wrote it with Joe Robert Cole. The film debuts on November 11.
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