Marvel Studios is only a few weeks away from bringing Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to the big screen, closing out the MCU's Phase 4 efforts. But this movie will, unfortunately, be without the MCU's original Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa; Boseman tragically passed away in August 2020 following a long and grueling cancer battle.
Later that year, Marvel announced the team's decision to not recast the role of T'Challa for Black Panther 2, instead making the sequel a tribute to the actor and character's legacy within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While this has certainly caused a great deal of controversy across parts of the MCU fandom, this story hopes to honor Boseman's memory as the world of Wakanda continues to expand.
But with Black Panther 2 having been in development nearly since the original film released, there was a concrete idea for what this new movie would have been if Boseman were still alive today. Now, the details about that original story have come to light, teasing what was in store for the late actor behind the King of Wakanda.
Original Black Panther 2 Script Details Revealed
The Hollywood Reporter spoke with the cast and crew from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever about what the original script for the movie included before starring actor Chadwick Boseman's death in 2020.
Nakia star Lupita Nyong'o expressed how much things changed after losing somebody so integral to the lot, making it clear that "the world rotated around (Boseman):"
“Losing your centerpiece, everything changed. When you say the world rotated around him, it revolved around him, it did.”
Director Ryan Coogler also added that the sequel was originally "rooted in T'Challa's perspective," describing the story as a "character study" while also bringing the usual Marvel action and adventure.
The script that he worked on with co-writer Joe Robert Cole had put a great deal of attention on Boseman's character along with T'Challa's evolution as a leader, with Wakanda continuing to find its place as a public figure in the world after the first movie:
“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.”
After deciding to move forward in Black Panther 2 without T'Challa, Marvel Studios VP of Production & Development Nate Moore expressed that it felt natural in a way to have "someone else picking up the mantle." But after that became the decision, everything had to make sense in terms of the plot and story as well:
“The Black Panther has existed in Wakanda for centuries, so the notion of someone else picking up the mantle didn’t seem inorganic. But once that had to become a reality, then it was, ‘OK, what makes the most sense for the story? Who actually makes the most sense to take this thing on?’ All of the characters in the film have a different idea of who should don the mantle and why.”
Nyong'o also tackled the conversation of who the new Black Panther is going to be, but she admitted that it would be a foolish decision to reveal the answer:
“If I told you that, I might as well just … swim into the ocean and never be seen again.”
Chadwick Boseman's Character Study of Black Panther
While Chadwick Boseman had appearances in four MCU movies throughout the Infinity Saga, none of them had the chance to focus too heavily on who he was as a character. Even in his own solo feature, 2018's Black Panther, the movie had the tall order of introducing fans to an entirely new world in the MCU while bringing a number of important heroes and villains into the forefront for the first time.
This time, Boseman would have gotten the opportunity to truly dive into a deep story in a post-Avengers: Endgame adventure that set Wakanda on a new path toward prosperity within the Marvel narrative.
But now, Boseman's co-stars will have the immeasurable task of carrying this movie as a team while keeping the memory of T'Challa and Boseman alive to close out the MCU's Phase 4 slate. And while it's still a mystery how the Black Panther will continue making an impact in the franchise after this sequel, Marvel will put every effort into making sure Wakanda shines the way it deserves to.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will premiere in theaters on Friday, November 11.