Black Panther 2 star Winston Duke shut down reports that Letitia Wright taking an anti-vax stance caused issues on the MCU film's set.
These controversial reports started popping up when Wakanda Forever was deep into production late last year after word started to come out that Wright had refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
This led to rumors of Marvel supposedly parting ways with the star (something that has been proven false) and the studio reportedly "[changing] the ending" to the Black Panther sequel. While none of this has been 100% confirmed, it has led to plenty of conversation amongst the creative team and cast behind the Marvel Studios epic.
According to reports, the entire story was "a pain" for Marvel Studios, but no one from the Hollywood giant has come out and said that publicly.
The latest of Wakanda Forever's stars to broach the anti-vax question is M'Baku actor Winston Duke, who has completely refuted all of it.
Winston Duke on the Letitia Wright's Anti-Vax Controversy
In an interview with Esquire, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Winston Duke broached the subject of the controversial Letitia Wright anti-vax reports from the production of the MCU blockbuster.
Duke said the topic of an anti-vaccination stance "[was] not anything [that] ever come up." He expounded by saying, "It’s also not anything I’ve ever seen or experienced any problem with her on set" aside from some "third-hand reports in the media:"
"One, it’s not anything that’s ever come up... It’s also not anything I’ve ever seen or experienced any problem with her on set. Other than third-hand reports in the media, I never even knew she had this position.”
The M'Baku actor noted that "there wasn’t anything where it was like, ’We can’t do something today ’cause Letitia can’t be here,’" definitively stating, " “We’ve never had an on-set problem with Letitia and her alleged stance.”
In the same interview, Wakanda Forever producer Nate Moore complimented Duke for his work on the film, calling the actor meditative because of "energy in his performance" He compared the actor to a "boxer" in how he "[took] rests and resets before getting back out for the next take and delivering the goods:"
“I think because he uses so much energy in his performance that, like a boxer, between takes he rests and resets before getting back out for the next take and delivering the goods.”
Moore noted that the entire cast had this "recognition of shared trauma:"
“There was recognition of shared trauma. You could look across and say, ‘Danai [Gurira] is going through something similar; I’m not the only one having this. Letitia’s going through something similar, and I can feel it.’ ”
He spoke on the "willingness to be more patient" amongst the entire cast and crew, as the team tackled filming a movie both during a pandemic and in the wake of the death of a creative partner and friend:
“There was always the willingness to be more patient, the willingness to be patient with the creative team, with Ryan, with this very unique situation that no one could control.”
How Real Was the Black Panther 2 Controversy?
Just taking the various quotes from the cast and crew of Black Panther 2, one would assume that Letitia Wright's anti-vax stance was a complete non-story. But for those observing the news back when rumblings first came out, it is hard to look at all the evidence and not have conflicted feelings about the whole thing.
The facts are that Wright did share a video promoting anti-vaccination sentiments on her Twitter page in late 2020. Whether that bled onto the set of Wakanda Forever during filming in 2021 is a question that may never have an answer. But, at one point or another, she did have these thoughts going through her mind.
Wright has never fully denounced the anti-vax stance. She has spoken on the subject saying that she thinks it's important to "keep going strong with what you believe in" and "your desire to impact the world."
But everyone who has spoken out on the reports has completely downplayed the entire ordeal. Producer Nate Moore said vaccination status was "not a question we asked anybody, to be quite honest," noting the star's "injury was the thing that cost" the film production time.
So whether Wright's anti-vax stance was ever real or deeply impacted the production of Wakanda Forever will likely never be fully addressed (at least by the people closely involved). And if it ever was, it doesn't look to have impacted the actress' future in the MCU.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in theaters worldwide now.