Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has suffered a long string of difficulties throughout its development. The issues began with the tragic passing of T'Challa actor Chadwick Boseman and have only continued due to the COVID-19 pandemic and reports of troubles on set largely stemming from Shuri actress Letitia Wright, although the details surrounding them remain foggy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Wright was reportedly spreading anti-vax sentiments on the set of the film, leading to viral controversy. Reports even indicated Marvel was considering changing the plot of the film due to these issues, but these tensions appear to have since been resolved. In the midst of all the controversy, filming was forced to temporarily halt on Wakanda Forever as the actress suffered an injury while filming a stunt scene.
Despite all this, Wright remains the top contender to replace Boseman as Black Panther, as her Wakandan genius Shuri is the sister of T'Challa and the woman behind much of the Black Panther's powerful technology. The cast and crew are hush on how Boseman's passing will be handled from a plot perspective, but they have discussed how he impacted the sequel.
Black Panther 2 Star Speaks Out on Filming Controversy
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's Shuri actress Letitia Wright spoke with Variety at the Cannes Film Festival and discussed the controversy surrounding her behavior during filming.
The actress shared her belief in the importance to "keep going strong with what you believe in" and "your desire to impact the world:"
“I’ve learned that in life, you just have to keep going strong with what you believe in, in terms of your talent, in terms of your desire to impact the world with your art, and that’s exactly what I’m doing, and I’m so proud of myself and the movie that’s coming out this year. I’m so proud of it.”
Wright discussed how Chadwick Boseman impacted Wakanda Forever after his passing, describing the film as an "incredible honor" for the T'Challa actor, promising it will be "jam-packed with exciting stuff."
Marvel Studios has yet to reveal how Wakanda Forever will handle the absence of its original lead, as it has remained adamant that they will not recast T'Challa. The sequel has been promised to honor the king and the actor's legacy, with another Wakandan expected to take on the mantle by the time the credits roll.
The Shuri actress explained that they honored Boseman by "committing [themselves] to the story that he started," going on to note how they faced "a lot of difficult situations" during production:
“We honored him by committing ourselves to the story that he started, the legacy that he started with this franchise. And we just committed every day to working hard, no matter what circumstances we faced — and we faced a lot of circumstances, a lot of difficult situations — but we came together as a team, and we poured everything into this movie, so I’m excited for you to see it.”
How Will Black Panther 2 Handle Boseman's Passing
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was initially revealed with Chadwick Boseman back in the starring role, but due to his unfortunate passing, the cast and crew have been placed in a difficult position. The significance of Black Panther in Marvel and the grand box office success of the first film meant the franchise was bound to continue, so Marvel Studios had to work around his absence.
As of now, there's no clear indication of just how the Black Panther franchise will move forward without him or even how it will explain his absence. Many have speculated that T'Challa will, unfortunately, have died in-between Avengers: Endgame and Wakanda Forever, something that was teased in a recent set leak of a monument honoring the hero.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has long promised that the sequel will honor Boseman by continuing to explore the rest of the Black Panther cast. Who knows which of them will replace T'Challa as the Black Panther and protector of Wakanda, but if the comics are any indication, the future appears bright for Letitia Wright's Shuri.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on November 11.