The hotly anticipated Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has found itself in an interesting position from day one, before cameras even started rolling on the MCU sequel. Its star, Chadwick Boseman passed away from colon cancer in August 2020. Now, Kevin Feige and the rest of Marvel Studios have been forced to respectfully move the franchise along without him.
Recently, the film was pushed back from its then-currently held release date to November 22, 2022. According to Feige himself, this shift was caused by issues with production.
Reports have also surfaced of actress Letitia Wright, who plays T'Challa's younger sister and tech genius, Shuri, being injured on set and production on the movie being halted until she's recuperated. Currently, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is pausing production due to the lead star's accident, aiming to resume filming in early 2022.
Now, it would seem there's an added layer to these complications,
Wright May Not Be Allowed Back On Set
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wright is "not vaccinated" against the COVID-19 virus, despite rules requiring all "non-immigrant, non-citizen air travelers... to be fully vaccinated." On top of that, she is recovering from injuries she sustained in Massachusetts during the shoot. As Letitia Wright is not a United States citizen, she may encounter issues returning to the states once the sequel resumes filming in Atlanta early next year.
A rep for Wright goes on to add:
“Letitia has been recovering in London since September from injuries sustained on the set of Black Panther 2 and is looking forward to returning to work early 2022. Letitia kindly asks that you keep her in your prayers.”
Could This Spell Trouble for Black Panther 2?
The long and short of this matter seems to be that if production is to continue on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Letitia Wright must return to set in the U.S., and in order for that to happen, she must also be fully vaccinated. Whether this will happen remains to be seen, although it may force her hand.
It's also unlikely that they could simply write Shuri out of the film, as rumors have swirled that the character will pick up her brother's mantle as Black Panther. Whatever the case may be, the film is already deep into production, and it would be extremely difficult to get rid of Shuri altogether at this stage in the game.
Fans will likely be crossing their fingers that everything works out for the best.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will hit theaters on November 22, 2022.