Hollywood's blockbusters are shaped and molded by the events of the outside world, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a perfect example of this. The Black Panther follow-up was set to be another Marvel Studios sequel until the untimely passing of star Chadwick Boseman shook the movie-making world.
With the death of Boseman came a number of big questions for Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler as well as creative brass at Marvel Studios. Fans and even the movie's stars have been vocal about having been in that dark about the project. Star Angela Bassett said back in August she "[didn't] know what it's going to look like at all" but, despite "a lot of things [having] to be shifted" praised Ryan Coogler and writer Joe Robert Cole for their work.
It has also been noted that Coogler has "reshaped" the film since the loss of Boseman, and things are coming together. The film is set to hit theaters in mere weeks, but fans still do not know exactly what kind of changes behind the scenes needed to happen to get the project off the ground post-Boseman.
Well, if some new quotes from the film's director are to be believed, there were fewer than one would think.
Ryan Coogler Addresses Wakanda Forever Changes
In a new interview with Empire, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler addressed the changes to the sequel's script that had to be made after Chadwick Boseman's tragic passing.
The director says the original script featuring T'Challa was "spiritually very similar" to what the final version of the sequel would become post-Boseman. He noted the theme of the film has always been, "‘How do you carry on in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds?" Something that "became super-relevant when [the world] lost our [Boseman].”
Coogler touched on what his thoughts were after the passing of the MCU's T'Challa, stoically saying "Maturity is about being faced with impossible questions, and still making a choice and moving forward.” So he saw one way forward, which was gathering the supporting cast and asking "How do I figure out a song that they can still get up there and sing?" in light of such tragic circumstances.
In the same interview, Wakanda Forever star Lupita Nyong'o admitted she "didn’t have doubts – [she] had dread,” when it came to moving forward with the film. She said that Coogler had " walked me through what the film was going to be when Chadwick was still alive" and after losing her co-star " the thought that we could go on, it was just unfathomable to [her]."
However, Nyong'o revealed that the altered script Coogler "ended up sharing with [her] was just so utterly truthful and beautiful."
What Changed in Wakanda Forever?
Of course, after the passing of Wakanda Forever's leading man, there were going to have to be changes made to the sequel. But what exactly do these moves actually look like?
Everyone involved has had nothing but good things to say when it comes to these changes. And Coogler himself has alluded to a sense of purpose when it came to making this film, in honoring the legacy of Boseman.
Surely there have been parts of the film that have remained the same and as Coogler mentioned the overall theme has remained largely the same. But it cannot be an easy task re-writing a project after losing its main character. Luckily, however, the director has an excellent supporting cast to pull from and lean on in this time of change.
The biggest change that will obviously be having to do with the passing of the Black Panther mantle. Many have speculated that Letitia Wright's Shuri will be the one to take over for her on-screen brother, and that would make a lot of sense. All signs on the production front have pointed to her donning the mask by the end of the movie.
As for the rest of the film, sure it feels like Coogler and co. will be leaning into the idea of legacy a little more, and maybe relying on that theme of carrying on will become a little more prevalent than was originally planned. But it all seems ready to service a film that will be as much an MCU sequel as it is an honorarium to one of the franchise's most beloved actors.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever comes to theaters worldwide on November 11.