On November 11, the world of Wakanda will return to the big screen, but this time, without its king. This story set to play out on screen strongly mirrors that of reality as the cast and crew of Black Panther had to carry on with the sequel without their title star and friend, Chadwick Boseman.
Following Boseman's passing in 2020, the future of the Black Panther franchise was in question. In the end, director Ryan Coogler and Marvel Studios chose to move forward with Black Panther 2 and a story about the loss of Boseman's T'Challa and how Wakanda learns to move on.
But now, Marvel fans are learning how the Black Panther family privately paid tribute to Chadwick Boseman even before the cameras rolled.
The Black Panther 2 Cast Visited Chadwick Boseman's Grave
As reported by Empire, Ryan Coogler and the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever collectively visited Chadwick Boseman's final resting place before filming began.
The fact that the cast's visit coincided with that of Boseman's brother seemed, according to Ironheart's Dominique Thorne, felt as if it was orchestrated by Chadwick himself.
In reflecting on the journey to the late actor's grave, Nakia's Lupita Nyong'o explained that the pilgrimage "was essential:"
"It was essential to have that moment to physically go and pay our respects, and to be with members of his family gave me an emotional allowance to step back into that world in a way that I couldn't have known I needed until I was there."
As for Dominique Thorne, who's a new addition to the Black Panther cast, she "can't imagine having started this journey any other way:"
"By remembering and saying the name of the people we've lost, we continue to add power to their name. And that's exactly what we did that day by telling and hearing stories about him. I can't imagine having started this journey any other way."
Is Black Panther 2 Marvel Studios' Most Personal Film?
While the Black Panther cast has been intentional in publically paying their respects to Chadwick Boseman and continuing to keep his name at the forefront, it's touching to hear how they did so privately and together.
The fact that the timing of their group visit just happened to be when the actor's brother was visiting appears to have made the journey all the more powerful and personal for everyone.
Learning how newcomer Dominique Thorne heard stories about Chadwick from his own family was particularly poignant and makes for a heartfelt welcome into the Black Panther family.
It sounds as if this experience gave her insight into who Chadwick was in real life and not just as an actor, while also granting her the best and most grounded way to begin her own story with this film.
The first trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which was released at San Diego Comic-Con, was hailed for its power and emotion. No doubt the experiences of the cast had something to do with that.
Now, it's no secret that Black Panther 2 was always going to be an important film. Learning just how personal this story proved to be for Ryan Coogler and the cast suggests that this upcoming film may be one of the most powerful and important films of the MCU to date.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres in theaters on November 11.