Chadwick Boseman Widow Inspired ‘Black Panther 2’ Role


  • Lupita Nyong’o said she was inspired by Chadwick Boseman’s widow, Simone, for the sequel.
  • The star plays T’Challa’s love interest, Nakia, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 
  • “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” revolves around the death of T’Challa.

In 2020, fans around the world were heartbroken by the news that Chadwick Boseman had passed away after secretly living with colon cancer. And many were left wondering how his absence and legacy would affect the future of his character, T’Challa, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” directly addresses the death of T’Challa and how that loss impacts those who loved him, like Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), and his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett). 

That grief is a key part of the story, and it’s something that Lupita Nyong’o first struggled to work into her performance.

The actor explained to The Hollywood Reporter that it was hard losing her costar and she “couldn’t even imagine” what it would be like to be in that situation.

Nyong’o said: “It was very hard to lose Chadwick. He was not to me what he was to Nakia. I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to go on after losing the love of your life.”

However, the actor was inspired by Boseman’s widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, and how she carried herself during a memorial for her late husband.

Nyong’o added: “I remember at his memorial service witnessing Simone, his wife — Chadwick’s actual wife — and I just bore witness to the strength that she possessed.”

The star went on to say that she was shocked at how “grounded” Simone was in that moment, and when it came to preparing to reprise her role as Nakia, Nyong’o thought about Boseman’s widow.

“And I remember being so shocked because I was broken and here she was just with a real… She was so grounded, she was like an Oak [tree]. When I was getting ready for Nakia, I thought about her a lot, you know.”

Simone herself recently opened up about the heartbreaking loss when speaking to Whoopi Goldberg, saying: “It has been the most challenging two years I have ever had in my life.”

But Simone made a point to say she felt “lucky” for her time with her husband, adding: “I can’t believe that I got to love this person and I also got him to love me too.”

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is in theaters now.

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