- “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” follows T’Challa’s family as they mourn his death.
- However, director Ryan Coogler told Inverse that the original script focused on T’Challa grieving.
- Coogler said T’Challa was “grieving the loss of time” after disappearing in “Avengers: Endgame.”
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” director Ryan Coogler said the film originally focused on Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa “grieving the loss of time.”
The latest Marvel movie, which premieres next week, follows the fictional African nation Wakanda as they mourn the loss of their king, T’Challa, mirroring real-life events following Boseman’s death in 2020. Coogler and cowriter Joe Robert Cole drafted a new story for the “Black Panther” sequel in the wake of the lead actor’s death.
In a new interview with Inverse, Coogler said the original script would have had a “similar” tone to the final movie but would have followed the aftermath of “Avengers: Endgame.” In the “Avengers” movie, T’Challa was wiped out of existence because of Thanos’ snap along with half the universe. The character had thus lost five years of his life — called the Blip — when he was brought back to life at the end of the film.
“The tone was going to be similar,” Coogler said. “The character was going to be grieving the loss of time, you know, coming back after being gone for five years. As a man with so much responsibility to so many, coming back after a forced five years absence, that’s what the film was tackling.”
He added: “He was grieving time he couldn’t get back. Grief was a big part of it.”
Coogler also said that Namor (Tenoch Huerta) was “always the antagonist” for the sequel movie, despite the story changing.
“There were other characters, for sure, that we considered including,” the “Black Panther” director said. “Namor was always there.”
Boseman died on August 28, 2020, following treatment for colon cancer that he was diagnosed with four years earlier. Last month, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige told Empire that they decided not to recast Boseman because it felt “much too soon.”
In July, Lupita Nyong’o, who played T’Challa’s lover Nakia in the first “Black Panther” movie, told The Hollywood Reporter that it was difficult to film the sequel without Boseman but the process was “very therapeutic.”
“For us as a cast, having lost our king, Chadwick Boseman, that was a lot to process, and in many ways, we’re still processing it,” Nyong’o said. “When you lose someone, I don’t know when you stop missing them. And of course, we felt it so much, making this film without him.”
Nyong’o added: “To make this film against all odds is a powerful statement unto itself, and I am very proud that we did it. It was very therapeutic. It restored a sense of hope for me in making it, and I think we’ve expanded the world of Wakanda in ways that will blow people’s minds — not just Wakanda but the ‘Black Panther’ world.”
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is in theaters on November 11.