Black Panther: Wakanda Forever writer and director Ryan Coogler has revealed how the film’s script changed following the death of its star Chadwick Boseman – and what the movie would originally have centered on.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Coogler explained that Black Panther’s sequel was originally a much more intimate, focused story on Boseman’s T’Challa. Following his death in 2020, however, Marvel decided against recasting the character and Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole instead wrote a different script.
“The script we wrote before Chadwick passed was very much rooted in T’Challa’s perspective,” Coogler said. “It was a massive movie but also simultaneously a character study that delved deeply into his psyche and situation.”
The rewrite would take that original story, acknowedge T’Challa’s death, and instead focus on a different – as yet unrevealed – character’s point of view as they become a new Black Panther. “The Black Panther has existed in Wakanda for centuries, so the notion of someone else picking up the mantle didn’t seem inorganic,” said Wakanda Forever producer Nate Moore. “But once that had to become a reality, then it was, ‘OK, what makes the most sense for the story? Who actually makes the most sense to take this thing on?’”
Though we still don’t have a confirmed name for the new Black Panther hero, the film will focus on their journey as Wakanda comes under threat once again. It doesn’t ignore T’Challa’s (or Boseman’s) death though, as Lupita Nyong’o – who plays Nakia – said the script was rewritten to reflect the mourning of both actor and character.
“Ryan wrote something that so honored the truth of what every one of us was feeling, those of us who knew Chadwick,” she said. “He created something that could honour that and carry the story forward. By the end, I was weeping.”
As for who’s taking on the role of Black Panther, a trailer from earlier in October alongside some leaked LEGO sets all but confirm who it will be, though Marvel has yet to make it official and likely won’t until the film premieres next month.
Ryan Dinsdale is an freelancer. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.