When the untimely passing of Chadwick Boseman was announced at the start of pre-production for the sequel to Black Panther, the challenges of creating a follow-up without the star seemed insurmountable.
Director Ryan Coogler explains that Boseman’s passing was “shocking“ and “devastating emotionally”, yet the production continued without the star, the character, or a sense of how to move the story forward.
Coogler says that “We really had to take time to grieve for a person that we know [and because] Chad was very much our artistic partner in this. Chad was very much our partner in this project and in this franchise and in this storytelling.”
The story morphed into “a new theme kind of surfaced for us of grief and loss and how do you move forward, after losing someone that meant so much to you. We had to think about what the world would be if similar events took place, but his character had passed away before they transpired and that was kind of how we came up with the screenplay we ended up going forward with in terms of making it.”
Co-writer Joe Robert Cole says that “We all were in agreement that we didn’t want to recast [the role] and we wanted to find a way to speak to the wonderful man he was just outside of his immense talent.”
Cole also calls Boseman the film’s “north star” which “Let’s let the movie embrace the passing of this great hero but also celebrate the world he left behind and very much the story of what did these characters in Wakanda do when their king and their patriarch and their brother and their son are gone.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in theaters November 11, 2022.