Last Night Marvel’s Long-Awaited Sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever created and the cast, crew and fans from around the world came together to walk the purple carpet and celebrate the film.
Notably missing was Chadwick Boseman, who tragically died in 2020 after four years of living with colon cancer.
But while he lacked physical form, his spirit lived on through his castmates, who paid him multiple heartfelt tributes throughout the night:
First, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler wore a chain with Chadwick Boseman’s face on it.
He previously shared that grief over Chadwick’s death nearly caused him to give up acting altogether. He said: “I was at a point where I was like, ‘I’m stepping away from this business,’ I didn’t know if I could do another film period, [let alone] another one Black Panther film, because it hurts a lot. I was like, ‘Man, how could I open up to feel like this again?’
Letitia Wright, Chadwick’s on-screen sister, recreated Chadwick’s iconic 2018 Oscars look.
Previously, she shared her reluctance to take on a bigger role in the sequel, saying, “I’ll always have moments of doubt, and I’m like, ‘Oh man, I don’t know if I can do this.’ i could just hear [Chadwick] be like, ‘Sister, you’re awesome. You have this. I’m proud of you.’ It really allowed me to move forward.”
Several attendees – including Ryan Coogler and his wife Zinzi Evans, Chadwick Taylor’s wife Simone Ledward, Lupita Nyong’o and Tessa Thomspon – dressed in white, a color worn at some funerals in Africa.
The color white is also worn by many characters throughout the film. Costume designer Ruth E. Carter said, “In the Ancestral Plane, when T’Challa wakes up and sees his father, he’s wearing white. White is a color that’s worn at many funerals in Africa – it’s either bright red or white – and we chose white because it connects us to Chadwick, to T’Challa.
During a red carpet interview with ABC 7, Lupita Nyong’o said that this sequel is primarily meant to pay homage to Chadwick Boseman. She said: “Our story very well embraces the grief that we felt, and because T’Challa is gone in this story, the real question at the heart of this story is how do we continue after the tragedy, after the loss? And that’s what We needed.”
Danai Gurira also said, “[Chadwick] was the leader through the phenomenon that became the first film. So really, it seems so ingrained in him and rooted in the power of his spirit, his leadership and his generosity.”
Janeshia Adams-Ginyard wore body paint with Chadwick’s image depicted on her back.
Janeshia’s look was also meant to pay homage to her ancestry. On Instagram, in the caption of a video of her removing a cape on the red carpet, she said, “Full body paint like what my ancestors did to acknowledge events.”
Finally, the film’s first single, “Lift Me Up”, was co-written by Tems, Ludwig Göransson, Rihanna and director Ryan Coogler, and is described as “a tribute to Chadwick Boseman”.
In a statement, Tems said, “After speaking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people I’ve lost in my life. I tried to imagine how I would feel if I could sing for them now and express how much I miss them.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters everywhere on November 11.
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