When a person loses a loved one, you never fully recover. But ultimately you you need to go forward. And that was one of the many dilemmas the cast and crew of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever had. What do you do in the sequel to a film whose star, Chadwick Boseman, died tragically? Are you recasting the role? Do you even make the movie?
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io9 spoke with wakanda forever producerNate Moore, who said these conversations happened—but this Marvel likely would have canceled the movie entirely before recasting Boseman’s role as T’Challa. He, with co-writer and director Ryan Cooglerexplained to us that the biggest challenge of the film was to maintain the balance between respecting the characterof passage, and also a fun action movie. Watch a video of the filmmakers below, followed by the rest of the article.
“[Chadwick’s] the transition was sudden. It really hit us,” Moore told io9. “And you think maybe we should stop. Admittedly, sequels are not a mandate. Many films have existed as one-offs and they are fantastic. Maybe Black Panther just lives on its own bubble. And then you start having the other conversation, which is that it meant so much to people. And… even Chad, I think, knew it could mean as much as it did to people while we were doing the first one.
“So it was the conversation of, ‘Okay, if we’re going to do it, how can we do it respectfully,'” Moore continued. “How can we do this in a way that we as storytellers can also engage and spend the next two years of our lives bringing to life something we believe in? Doesn’t it leave a bad taste in your mouth? And that’s why the redesign was never really considered, to be honest. Let’s use this energy and tell a story that could honestly help us in the healing process, and potentially help the audience when watching it understand what happened, and also see a way forward, and also see that it is not just about loss, but about transformation and renewal.
It all sounds very heartfelt and lovely but, remember, this is Marvel Studios, a company known for making some of the most elaborate sci-fi action films of all time. How could Black Panther: Wakanda Forever balance this action with the story of the loss?
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“It was the job, actually,” Coogler told io9. “Trying to find a way to deal with the theme and simultaneously still-present while achieving what we set out to achieve, which is a heart-pounding geopolitical thriller action movie. We wanted it to be those things, but also work as a believable drama, a believable character study about the concept of loss and how complicated it is to navigate and stuff like that.
The director explained that during every phase of production, the idea of the film being both of those things was on everyone’s mind. “It was work… during the writing phase and the work that the actors and I did during the production phase and the whole crew and even right through to editing,” Coogler said. “I’m just trying to make sure we’ve struck the right balance. The whole process has always been a balancing act. It was always intentional that the film could tick all of those boxes, so to speak.
Wakanda Black Panther Forever hits theaters November 11.
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