With production on the upcoming Black Panther 2 on the horizon, the highly anticipated Marvel Studios movie will reunite its cast and crew very soon, albeit without the late Chadwick Boseman. The Marvel star passed away unexpectedly last year and in the time since the House of Ideas announced that they would not be re-casting the part but would still be moving forward on a direct sequel to 2018's billion dollar movie. Cast members like Lupita Nyong’o have spoken before about starring in the follow-up without Boseman but in a new interview the Oscar winner has hinted at how the plans have changed following his untimely passing.
“People will ask me, ‘Are you excited to go back?’ Excitement isn’t the word. I feel like I’m in a very pensive and meditative state when it comes to Black Panther 2. His passing is still extremely raw for me,” Nyong’o told Yahoo! in a new interview. “And I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like to step on set and not have him there... But at the same time we have a leader in Ryan, who feels very much like we do, who feels the loss in a very, very real way as well."
She continued, "And his idea, the way which he has reshaped the second movie is so respectful of the loss we’ve all experienced as a cast and as a world. So it feels spiritually and emotionally correct to do this. And hopefully, what I do look forward to, is getting back together and honoring what he started with us and holding his light through it. Because he left us a lot of light that we’re still going to be bathing in. I know that for sure.”
Coogler himself has opened up about continuing the Marvel franchise without Boseman, previously telling The Hollywood Reporter: "I know Chad wouldn't have wanted us to stop. He was somebody who was so about the collective....On that set, he was all about everybody else. Even though he was going through what he was going through, he was checking in on them, making sure they were good. If we cut his coverage, he would stick around and read lines off-camera. So it would be harder for me to stop. Truthfully. I'd feel him yelling at me, like, 'What are you doing?' So you keep going."
There's been no specific word from Marvel Studios about how they intend to handle the death of Boseman in their narrative, nor who may suit up as the titular hero of Wakanda when the movie is released, but from what Nyong’o says the changes made to their plans are something that will delight and touch everyone.
Black Panther 2 will begin filming this summer and is scheduled to be released in theaters on July 8, 2022.