Daniel Kaluuya on Whether He’s Returning for Black Panther 2: “Whatever the Story Needs”

Daniel Kaluuya doesn't yet know if he's reprising his role as W'Kabi of Wakanda in Black Panther II, revealing in a new interview he's satisfied with "whatever the story needs." The Get Out and Judas and the Black Messiah star was not among the Black Panther cast members named in a November update on the sequel moving forward after the death of leading man Chadwick Boseman, who died in August aged 43. According to THR, who previously revealed a planned summer shooting start, Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, and Angela Bassett will rejoin writer-director Ryan Coogler for Black Panther II, with Wright's Shuri expected to take on a "more prominent role."

"I have no idea. I speak to Ryan, I'm not gonna go, 'Yo, [put me in the movie].' He's living his life and working hard," Kaluuya told Jemele Hill when asked about returning as W'Kabi, best friend of Boseman's T'Challa, in the Black Panther sequel. "Whatever the story needs, you know? That [first movie] was a moment for us, and I don't want to go like, 'I'm trying to be in it just because I want it.' It's for us, I'm a fan."

Kaluuya added, "I'm that kind of person if the story and the piece is better without me, I'm like, 'Yo, I'm gonna watch this,' because I really wanna watch it. And if I'm in it and I'm able to serve it, then I'm in it. And I just stay in that position."

Marvel Studios head and Black Panther producer Kevin Feige recently confirmed the studio would not recast Boseman's character and would instead "continue to explore the world of Wakanda and all the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film." Marvel is also moving forward on a Coogler-produced Kingdom of Wakanda series for Disney+, a spin-off television series set within the African kingdom once ruled over by Boseman's King T'Challa.

On the sequel continuing onward without Boseman, Kaluuya said it's "going to be a huge loss."

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"He was the center. He was the glue. It's going to be a huge loss," Kaluuya said. "That's going to be felt, you know? But I feel the way, when I've spoken to people part of the cast and the energy and the character of everyone, everyone is ready to honor what he gave in that moment. We can't even put our head around what he gave in that moment, to us and to everyone. So I feel everyone's ready to honor him and suit up, but the loss is unquantifiable."

Danai Gurira and Martin Freeman are also expected to reprise their roles in Black Panther II, which reportedly added Tenoch Huerta (Narcos: Mexico) as an as-yet-revealed antagonist in late 2020. Black Panther II is scheduled to release in theaters on July 8, 2022.