The story and screenplay of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever had to be changed. Without its main character, it took more than a simple rewrite to make the sequel work. But while the script had to change, the tone didn’t change as much as one might think, according to director Ryan Coogler in a new interview with Inverse.
Chadwick Boseman propelled Marvel’s Black Panther film to the top of the movie charts, making it one of the highest-grossing films of all time and turning what was long considered a B-tier character into a household name. Then, in 2020, he died of colon cancer. Neither the film’s cast nor Marvel Studios executives were willing to consider recasting the character of T’Challa.
“The tone should be similar,” Coogler said of the original Wakanda Forever script. “[T’Challa] I would mourn the loss of time, you know, coming back after he’s been gone for five years [after the ending of Avengers: Infinity War]. As a man with so much responsibility for so many, returning after an enforced five-year absence, that’s what the film spoke of. He mourned the time he couldn’t get back; Grief was a big part of it.”
Some important details have been preserved from the original screenplay. Namor the Sub-Mariner “was always the antagonist,” Coogler said. However, other things had to change.
“Who the protagonist was, the protagonist’s flaws, what the protagonist was dealing with in their journey, all of those things had to be different because we lost him and the choices we made to move forward,” said Coogler, the called Wakanda Forever without Boseman “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my professional life”.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to be a box office hit, grossing $175 million or more in its first weekend alone. Wakanda Forever also stars Angela Bassett, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright and Winston Duke. Ryan Coogler directed the film and co-wrote it with Joe Robert Cole. The film debuts on November 11th.
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