Black Panther: Wakanda Forever director and co-writer Ryan Coogler has opened up about what the highly-anticipated Black Panther sequel would have looked like had the late, great Chadwick Boseman been able to participate.
While speaking with Inverse, Coogler revealed that his original vision for a sequel to 2018’s Black Panther involved the trials and tribulations faced by King T’Challa/Black Panther (Boseman) in the aftermath of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Like many others across the Marvel Cinematic Universe, T’Challa was lost to Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) snap in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War before returning in Endgame amid the event that would come to be known as “the Blip.”
“The tone was going to be similar,” Coogler said of his original draft for Wakanda Forever. “The character was going to be grieving the loss of time, you know, coming back after being gone for five years. As a man with so much responsibility to so many, coming back after a forced five years absence, that’s what the film was tackling. He was grieving time he couldn’t get back. Grief was a big part of it.”
Grief remains a major aspect of Wakanda Forever, though the final film instead focuses on the grief faced by Wakanda in the aftermath of T’Challa’s death. Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole began re-writing the film after Boseman tragically passed away on Aug. 28, 2020 at the age of 43 following a secret battle with colon cancer. That said, while the Black Panther sequel now has a different plot and main protagonist, elements from Coogler’s original draft are still present in the final product.
Namor Was Always in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
For instance, Coogler had intended for Wakanda Forever to mark the MCU debut of Namor the Sub-Mariner from the very beginning. “There were other characters, for sure, that we considered including,” the director said. “Namor was always there.” In the Black Panther sequel, Namor is played by Tenoch Huerta.
Promotional material for Wakanda Forever strongly implies that T’Challa’s technologically-minded younger sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), will take up the mantle of Black Panther following her brother’s death. The film itself centers on a conflict between Wakanda and the underwater kingdom of Talocan, which is ruled by the aforementioned Namor. The Sub-Mariner isn’t the only Marvel Comics character making their MCU debut in Wakanda Forever, however, as Riri Williams/Ironheart (Dominique Thorne) is also set to appear in the film ahead of her Disney+ solo series.
Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever releases in theaters on Friday, Nov. 11.