Black Panther 2 director Ryan Coogler discusses the changes made after Chadwick Boseman’s passing and the Endgame-focused story for T’Challa.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever writer and director Ryan Coogler reveals that the original plans for the sequel focused heavily on following the events of Avengers: Endgame. Coogler Directed 2018’s Black Panther starring actor Chadwick Boseman in the titular role as T’Challa/Black Panther, which was both a commercial and critical success, even becoming the first comic book film to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Boseman returned to the role in . a few months later Avengers: Infinity War and got blipped like many other characters, only to return in endgame, securing T’Challa’s place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
A sequel to at the end of 2018 Black Panther was announced to be in development with Coogler returning to write and direct. However, after Boseman’s tragic passing in 2020, many fans wondered what that meant for the Black Panther character. Marvel president and producer Kevin Feige later confirmed that T’Challa’s role would not be recast despite the sequel still moving forward and this left many fans questioning the decision as many believed there was still more story to tell with the T’ Challa character and that it would be a missed opportunity not to build on the legacy Boseman has created with his portrayal. Many also wondered how the franchise planned to continue without the main character, but based on the trailers for Black Panther: Wakanda ForeverIt appears that Coogler intends to honor Boseman’s legacy while also shining more light on other pre-existing characters like Letitia Wright’s Shuri, and introducing new ones, such as Tenoch Huerta’s Namor.
In an interview with InverseCoogler discusses how challenging it was to set the tone and story of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to deal with Boseman’s passing, compared to his original idea. It seems he was able to keep many of the core themes and ideas from his original plans, but did note that his sequel was meant to focus more on the events that followed. Avengers: Endgame and T’Challa’s struggle to be gone. View the full quote below:
“The tonal shift, I will say, was less of a shift than in [casting]. The tone would be similar. [T’Challa] would mourn the loss of time, you know, coming back after being gone for five years. As a man with so much responsibility for so many, returning after an enforced five-year absence, that’s what the film tackled. He mourned the time he couldn’t get back. Grief was a big part of that. [Namor] was always the adversary. There were definitely other characters we considered including. Namor was always there.”
How Black Panther 2 keeps the ideas of the original script
Based on Coogler’s comments, it appears that despite Boseman’s loss, the script hasn’t undergone a drastic shift in tone and story. Coogler mentions that the story was originally intended to follow T’Challa Avengers: Endgame as he copes with the grief of being away for five years and the responsibilities he must bear upon his return. The theme of mourning is something that seems to remain a heavy accent in the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailers, though rather than T’Challa’s own grief, it’s other characters’ grief over him. Plus, the fact that Namor was always the planned antagonist for the film is proof that Coogler didn’t have to make a major shift with the film’s central threat, which may pose Namor as a villain who attacks characters at their most vulnerable points.
It’s a shame fans won’t be seeing more of T’Challa and how his story would develop in the future of the MCU. That said, it should also be reassuring to know that the direction Coogler has taken with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever managed to convey at least part of the story he had always planned. Audiences can only hope that the sequel will feature the same strong themes and nuances that made the first film so memorable when it hits theaters November 11.
Following: Complete Breakdown Of Black Panther’s New Suit In Wakanda ForeverSource: Inverse