It’s honestly still a shock to think that Chadwick Boseman is no longer with us, taken away far too soon after a hard-fought (and entirely private) battle with cancer. In the meantime, Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige has tasked returning director Ryan Coogler with the seemingly gargantuan responsibility of moving ahead with the Black Panther franchise in Boseman’s honor. Now, Entertainment Weekly reports that star Angela Bassett is giving us some brief insight into the numerous changes necessitated by Boseman’s irreplaceable loss for the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
The Only Constant Is Change
Having portrayed T’Challa’s mother Ramonda in the first film, Bassett’s presence in the sequel will likely bring an emotional heft to the proceedings. That doesn’t mean she’s privy to all the details, of course, as the famously anti-spoiler Marvel machine is still firing on all cylinders. And for a franchise that’s used to adapting on the fly, the singular circumstances of Wakanda Forever may be providing a unique challenge. Apparently, changes and revisions are still ongoing even though production officially began back in June. In Bassett’s own words, “I don’t know what it’s going to look like at all. There have been about five incarnations of the script and I hear another one’s coming.”
Marvel typically relies on a robust system of rewrites and scheduled reshoots on either end of production to bring each film to the finish line, but it’s understandable that things would seem to be slightly more complex when it comes to the highly-anticipated Black Panther sequel. Wakanda Forever will certainly be under an intense microscope of scrutiny from start to finish and, even more so than other MCU entries, it’s in everyone’s best interests — Boseman certainly not least of all — that the filmmakers get this right. Bassett goes on to talk about doing justice to Boseman’s legacy:
“Of course, with our dear king [Boseman] going on to glory, a lot of things had to be shifted and changed. So, thankfully, [director] Ryan [Coogler] and [writer] Joe Robert Cole, they’re just such masterful storytellers that they’ve found a way into this world and hopefully it will be satisfying, I think, for the fans and it will be honorable of our Chad. We love our king.”
Dealing with Tragedy
Sadly, filmmakers scrambling to change course after a movie star’s death seems like an all-too-common occurrence. Lucasfilm recently had to make similar adjustments in the wake of icon Carrie Fisher’s passing before production of The Rise of Skywalker had begun in earnest. In that instance, the well-meaning filmmakers and studio brass may have picked the most misguided option possible by attempting to scrap together a posthumous performance for Fisher, compiled from leftover bits of deleted scenes from The Force Awakens. Thankfully, Marvel has already assured us that they will not recast Boseman’s role or, presumably, use any deleted footage or digital trickery to bring Boseman’s T’Challa back.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is currently filming and will likely bring back much of the original cast. Expect it to drop on July 8, 2022.
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