The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever global press conference gave us some wonderful and heartbreaking insight into the making of the newest Marvel Studios film. The press conference featured Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Tenoch Huerta, Mabel Cadena, Alex Livinalli, Ryan Coogler, Kevin Feige, and Nate Moore. During the conference, naturally, the conversation went to the late Chadwick Boseman and his impact on the film. Producer Kevin Feige had the first comment on Boseman’s passing.
In my memory of it, it was, the shock turned into, well, you know, what do we do? What should we do? Should we do anything? And I think relatively soon, it was determined that this amazing ensemble of characters and this world that had been created onscreen needed to continue.
And Ryan pours everything and all of himself into everything he does, and had been working for almost a year, Ryan, right, on a version of the movie with T’Challa in it. And was finding and pouring his life experience from making the first movie into that. And then when we lost Chad, all of that, obviously, was then poured into this movie, as well. And keeping the idea of a celebration of Wakanda and the character at the forefront, in addition to the grief that, of course, is gonna come with that.
Tenoch Huerta plays Namor in the film and he had a unique perspective on why it was hard to come into the character.
It is tricky, when you have a character like this, because you are the antagonist. A lot of people feel identification with Wakanda, and I’m include myself in Wakanda, and the narrative and representation and everything. So, now I have to play the bad guy who destroy [laughs], or try to destroy that legacy. And but at the same time, I think Ryan, the script, and, you know, he found a way to make it human, to justify why that people do that kind of thing.
Shuri goes through a change in the film from happy-go-lucky and sheltered to being thrust into a conflict between Atlanteans and Wakandans. Letitia Wright had some interesting thoughts on Shuri and how she deals with T’Challa’s death.
We all take so much different turns. And Shuri does, too. We meet her in the first film and she is that ray of sunshine. She’s so clothed and protected in royalty and love. And proud of her big brother taking the step, following on his father’s legacy. And she just wants to create. And I love Shuri in the first one because there was no limit to her, as well.
I think the way it was written and the delicacy, the gentleness of how we approached it. We always spoke, we always communicated, at every step of the way. And we were able to bring something that felt real, that felt truthful. And I was able to really give my heart to it and give Shuri a full arc.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever releases in theaters on November 11th.
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