Replacing the mantle of the Black Panther was never easy, especially when it came to picking who was actually going to do it. The filmmakers of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever had the daunting task of having someone step in for the role after the passing of Chadwick Boseman, and it surely couldn’t be simple to pick the right one.
Not only did they have to worry about honoring Boseman, but they also have to craft something that fits into the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe. Screenwriter Joe Robert Cole tells Rolling Stone that production didn’t take the task lightly. Cole says other characters were considered in the writer’s room as potential replacements.
“We would kick around the ideas, and try to extrapolate where the story goes and what’s the most impactful choice – what’s the best journey? and where do you go after the film in terms of those characters,” says Cole.
He adds the fan-favorite character played by Winston Duke almost landed the role. “M’Baku certainly was someone that got kicked around a little bit. [Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia]. That got kicked around! Her name got kicked around for sure.”
Cole says landing on Shuri as the new hero boiled down to “organic-ness” and the source material: “There’s a natural organic-ness, I guess is the best way to say it, to her becoming Panther [because of what happens in the comics]. But you kick the tires on all sorts of ideas. And you just want to make the best decision and do what’s best for the story.”
The choices have seemingly paid off as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has now passed $675 million worldwide and still has a while to go before Avatar: The Way of Water enters the box office battle.
In Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba), fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever reunites Ryan Coogler with his Black Panther stars Danai Gurira (Okoye), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Winston Duke (M’Baku), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Florence Kasumba (Ayo), Angela Bassett (Ramonda) and Martin Freeman (Everett Ross), while new additions include Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams/Ironheart, Tenoch Huerta as Namor, Michaela Coel as Aneka, Mabel Cadena as Namora and Alex Livanalli as Attuma.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in cinemas now.