As the sequel to the highest-grossing installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that isn’t an Avengers movie, not to mention a cultural phenomenon and the first comic book blockbuster to ever land an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, expectations were already through the roof for Black Panther II long before tragedy struck.
Kevin Feige has confirmed that the role of T’Challa will never be recast following the passing of leading man Chadwick Boseman, and the character thankfully won’t be recreated using CGI, either, but Ryan Coogler’s second visit to Wakanda still has to move the mythology forward and tell a standalone story while paying tribute to the monumental legacy the actor left behind.
It’s a difficult and unenviable position for the cast and crew to find themselves in, with shooting set to start in just a few months in order to meet next July’s release date. And in a new interview, star Lupita Nyong’o admitted that it’s going to be a tough and hugely emotional experience making Black Panther II without Boseman, though she noted that Coogler has some exciting ideas in store for where to take the franchise.
“You know, in true Marvel form, I have nothing to tell you. It’s gonna be different, of course, without our king, to go back into that world, but I know that all of us are dedicated to re-imagining or carrying on his legacy in this new Black Panther. And Ryan Coogler has some really, really exciting ideas that I look forward to bringing to life with the rest of the family.”
There’ve been plenty of rumors and speculation surrounding the next character to assume the mantle of Black Panther, but so far, Narcos: Mexico star Tenoch Huerta’s mystery villain is the only major new name announced for the cast, as Coogler and his team keep things under wraps for the time being.
Nyong’o’s Nakia, Winston Duke’s M’Baku, Letitia Wright’s Shuri or even Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger could all conceivably end up stepping in as the title hero, but we won’t know for sure what direction Black Panther II is heading in until production gets underway.