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Ryan Coogler on Revising Black Panther Sequel’s Script

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 08:  (L-R) Ryan Coogler and Chadwick Boseman attend the European Premiere of 'Black Panther' at Eventim Apollo on February 8, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Jeff Spicer/FilmMagic)

The journey to bring “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” to the big screen has been a long one following Chadwick Boseman’s untimely death. The movie’s cast and fans mourned the actor after he died on August 2020, but the long-awaited sequel has powered forward for its Nov. 11 release. Despite not having its beloved star, director Ryan Coogler says Boseman almost had a chance to read what the sequel’s original story would’ve looked like.

“He hadn’t read it,” Coogler told Variety of a rough draft he and coscreenwriter Joe Robert Cole completed in the summer of 2020. Too emotional to finish his statement, Coogler wrote in a notebook, essentially, “He was too tired to read it.” Coogler recalled a similar scenario during the Nov. 3 episode of “The Official Black Panther” podcast, where he shared that “Wakanda Forever”‘s original script was ready for final edits around the time of Boseman’s death.

“I had just finished it,” Coogler said. “My last conversation with [Chadwick] was calling him and asking if he wanted to read it before I got notes from the studio. That was the last time we spoke, and he passed maybe a couple of weeks after I finished . . . He was tired, bro. I could tell he was tired. I’d been trying to get a hold of him for a few days . . . He said he didn’t want to read it, because he didn’t want to get in the way of whatever notes the studio might have, so he was like ‘It’s better if I read it later.’ But I found out later that he was too tired to read anything.”

What Was the Original “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” Script?

According to Variety, the “Black Panther” sequel still contains core elements that were included in the original script. That means Namor would’ve still been the antagonist and the conflict between his homeland and Wakanda would still drive the movie’s plot. But the biggest changes to “Wakanda Forever” are King T’Challa’s (Boseman) death and Letitia Wright’s character, Shuri, having a central role.

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“Letitia was hired because she, No. 1, was a great actor, but No. 2, she provided a levity to the film,” Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige told Variety. “Now the entire weight of the movie and of the kingdom of Wakanda was on her shoulders in the next movie in a way that obviously no one expected.”



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