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Lupita Nyong'o says that T'Challa's death in the MCU is "not the death of the Black Panther"

The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever actor shares her thoughts on continuing the character's legacy

Black Panther Wakanda Forever
Image credit: Marvel Studios

If fans worried about the prospect of Marvel Studios making a Black Panther movie without Chadwick Boseman’s title character, they can rest assured somewhat knowing that the cast of the movie had exactly the same concerns. A new profile of Lupita Nyong’o reveals the worries felt by those behind the scenes of the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

“Every time I thought about what the next Black Panther could be, my imagination fell short,” Nyong’o is quoted as saying in the Hollywood Reporter piece. “Even just talking about Black Panther in the midst of still grieving Chadwick, it was really complicated emotionally to do.”

The actor said that what Coogler had done to retool the sequel — which had originally been what the writer/director described in the piece as “a massive movie but also simultaneously a character study that delved deeply into [T’Challa’s] psyche and situation” — was enough to convince her that a second Black Panther movie could be made without Boseman, while honoring him in the process.

“Ryan wrote something that so honored the truth of what every one of us was feeling, those of us who knew Chadwick,” she said. “He created something that could honor that and carry the story forward. By the end, I was weeping.”

Nyong'o also addressed suggestions that T'Challa should be recast for future movies, as well as the idea that his death would end the Black Panther lineage. “That is not the death of the Black Panther, that’s the whole point,” she said, adding that the new movie is "is laying to rest [T’Challa] and allowing for real life to inform the story of the movies. I know that there are all sorts of reasons why people want him to be recast, but I don’t have the patience. I don’t have the presence of mind, or I don’t have the objectivity to argue with that. I don’t. I’m very biased.”

The most recent trailer for the movie demonstrates that there’s definitely a Black Panther in Wakanda Forever, however, and that it’s a woman — but as to whether or not Nyong’o’s Nakia — who is, as the first movie demonstrated, no slouch when it comes to getting into, and out of, trouble herself — will be the new Black Panther in the movie, she’s playing coy: “If I told you that, I might as well just … swim into the ocean and never be seen again.”

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens November 11.

It’s not all Wakandan drama in the next Black Panther movie, of course; don’t forget that Namor the Sub-Mariner is going to show up, as well.

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Graeme McMillan

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Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.
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