Here's What We Know About Ryan Coogler's Original Black Panther 2 Script With T'Challa

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is a film with a lot riding on it. Not only is the movie set to mark the end of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it's also a follow-up to 2018's "Black Panther," a massively successful film both critically and financially. (It became the first superhero film to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture.) The anticipation for the sequel was just gearing up when director Ryan Coogler first shared a May 2022 release date for the then-untitled sequel at D23 2019. Unfortunately, the sequel Coogler teased at the time wouldn't come to fruition. The death of actor Chadwick Boseman would lead the filmmaking team to rework the film, with the script being rewritten.

Following Boseman's passing, Marvel president Kevin Feige revealed that Marvel Studios would not recast the role of T'Challa to honor the actor's memory. "Wakanda Forever" has made it clear in its promotional material and marketing that T'Challa's passing is set to be the emotional driving point of the film. Still, we can't help but be curious about how much of the final product changed and what the film might have been like had Boseman had the opportunity to step into the role of the King of Wakanda again. Now we actually have some insight into what that original plan looked like.

Delving deep into the psyche of T'Challa

In a profile of Lupita Nyong'o inĀ The Hollywood Reporter, Ryan Coogler provided some insight into what the sequel's original script had been like when T'Challa was still the main character of the film:

"The script we wrote before Chadwick passed was very much rooted in T'Challa's perspective. It was a massive movie but also simultaneously a character study that delved deeply into his psyche and situation."

Much of the first "Black Panther" film followed a similar pattern of exploring the psyche of T'Challa as he came to terms with his new role as King of Wakanda. It's safe to assume that the initial script for "Wakanda Forever" would have followed that same pattern and explored how T'Challa would react to going up against a fellow leader, Namor (Tenoch Huerta), who is the ruler of his underwater nation of Talocan. Whereas Killmonger was an antagonist who represented the sins of the past, the threat of Namor and his nation would have most likely been (and probably still is) about the fate of Wakanda's future as a nation and T'Challa's place as its leader.

However, it's important to note that the "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" film we'll get this November isn't too far conceptually from the original story. Coogler himself said in an interview with Empire that the original script was "spiritually very similar" to the sequel we're now getting. While the situation behind the scenes that led to the changes is tragic, we can have faith that Coogler and the rest of the team behind the film will carefully honor what came before.