Martin Freeman Says Filming Black Panther 2 Was Strange And Sad Without Chadwick Boseman

It's impossible to state what Chadwick Boseman's performance as T'Challa, the Black Panther, meant to the world. Ryan Coogler's groundbreaking addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, "Black Panther," was a global phenomenon. It remains the highest-grossing film directed by a Black filmmaker, the first superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and it turned Chadwick Boseman into an icon. Unfortunately, Boseman tragically passed away in 2020 at the age of 43 after a silent battle with colon cancer. Marvel promised that Boseman's role would never be recast out of respect for the late actor, which left audiences concerned about what the sequel, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," would have in store without the King of Wakanda.

In a recent interview with Collider, "Black Panther" co-star Martin Freeman specifically praised director Ryan Coogler for managing to craft a compelling follow-up, while everyone was clearly feeling the absence of Boseman. He also commented on his character, Everett Ross, and offered some thoughts on how he foresees the character continuing to exist in the MCU. As he tells it, there are so many more stories to be told in Wakanda, even if the King is no longer with us. Freeman also discussed how it felt returning to the MCU for "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," without Boseman. As can be expected, the experience was as heartbreaking as it was fulfilling.

Freeman says the experience was strange and sad

Continuing a franchise is hard enough, but there's never been a situation quite like "Black Panther" and Chadwick Boseman ever before. "It was strange, that side of it," said Freeman. "On the one hand, you're making the film that you're there to make, and there are scores and scores of people on set, joined in this endeavor to make the film, but there's also no question that, at the heart of it, there's quite a gap now, and you felt it." The plot of "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" has been kept tightly under wraps, but all signs point to Coogler continuing the story as respectfully as possible. "With full respect to Ryan Coogler and everybody else, who's sweating and bleeding to get this thing done properly, it was fun," said Freeman. "But I like playing Everett Ross."

Freeman's character serves, as Freeman put it, "nicely simpatico" for the story. He described the character as a good guy and a fun character to play, but even still, it was "odd" without Boseman on set. "There's no way around that," Freeman said. "I think everyone would find it pretty strange and sad, but at the same time ... things don't just end." As painful as it is to admit, Freeman is right. "When he passed, I thought, 'Okay, well maybe there just won't be another one,' but there are still other stories to tell within that world and other great characters." He continued, "I hope that we've made a good film. I trust Ryan Coogler a lot."

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" comes to theaters on November 11, 2022.