Black Panther 2 Lupita Nyong'o

Black Panther 2 is a highly-anticipated sequel that’s bound to also be difficult for many people. The sudden death of star Chadwick Boseman has left the film with an unfillable absence, and many are wondering just how director Ryan Coogler will continue the series in the wake of Boseman’s passing. Coogler has already spoken about the challenges involved with moving forward, and now co-star Lupita Nyong’o is speaking about what it’s going to be like to make the sequel without Boseman.

Talking with Yahoo, Nyong’o, who plays Nakia in the Black Panther series, revealed some of her thoughts and feelings about continuing on without star Chadwick Boseman, who died in 2020. “People will ask me, ‘Are you excited to go back?’ Excitement isn’t the word,” Nyong’o said. “I feel like I’m in a very pensive and meditative state when it comes to Black Panther 2. His passing is still extremely raw for me. And I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like to step on set and not have him there.”

Rather than recast Boseman’s role, or bring him back via digital trickery, Black Panther 2 is instead moving on without him. It’s unclear exactly how that will work at the moment, but according to Nyong’o, writer-director Ryan Coogler’s approach to the sequel is respectful to Boseman’s loss. “But at the same time we have a leader in Ryan, who feels very much like we do, who feels the loss in a very, very real way as well,” she said. “And his idea, the way which he has reshaped the second movie is so respectful of the loss we’ve all experienced as a cast and as a world. So it feels spiritually and emotionally correct to do this. And hopefully, what I do look forward to, is getting back together and honoring what he started with us and holding his light through it. Because he left us a lot of light that we’re still going to be bathing in. I know that for sure.”

In a previous interview, Coogler said: “You’ve got to keep going when you lose loved ones. I know Chad wouldn’t have wanted us to stop. He was somebody who was so about the collective. Black Panther, that was his movie. He was hired to play that role before anybody else was even thought of, before I was hired, before any of the actresses were hired. On that set, he was all about everybody else. Even though he was going through what he was going through, he was checking in on them, making sure they were good. If we cut his coverage, he would stick around and read lines off-camera [to help other actors with their performances]. So it would be harder for me to stop. Truthfully. I’d feel him yelling at me, like, ‘What are you doing?’ So you keep going.”

Black Panther 2 is scheduled to arrive on July 8, 2022.

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