Ryan Coogler, the director of both Black Panther and its upcoming sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, has revealed what the sequel would have been about before Chadwick Boseman’s passing in 2020. In an exclusive interview with Inverse, Coogler explained that an original draft of the story was always going to be centred around grief, focusing on King T’Challa after losing five years of time to the Blip – courtesy of Thanos.
“The tone was going to be similar,” Coogler explains. “The character was going to be grieving the loss of time, you know, coming back after being gone for five years. As a man with so much responsibility to so many, coming back after a forced five years absence, that’s what the film was tackling. He was grieving time he couldn’t get back. Grief was a big part of it.”
In its final form, many aspects of the script remain unchanged, including the introduction of Namor (Tenoch Huerta), a villain destined to be in the film throughout the writing process. “There were other characters, for sure, that we considered including,” Coogler continues, adding that Huerta’s sea-based villain “was always there.”
Coogler further said working on Wakanda Forever was a way to move forward. “Who the protagonist was, the flaws of the protagonist, what the protagonist was dealing with in their journey, all of that stuff had to be different due to us losing him and the decisions that we made about moving forward.”
According to the official synopsis from Marvel, Wakanda will “fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the final film in Phase 4 of the MCU, is expected to debut in cinemas on November 11, 2022, starring Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, and Martin Freeman.