Fans have been waiting for a follow-up to Black Panther ever since the film’s immense success in 2018. However, that eager anticipation turned into heartbreak in the summer of 2020, when the film’s lead hero, Chadwick Boseman, passed away after a private battle with cancer. His loss sent shockwaves among fans, fellow actors, and the entertainment industry as a whole.
On top of grieving the loss of a real-life and on-screen hero, some also wondered what would become of the groundbreaking role Boseman brought to life? The Black Panther sequel was already announced in 2019, and months after Boseman’s passing, Marvel has confirmed that the show will go on in a manner that honors the late actor’s legacy.
Here's what we know about the Black Panther sequel so far.
The role of T'Challa won't be recast or digitally replicated.
Months after Boseman's passing, Disney confirmed, "Honoring Chadwick Boseman’s legacy & portrayal of T’Challa, @MarvelStudios will not recast the character, but will explore the world of Wakanda & the rich characters introduced in the first film."
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige doubled down on this statement, adding that the film won't have "a CG Chadwick."
"So much of the comics and that first movie is the world of Wakanda," Feige told Deadline in January 2021. "Wakanda is a place to further explore with characters and different subcultures. This was always and initially the primary focus of the next story. We’re not going to have a CG Chadwick and we’re not recasting T’Challa. Ryan Coogler is working very hard right now on the script with all the respect and love and genius that he has, which gives us great solace, so it was always about furthering the mythology and the inspiration of Wakanda. There’s also the task of honoring and respecting the ongoing learnings and teachings from Chad as well."
The film is not coming out until 2022.
Black Panther 2 is expected to hit theaters on July 8, 2022, making it a prime summer blockbuster. The film will open two months after its original planned release date of May 6.
The official title is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
We can let go of the Black Panther 2 placeholder title. Marvel revealed that the sequel will officially be titled Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in a video teasing the MCU's upcoming properties.
Most of the cast will be back. Look for fresh faces too.
Though the roster has not yet been confirmed, it's likely we'll once again see Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda, Winston Duke as M'Baku, and Daniel Kaluuya as W'Kabi, as well as Martin Freeman as CIA agent Everett K. Ross.
Narcos star Tenoch Huerta is also reportedly joining the film as an antagonist, but details of his role remain unknown.
Ryan Coogler is returning to direct.
Disney confirmed in its December 2020 announcement that Coogler "is writing and directing" the Black Panther sequel.
In an previous interview with IndieWire, Coogler discussed Black Panther 2 and said, "When it comes to making a sequel, I've never done it before, a sequel to something that I've directed myself. So I think there's going to be a lot of pressure there, but what we're going to try to do is just focus on the work, like we always do."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Marvel wanted to keep the creative team as intact as possible and a sequel was never in any real doubt."
Production may begin in July.
Marvel is preparing to film BP2 in Atlanta in July 2021, sources told The Hollywood Reporter. Shooting would last for about six months. The team was originally planning to start filming in March 2021, but plans changed after Boseman passed.
The cast is dedicated to carrying on Boseman's legacy.
On Good Morning America, Nyong'o shared a brief update about continuing the franchise after Boseman's passing.
"It's gonna be a hard one … its gonna be different without our king, to go back into that world," she said in a March 3 interview. "But I know that all of us are dedicated to reimagining or carrying on his legacy in this new Black Panther. And Ryan Coogler has some really, really exciting ideas that I look forward to bringing to life with the rest of the family."