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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: Kevin Feige Champions Ryan Coogler's Work

Collider 11/22/2022 Erick Massoto
© Provided by Collider

Leading a gigantic film crew to put together a Marvel blockbuster is no easy feat. For Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s director Ryan Coogler, there was the added pressure of delivering a sequel that lived up to its original, as well as one that worked as both an entertaining new step in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a tribute to the late star Chadwick Boseman. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel mega-producer Kevin Feige revealed that Coogler managed to do all that – and then some.

Coogler is arguably the life of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. On top of directing the feature film, the filmmaker also doubled down as producer, screenwriter, and even composer – which means that virtually every element that ended up on screen needed his approval. In The Official Black Panther Podcast, the director revealed that the pressure was overwhelming, but Feige added that Coogler had a small token that helped him get through the challenging production:

“Ryan was guiding all of us through that. [He] wore a necklace with Chad’s picture on it every day of the shoot. There was no doubt that this was a tribute and celebration of Chad.”

Ryan Coogler Faced Multi-Layered Challenges During Production of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Even though the trailers and the movie itself make it pretty clear that Boseman’s memory permeates the story, Coogler had to find a way to move on and introduce new elements to the story, including an iconic and fan-favorite villain and the new Black Panther – which by now you should know is T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), the one all rumors pointed to.

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The THR article also reveals that the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever team also struggled to decide how much of Boseman would be worked into the movie. First of all, the screenplay, which was already finished before Boseman died in 2020, had to be completely rewritten. When filming began, the decision to include a mural with Boseman’s face – which you see in the trailer – was reportedly a very hard one, as production designer Hannah Beachler recalls:

“That was a really hard decision, to do the mural. Ryan and I talked about it a lot, and I think he went back and forth with it a lot. When people saw the mural, that was the extra sort of layer of grief that was really hard on the cast, really hard on Ryan.”

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s cast also features Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Winston Duke as M’Baku, Martin Freeman as Everett Ross, Tenoch Huerta as super-villain Namor, Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams/Ironheart, Florence Kasumba as Ayo, and Michaela Coel as Aneka.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now in theaters. You can watch the trailer below:

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