Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Danai Gurira teases an emotional arc for Okoye in Ryan Coogler’s upcoming sequel. Wakanda Forever will integrate Chadwick Boseman’s real-life passing by retiring the character of King T’Challa. The Kingdom of Wakanda must unite to battle Namor (Tenoch Huerta) in the wake of T’Challa’s death, while a new Black Panther will be introduced by the movie’s end.
There has been much speculation about how the movie would handle Boseman’s passing. Marvel Studios has already announced that the character of T’Challa would not be recast and that someone would take over the mantle of Black Panther from the late king. The movie would also incorporate how the Wakandans, and in turn, the real-life actors, are affected by the death of their king, who touched the lives of millions around the world.
Now, during a virtual press conference in which Screen Rant was in attendance, Gurira explained how two sides of her personality helped her play Okoye in the sequel. She also explained how the movie allowed her to explore multiple facets of Okoye’s humanity and talked about how her primary goal as an actor was to honor Boseman’s legacy, which she held on through the entire production. Check out what she had to say on her character arc below:
« There are two sides of me. There’s the side that gets it, and the side that’s like, « Woah, really? Do we have to? » Definitely, that came out when I first heard it, and then the other side took over and understood that this was actually great. And I’m very thankful for the idea that these characters get to explore so many facets of their human-ness. I think that that is something that is crucial, honestly, with a platform this unprecedented—that we see a kaleidoscope of their human-ness. And the world gets to see that, because it isn’t very common. We don’t get to see that much. It was, I think, a direct contrast to what Lupita was going through. I felt quite displaced in the process, and I think that was connected to what my character was experiencing. And that was connected also to a little of the experience of the loss of our brother, and the process that was connected to that. As I was going through the story, the key thing anchoring me was the goal of honoring him and the way he loved excellency. He loved to see us shine and loved to see us do our thing. And we would go to him and say, « What do you think about this? What do you think about my character? » And he would always give us so much encouragement about doing great things, and he had such great taste. I think that was really an anchoring aspect throughout the process for me. I can’t share anything, so I’m just walking around this thing. »
How The Cast Channeled Their Grief Into Black Panther 2
As mentioned above, one of the biggest challenges for the cast and crew of Wakanda Forever was making the sequel without the presence of Chadwick Boseman. The late actor was arguably a big part of the first film’s success and would collaborate on all aspects of the production with Coogler and the rest of the cast. Making the sequel without his constant presence in the screenwriting process with Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole and during filming brought a massive emotional toll during production.
However, the emotional toll that the cast felt during production was also incorporated into their respective character’s arcs. Because of this, they channeled their inner grief to their protagonists to pay tribute to the character of King T’Challa, and to the legacy Boseman left behind. Boseman not only impacted the screen in Black Panther but has a massive filmography filled with one iconic role after the other. That celebration of Chadwick Boseman’s impact on cinema will be an important part of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s emotional core when the movie releases exclusively in theatres on November 11.