Those who worked with Chadwick Boseman on Marvel’s “Black Panther” and saw the void in its new sequel continue to feel the loss of him like a punch in the gut. Audiences responded well to Boseman’s roles. In the Netflix dramas “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Da 5 Bloods,” he performed dramatic roles as real-life personalities like James Brown in “Get On Up” and Jackie Robinson in “42.”
The superhero King T’Challa, the ruler of the fictitious African state of Wakanda, appeared in the 2018 Oscar-winning Marvel movie “Black Panther,” one of the highest-grossing movies of all time in the United States. Therefore, his passing at the age of 43 on August 28, 2020, from colon cancer, which was kept a secret even from his castmates, caused a stir both internationally and among his close friends and colleagues.
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He was absent from the sequel “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which is currently playing in theatres, so his “Black Panther” co-stars had to carry on without its intrepid hero.
Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Wakandan spy and T’Challa’s love interest Nakia, says she went through a lot of pain and disillusionment and was left asking, “What is life about? How do we move forward? What does it all mean at the end of the day? What is this make-believe, and why is it worthwhile?”
Following T’Challa’s illness-related death, the film, expertly directed by Ryan Coogler, reintroduces the women of Wakanda as they struggle with sentiments of vengeance and resilience while grieving.
The celebration of his life and remembering of his legacy lasts throughout the two hours and 41 minutes of the feature, including a photo and video montage near the beginning that also serves as a moment of silence, and a heartbreaking Rihanna ballad that ushers in the credits. His onscreen death is abrupt, much like Boseman’s, but the celebration of his life and remembrance of his legacy endures.
Reminiscing on the magic of the #WakandaForever Africa Premiere 🤎 Special thanks to one of my favorite fashion designers from the Motherland #ChristieBrown for this beautifully crafted look that is whimsical, modern and rooted in the continent all at once. pic.twitter.com/yKfoNyIW0u
— Danai Gurira (@DanaiGurira) November 11, 2022
Shuri, T’Challa’s scientist sister, is portrayed by Letitia Wright. She says that for the group to handle their emotions, they had to “be truthful with where we were in those stages of grieving, and just communicate with one another.” We hugged each other extremely close and respected what we would each need at different times during the collective sorrow, she recalls.
The healing process is highlighted differently by each character. While her mother, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), who assumes the throne stoically, encourages Shuri to mourn the loss and sense T’Challa’s spirit, the inability to save her older brother destroys her and causes her to build an emotionally impenetrable wall around her.
As Dora Milaje Gen. Okoye (Danai Gurira) intensifies her allegiance to the throne, Nakia withdraws and finds solace in her new home of Haiti. But grief presents itself in peculiar ways. “On certain days, I experienced an odd sense of being able to glide through it and do the sequences without feeling any impact.
I have to run out to an awards screening – and have been editing #BlackPanther videos
so the next livestream will have to be Friday
— Grace Randolph (@GraceRandolph) November 9, 2022
Danai would be there to encourage me and lift me, and then vice versa, and then the next day you collapse and you’re just trying to figure out what happened “Wright opined. How do you get past a loss? The movie attempts to address that from several angles, and it emphasizes the internal and external conflict in part by introducing a new antagonist in the form of Namor, the ruler of the underwater Talokan kingdom (Tenoch Huerta Mejia).
Namor and Shuri are connected by their shared experience of grief over many years, which is fuelled by their shared desire for the world to burn in retaliation for their pain. Nyong’o found solace in coming back for the sequel because she used her role as a teacher to heal. It was comforting to see how closely art might resemble life, according to Nyong’o.
Kevin Feige has had ‘conversations’ with Ryan Coogler about a third #BlackPanther film
‘These characters deserve to continue,’ says Feige
— Fandom (@getFANDOM) November 9, 2022
“When we first meet (Nakia), she is further along in the grieving process than I was. However, because I was portraying her, I had the opportunity to acquire priceless lessons from her.” The way that Boseman intended his fans to feel about T’Challa was reflected in how they viewed him as an artist: In an interview with USA TODAY in 2018, he expressed his hope that people would come to adore the “hero” in this story. Co-stars of Boseman recall him as a man full of life.
According to Gurira, “His presence was so grounding and allowed you to feel loved and seen, and like you had a brother who had your back.” He had a lot of joy inside of him, and you never quite knew when and how it would come out. That’s always a terrible thing to lose.
‘[It] makes this incredible scream … It’s so powerful that you can’t really be in the same room as someone playing it’
— Fandom (@getFANDOM) November 11, 2022
According to Gurira, there “There are so many things about him that you will miss, like his warmth and the hand he would place on your shoulder while laughing. He was also someone who simply had a profound understanding of, love for, and investment in diasporic culture. That type of honesty and specificity and commitment to his craft was also a part of his irreplaceable leadership.
He brought such integrity to it from the very beginning, accent- and language-wise.” On set, Boseman’s memories became a motivating factor. Even while there were times when we were overcome by the realization that we had lost him, there were also times when his spirit and the manner he came up inspired us, according to Nyong’o. “In that way, we kept his spirit very much alive.”