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'Black Panther' Fights On, Seals Boseman Legacy

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" Tenoch Huerta, U.S. director Ryan Coogler and his wife Zinzi Evans, Kenyan actor Lupita Nyong'o, U.S. actor Danai Gurira, and Guyanese actor Letitia Wright arrive for the African premiere of the film in Lagos, on November 6, 2022. (AFP)

"Black Panther" returned to cinemas worldwide November 11, having lost its star with the tragic early death of Chadwick Boseman, but none of its determination to push for greater diversity in superhero movies.

"When you lose somebody, there's a blast radius. It's like a bomb that goes off," director Ryan Coogler said speaking at a press conference.

Coogler had been preparing the sequel for almost a year when Boseman died from cancer in 2020, causing him to take a new direction focused on T'Challa's sister, Shuri, played by Letitia Wright.

Boseman's character makes several flashback appearances in the film, as the real-life grief of the filmmakers is reflected in Wakanda's struggles to survive following the death of his character, King T'Challa.

"The worst nightmare that you can have is if something were to happen to you, the people who you love and leave behind would be unmoored, would be lost. We were exploring all of those things," said Coogler.

Wright praised Coogler's handling of her character's journey as she tackles her grief and becomes queen.

"We were able to bring something that felt real, that felt truthful. And I was able to really give my heart to it and give Shuri a full arc," she said.


Boseman was the first black lead in a Marvel film and proved that was no hindrance to popularity, with "Black Panther" bringing in no less than $1.34 billion at the box office.

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" continues the first film's mission to raise issues around diversity and colonialism.

Its plot partly revolves around Wakanda's efforts to fend off the United States and France as they try to get their hands on its precious natural resource, vibranium, at all costs.

It also introduces an old Marvel character, Namor the Sub-Mariner, who speaks Mayan in the film - a detail welcomed by Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta.

"In Latin America, especially Mexico, we deny our indigenous roots," Huerta said.

"It's time to change and reconcile who we are with our ancestors... and embrace them. And now it's happening in this movie... and that is exciting."