Black Panther 2 has been a hell-raiser when it came to battling tears and healing emotional wounds left in the wake of a disastrous 2020. The epic magnitude of the vision executed by Ryan Coogler has proven its capacity to stand upright in its narrative even in the absence of the titular superhero. An homage to the late Chadwick Boseman, the MCU Phase Four film has delivered a rollercoaster ride with a climactic end that felt good in all its elements and not simply the heroic bits.
Chadwick Boseman began the journey of the Black Panther in a rare, unexpected, and significant appearance in 2016. Since then, the Wakandan family has become an integral force in the MCU supporting, aiding, and forwarding the progression of mainstream events. Now that the sequel film shines blindingly bright, the nation remembers the one who made the journey worth the grief.
Black Panther 2 Writer Pays His Respect to King T’Challa
With the snowballing of 2022’s events amid regime changes, unfathomable controversies, sensational courtroom dramas, and reformation of the CBM industry, the tragedy that the Marvel fandom had to face at the year-end had mostly taken a backseat. Although the grief lingered, Chadwick Boseman‘s passing was one that people hadn’t yet mourned in its entirety. But the reopening of public spaces and movie theatres brought back the implications of having to face the Black Panther’s legacy the moment the trailer dropped.
Joe Robert Cole who served as co-writer of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever recalls how the discussion of CGI and recasting T’Challa had obviously been an elephant in the room when the news of Boseman’s passing reached the writer’s room. Kevin Feige had declared publicly that it was “too soon” while the rest of the crew arrived at a final and unquestionable conclusion:
“I don’t remember any conversations about that. No. I don’t think we were ever… I don’t think anyone felt that would be appropriate.”
Pretty early on in the developmental stages, the Marvel Studios’ decision-makers comprising Kevin Feige, Nate Moore, and Ryan Coogler had put a definitive halt to the rumors surrounding recasting T’Challa. It was not a topic that needed debate or consideration but a nod, a confirmation, and a unanimous decision that hardly took up 5 minutes of their time. Victoria Alonso, the Executive VP of Marvel Studios echoes that claim when she says, “there’s only one Chadwick, and he’s not with us.”
The Black Panther 2 Crew Shapes a Tragedy Into an Art
Black Panther 2 co-writer Joe Robert Cole remembers the days in the aftermath of August 2020 that shaped most of the script that has now been adapted to the screens. Talks of CGI-Boseman had been squashed under the boot the moment it reared its head. Once that was out of the way, the group decided how to move forward with the narrative in front of them.
“Chad’s loss shaped everything, in a lot of ways, once the decision was made not to recast. We all had a chance to weigh in a little bit on our thoughts on that. I think we all felt that he shouldn’t be [recast]. Once that decision was made, his death just logically becomes a part of the narrative going forward. And the exploration of how Wakanda and all of these characters that we love from the first movie dealt with that loss was really a way for us to explore who the new Black Panther should be organically, and to explore and broaden how we see all of these characters and how they move forward.
Thematically, that spoke to where we were all, personally, with Chad, which is we were working through our grief. We were striving to move forward with the film. So we were able to find our way to a theme that spoke to what we were all going through, which is: How do you overcome loss? How do you deal with grief and turn that into something hopeful and something aspirational? Ryan led the way, and we followed in that regard.”
Feige, in that aspect, did not have to employ a CGI-reconstructed Boseman to deliver closure to the fandom as the Fast & Furious franchise did with Paul Walker in Furious 7. The thought that went into shaping a fulfilling narrative without spoiling the memory and desecrating the legacy of the late actor speaks volumes about how Marvel still treats its CBM franchise, not as a business but as an extension of the realization of people’s hopes and dreams.
Black Panther 2 is playing now in theatres.
Source: Rolling Stone