Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was recently released in theatres around the world. Along with its release came the introduction of comic book characters, a tribute to late actor Chadwick Boseman, and a passing on of the torch. Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri in the movie, was seen donning the Black Panther suit. While this received mixed reactions from the fans, the majority of the response was quite positive. After all, who better than T’Challa’s genius sister herself?
Recently, the co-screenwriter of the film revealed that while Shuri was a more apparent choice to lead the Wakandans, there were a few other names that were tossed around. Lupita Nyong’o who plays T’Challa’s lover Nakia was one name that came up in the conversation. Winston Duke’s M’Baku was a solid contender, as well.
Also Read: Why Black Panther: Wakanda Forever TOWERS Above Endgame and No Way Home to Become the MCU’s Best Film Ever
Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia as Black Panther?
Also Read: ‘Why not? Idris Elba should be in everything’: Lupita Nyong’o Wants Heimdall To Come Out of Valhalla, Be in Black Panther 3
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Wakanda Forever’s screenwriter Joe Robert Cole revealed that the team had discussed a few other names to take on the role of the next Black Panther, including Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia. Even though in the comic Shuri became T’Challa’s successor and the choice seemed like a no-brainer, it is quite interesting to see what was going through the creators’ minds.
Cole stated that the brainstorming sessions about passing on the mantle happened because the team wanted to play around with a few ideas and ultimately make the best decision for a sequel. After all, Black Panther is one of MCU’s most loved films of all time and the team certainly didn’t want hastiness to be the downfall of the franchise. Winston Duke’s M’Baku was one character that was considered.
“We would kick around the ideas, and try to extrapolate where the story goes and what’s the most impactful choice, what’s the best journey? And where do you go after the film in terms of those characters. M’Baku certainly was someone that got kicked around a little bit. But you kick the tires on all sorts of ideas. And you just want to make the best decision and do what’s best for the story.”
When the interviewer suggested that Nakia would’ve been a great choice too, the writer revealed that her name was “kicked around for sure.” Nakia wouldn’t be a far-fetched choice either. She is a fan-favorite character who helped T’Challa both as a spy and as a lover. Not to mention the fact that she is the mother of T’Challa’s son. If there’s anyone who truly knew T’Challa and his ways, it is Nakia.
Why Shuri Was the Most Organic Choice
Also Read: “Those are the things that I am not and I apologized”: Black Panther 2 Star Letitia Wright Finally Addresses Her Controversial Stance That Nearly Halted the Sequel, Almost Changed the Film’s Conclusion Due to Her Antics
Producer Nate Moore confessed that while other names were discussed, choosing them would’ve felt “artificial.” In conversation with Marvel, Moore stated that Letitia Wright’s Shuri was the “most organic storytelling choice,” and the other names weren’t considered that thoroughly. He continued that Wright is a performer who does what is right for the movie. Even though she was taken aback when she heard she would become the next Black Panther, Wright soon came to terms with it because of how important it was for the franchise.
“Letitia wanted and wants to do right by this franchise. When the call came that she was going to become the next Black Panther, she was initially taken aback at the tall request. However, she quickly understood just how important it was for her, and her character, to take on the mantle.”
Moore added that Wright knew what the franchise meant to people in general, as well as what it meant to Chadwick Boseman. Although she never quite thought of this outcome, she was “100% game” to take on the role. Even director Ryan Coogler shared a similar emotion stating that Shuri becoming Black Panther made a lot of sense.
Wright herself stated that since the news came shortly after Boseman’s passing, it was difficult for her to comprehend the situation at first. However, she decided to go for it as Coogler explained that this would be a way to honor the late actor. She admitted that although she had agreed, it affected her quite emotionally that she didn’t have her brother pass the torch to her.
Wright’s love for Boseman combined with Shuri’s genius is undoubtedly what makes Shuri a deserving successor.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is currently playing in theatres.
Source: Rolling Stone