Wakanda Forever ‘will honour Chadwick’s legacy’on November 10, 2022 at 5:37 pm

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Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong’o talk emotions and filming the Black Panther sequel.

Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o, Letitia Wright, DJ AceImage source, Radio 1 Xtra

Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther co-stars say Wakanda Forever is dedicated to honouring his legacy.

The US actor, who played heroic crime-fighting king T’Challa, died of cancer in 2020, aged 43.

Co-stars Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong’o say they are still processing his untimely death.

But Danai, who plays Okoye, says it is the cast’s “hope and prayer” that the sequel’s attempt to honour him “is felt by the audience”.

“Some scenes you want to break down and cry,” adds Letitia.

“[Grief] is still there like that’s one of the things about this project that’s been one of the hardest, you can’t run from it.

“We walked through it together and we just made sure that every line, every scene was just dedicated to him.

“I knew he was listening.”

Speaking to Radio 1Xtra, the trio also discussed returning to set after Covid lockdowns, filming underwater and inspiring change in Hollywood.

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Wakanda Forever, released on Friday, returns to the fictional African country with incredibly advanced technology.

Letitia plays Shuri, the Black Panther’s sister, Danai stars as Okoye, head of the Wakandan armed forces and Oscar-winner Lupita becomes Nakia, an undercover spy in service to Wakanda.

“We have a predominantly female-led film,” says Lupita.

“We already did something like that with the first Black Panther but now in the absence of T’Challa, the women have taken the fore in a remarkable way.

“That this film is as big as it is with that feminist agenda is so cool.”

L-R) Florence Kasumba, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright and Lupita Nyong'o attend the European Premiere of Marvel Studios' "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" in Leicester Square

Image source, Getty Images

And on the subject of women leading the way, Rihanna released her first solo single in six years, Lift Me Up, to accompany the film.

The sequel comes four years after Black Panther was released to rave reviews and big box office receipts.

And for the actors it was their first return to filming since the Covid pandemic.

“It felt more intense maybe because we were coming out of a lockdown situation it was like one of the first things I did outside of being in my house for a year,” says Danai.

For the first read-through, the actors had to 6ft (1.8m) apart due to restrictions, which Lupita admits was a bit “awkward”.

But she remembers feeling “as we read, it just started to feel more possible”.

Danai Gurira attends the "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" European Premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square

Image source, Getty Images

In another first, the film features underwater sequences.

“Before this film, Ryan [Coogler, director] sent me a cryptic text message saying, ‘on the scale of one to 10 how well can you swim?'” says Lupita.

“I said four, because I swim like a panicked puppy.”

She had to take swimming lessons, followed by extreme performance training.

It involved underwater tasks – like walking along the bottom of a pool – to increase her breath capacity.

“My thinking was they’re going to be asking me not just to swim but to act as I’m swimming,” she says.

The trio are tight-lipped about the possibility of a third film but said they had “so much fun” on set.

“In this film, I felt really loved and I really have a family [here],” says Danai.

“No matter how many times you come back to do this, or where life takes us, I definitely have a family.”

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