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Ryan Coogler explains his plan for Wakanda Forever if Chadwick Boseman hadn’t died

Updated 3 weeks ago
Published Nov 5th, 2022 6:06PM EDT
A poster showing King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) during the funeral.
Image: Marvel Studios

We’re now less than a week away from the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and the excitement is palpable. Fans of the MCU and the Black Panther franchise can’t wait to see this movie, and Marvel keeps releasing exciting new footage on a regular basis. But we still wonder what kind of a movie Wakanda Forever would have been if Chadwick Boseman hadn’t tragically passed away.

Ryan Coogler is the man who wrote and directed both movies, and he addressed the script of the original film in an interview. Unsurprisingly, the sequel would have been a story about grief, but for different reasons.

Before we can explain, you should know that Wakanda Forever spoilers might follow below.

Wakanda Forever without Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman died in August 2020 after a fight with colon cancer that he kept a secret from everyone, Marvel included. That was before he had a chance to start working on the Wakanda Forever sequel. It was also at a time when the world was still dealing with the early months of the pandemic.

Marvel had a big decision to make in light of this tragic development. Kevin Feige & Co. chose not to recast T’Challa. Instead, they moved forward with a different story that would celebrate the character and actor. T’Challa dies in the MCU, as we found out from the emotional first trailer.

Black Panther
Scene from first Black Panther movie with Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa in the foreground. Image source: Marvel Studios

But Wakanda will move forward while grieving its protector and former king. And the MCU story will move forward in a way that’s respectful of Boseman’s legacy. That’s something we know from a different interview with Ryan Coogler.

This is the point where we’ll tell you that the film’s entire plot has leaked in great detail. The same goes for Wakanda Forever’s credits scene.

But we won’t get into any of those details here.

The only spoilers that follow come from a Wakanda Forever movie that will never be made. It’s the original story that would have featured the late Chadwick Boseman.

Black Panther 2 with Chadwick Boseman

Ryan Coogler told Inverse what the movie would have been had Boseman been able to make it. The film would have looked into the consequences of the Endgame. Specifically, it would have been about T’Challa’s grief.

“The tonal shift, I will say, was less of a shift than in [casting],” Coogler said.

T’Challa would have mourned the loss of time, the five years that Thanos (Josh Brolin) stole from him and half of the universe when he snapped his fingers in Infinity War.

Trailer 2 gives us the best Black Panther teaser so far.
Trailer 2 gives us the best Black Panther teaser so far. Image source: Marvel Studios

Black Panther 2 would have been a movie about T’Challa struggling to resume his life after the Blip.

“The tone was going to be similar,” Coogler says. “The character was going to be grieving the loss of time, you know, coming back after being gone for five years. As a man with so much responsibility to so many, coming back after a forced five years absence, that’s what the film was tackling. He was grieving time he couldn’t get back. Grief was a big part of it.”

The original Wakanda Forever had big story elements that are still in the movie that we’ll about to see in theaters. Namor (Tenoch Huerta) “was always the antagonist,” Coogler said.

“There were other characters, for sure, that we considered including,” Coogler says. “Namor was always there.”

Coolger also noted that working on Wakanda Forever after Boseman’s death was all about moving forward while also memorializing the actor.


More Marvel coverage: For more MCU news, visit our Marvel guide.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.