In a recent conversation with, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Letitia Wright, the actress revealed that Black Panther 2 was originally going to feature two Black Panthers working together.
“It was gonna be done in a different way where her brother was gonna be alongside her, really explore that, like the comic books, the ways that T’Challa and Shuri would be Black Panther alongside each other and try to figure out how to defend their nation.” said Letitia Wright.
Before the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which landed in the theaters in November 2022, there was huge speculation on how the film would feature the titular character.
The speculation initially began after the death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020. Since then, questions on who would take over the role of T’Challa and become the King of Wakanda hovered around internet chatrooms.
The late Boseman played the character of T’Challa in the first Black Panther which came out in 2018. Two years later, director/writer Ryan Coogler’s preliminary plans for the sequel would come to light revealing a father-son storyline before Chadwick regrettably passed away.
BLACK PANTHER TO BE PLAYED BY 2 CHARACTERS
While guesses of who would adorn T’Challa’s black Vibranium suit ran rampant, talks of having multiple Black Panthers in the sequel also came up behind the scenes.
It didn’t help matters when the official trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever featured two Black Panther helmets next to each other. One masculine, and the other feminine.
In a conversation with Empire Movie Podcast, Letitia Wright, who played Shuri the younger sister of T’Challa, revealed that Black Panther 2 was originally going to be two Black Panthers working together.
Letitia said that the film would have been a story of T’Challa and Shuri as the two Black Panthers working side by side to protect their Kingdom of Wakanda.
HOW LETITIA WRIGHT FELT AS THE SOLE BLACK PANTHER IN THE SEQUEL
Due to Chadwick’s demise, the story had to be rewritten. Instead of two Black Panthers, we got just one. Shuri had to take over her brother’s role as the new Black Panther and do all she can to defend Wakanda.
In the podcast, the host asked Letitia how she felt while putting on the black vibranium suit for the first time and thinking that it was supposed to be worn by both her and T’Challa.
“It was bittersweet. Shuri was always gonna do it. But it was gonna be done in a different way where her brother was gonna be alongside her, really explore that, like the comic books, the ways that T’Challa and Shuri would be Black Panther alongside each other and try to figure out how to defend their nation. But unfortunately that’s not how it panned out. I knew the responsibility, I knew the weight of it, but it was just bittersweet, something I struggled with a lot. But I’m extremely proud of myself, had great support.”
While still speaking with Empire Movie Podcast, Letitia shared her pride in making history as the first-ever black woman to be a leading superhero in an MCU film:
“But now we’ve come to a full circle of the film being out, I’m just really proud of myself. As a black woman, being the first superhero that’s a black woman in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film to do those numbers, history’s being made as we sit here, and I’m a part of it, and that feels surreal. And that door has just been opened for another black woman to go and do that so I’m just proud, and I know my brother would be really proud of me too.”
BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER WAS ORIGINALLY A FATHER-AND-SON STORY
Following the demise of Chadwick Boseman, Ryan Coogler was faced with the challenge of writing a different storyline for the Black Panther sequel. The original story would have been a father-and-son story. In a previous interview, Coogler shared how T’Challa would have reunited with his son in Black Panther 2:
“What are we going to do about the Blip? That was the challenge. It was absolutely nothing like what we made. It was going to be a father-son story from the perspective of a father, because the first movie had been a father-son story from the perspective of the sons.
In the script, T’Challa was a dad who’d had this forced five-year absence from his son’s life. The first scene was an animated sequence. You hear Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) talking to [the couple’s child] Toussaint. She says, ‘Tell me what you know about your father.’ You realize that he doesn’t know his dad was the Black Panther. He’s never met him, and Nakia is remarried to a Haitian dude.
Then, we cut to reality and it’s the night that everybody comes back from the Blip. You see T’Challa meet the kid for the first time.It cuts ahead three years and he’s essentially co-parenting. Something happens and T’Challa has to go save the world with his son on his hip. That was the movie.”
In the end, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was recreated to be a different story that managed to showcase the strong bond between Shuri and her late brother T’Challa. In as much as the original father and son storyline would have been beautiful to watch, this current Black Panther: Wakanda Forever storyline is nothing short of greatness.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be available to stream on Disney+ on February 1, 2023. Which do you think you would prefer, the current story or that which would have been? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section or on Twitter. Make sure to check back with The Illuminerdi for more Marvel content.