The controversial anti-vaccination sentiments of Shuri actress Letitia Wright were a major talking point ahead of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but what’s the full story, and what does her MCU future hold? Following the critical and commercial success of 2018’s Black Panther, the inevitable sequel was quickly positioned as one of Marvel’s most eagerly anticipated sequels.
A year after the official announcement of Black Panther 2, Chadwick Boseman, the man who brought T’Challa to life, tragically died after a private battle with colon cancer. Marvel later confirmed that production on Black Panther 2 would continue, but that Chadwick Boseman would not be recast.
Black Panther 2 will elevate supporting members of the original cast, including Wright, in honor of its late star and T’Challa. Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister, and Wakanda’s foremost scientific genius won over MCU fans with both her comedic barbs and her tenacity in battle.
Unfortunately, Black Panther 2 is being shot in very different conditions than the first installment. With the global impact of COVID-19 still being felt, and major studios eager to avoid the mass shutdowns of 2020, procedures are needed to reduce the risk of cast and crew contracting the virus.
Explain The Controversy Surrounding The Actress Shuri
Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, spoke with Variety at the Cannes Film Festival about the controversy surrounding her behavior while filming.
The actress expressed her belief in the importance of “staying strong with what you believe in” and “your desire to make a difference in the world:”
“I’ve learned that in life, you just have to keep going strong with what you believe in, in terms of your talent, in terms of your desire to impact the world with your art, and that’s exactly what I’m doing, and I’m so proud of myself and the movie that’s coming out this year. I’m so proud of it.”
Wright discussed how Chadwick Boseman’s death affected Wakanda Forever, calling the film an “incredible honor” for the T’Challa actor and promising it will be “jam-packed with exciting stuff.”
Marvel Studios has yet to reveal how Wakanda Forever will handle the absence of its original lead, as the studio has stated that T’Challa will not be recast. The sequel has been promised to honor both the king and the actor’s legacy, with another Wakandan expected to take over by the end credits.
The Shuri actress explained that they honored Boseman by “committing [themselves] to the story that he started,” adding that they encountered “a lot of difficult situations” during production:
“We honored him by committing ourselves to the story that he started, the legacy that he started with this franchise. And we just committed every day to working hard, no matter what circumstances we faced — and we faced a lot of circumstances, a lot of difficult situations — but we came together as a team, and we poured everything into this movie, so I’m excited for you to see it.”
How Will Black Panther 2 Handle Chadwick Boseman’s Death?
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was initially announced with Chadwick Boseman reprising his starring role, but his untimely death has put the cast and crew in a difficult position. Because of Black Panther’s importance in Marvel and the first film’s massive box office success, the franchise was bound to continue, so Marvel Studios had to work around his absence.
As of now, there is no clear indication of how the Black Panther franchise will proceed without him, let alone explain his absence. Many have speculated that T’Challa died between Avengers: Endgame and Wakanda Forever, which was teased in a recent set leak of a monument honoring the hero.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has long stated that the sequel will honor Boseman by focusing on the rest of the Black Panther cast. Who knows who will succeed T’Challa as the Black Panther and protector of Wakanda, but if the comics are any indication, Letitia Wright’s Shuri has a bright future.
On November 11, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be released in theaters.