Black Panther was a smash hit for Marvel Studios when it debuted in theatres worldwide in 2018. Grossing > 1.344 billion USD, and featuring one of the newest, most-loved superheroes in the MCU at the time, a sequel was inevitable. Ryan Coogler and his team had made appreciable progress with the story and direction the sequel was going to take when lead Chadwick Boseman died in August 2020. Naturally, with the decision to proceed without recasting the role of T’Challa, things had to change with the story. In a recent interview with Inverse, director Ryan Coogler revealed some of the direction the initial story for Black Panther 2 was supposed to take.
“The tonal shift, I will say, was less of a shift than in [casting]. The tone was going to be similar. [T’Challa] 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. [Namor] was always the antagonist. There were other characters, for sure, that we considered including. Namor was always there.”
From what Coogler has said above, it’s evident that the theme of grief and Namor as the villain were always part of the plan. While the way these things will play out has changed, we rest easy knowing that the sequel will, as always intended, pay homage to the legacy of the Black Panther.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in theatres worldwide on November 11, 2022.