Lupita Nyong’o is addressing the call not to recast Chadwick Boseman‘s King T’Challa character in Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever movie — saying it was the right decision.
On Wednesday (Oct. 19), in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar-winning actress called Boseman the “centerpiece” of the film and confessed everything changed after his death. “Losing your centerpiece, everything changed. When you say the world rotated around him, it revolved around him. It did,” she said.
The decision not to recast the role of T’Challa with another actor sparked debate among fans who feared that losing the character would hurt audiences, especially Black boys and men who saw themselves in him. The actress supports Marvel’s decision. “That is not the death of the Black Panther, that’s the whole point,” she expressed. “It’s laying to rest [T’Challa] and allowing for real life to inform the story of the movies. I know that there are all sorts of reasons why people want him to be recast, but I don’t have the patience. I don’t have the presence of mind, or I don’t have the objectivity to argue with that. I don’t. I’m very biased.”
Ryan Coogler and his Black Panther co-writer, Joe Robert Cole, developed a script for the sequel that focused on Boseman’s character. “The script we wrote before Chadwick passed was very much rooted in T’Challa’s perspective,” Coogler explained. “It was a massive movie but also simultaneously a character study that delved deeply into his psyche and situation.”
According to the publication, instead of recasting T’Challa, Coogler and Cole rewrote the script to include the character’s death, reframing the story from another’s point of view, a different Wakandan becoming Black Panther.
Nate Moore, VP of production and development at Marvel Studios and a producer on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, said: “The Black Panther has existed in Wakanda for centuries, so the notion of someone else picking up the mantle didn’t seem inorganic. But once that had to become a reality, then it was, ‘OK, what makes the most sense for the story? Who actually makes the most sense to take this thing on?’ All of the characters in the film have a different idea of who should don the mantle and why.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters Nov. 11.