The much anticipated "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" arrives in theaters and pays loving tribute to its late star Chadwick Boseman.
The Black Panther sequel faced a real life tragedy and an enormous narrative hurdle when its star Chadwick Boseman unexpectedly died of colon cancer in 2020.
He had not widely shared the diagnosis so his death took the production by surprise.
Boseman was not yet 40 years old when he received a stage 3 colon cancer diagnosis in 2016
Director/writer Ryan Coogler had reportedly finished the script just weeks before the actor's death and then had to deal with his grief and loss as well as the studio's demand for a quick rewrite.
There was no way to replace Boseman, who not only brought Black Panther to cinematic life but also embodied the superhero's virtues offscreen. So Coogler had to pivot.
The result is "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," a film that pays moving tribute to the passing of the character of King T'Challa in a manner that also acknowledges the real life loss of Boseman.
"Black Panther 2" with Boseman would have been a very different film. I don't know what Coogler's original script had in mind but I would have loved to have seen that film.
the film uses brief clips of Boseman, reminds us of how deeply we feel his loss both as an actor who had not yet reached his potential and as a person.