The tragic death of Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman forced writer-director Ryan Coogler to completely overhaul the sequel’s plot. In a new interview with The New York Times, the filmmaker revealed his original plan for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which would have been a father-son story about Boseman’s T’Challa meeting his son Toussaint after a five-year absence caused by the blip.
In Coogler’s original vision, the opening scene of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever contained an animated sequence in which Toussaint’s mother, Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), asks him what he knows about his father.
“It was meant to be a father-son story from the father’s perspective,” Coogler explained. “You’re aware of that [Toussant] does not know that his father was the Black Panther. He never met him and Nakia is remarried to a Haitian. Then we switch to reality and it’s the night everyone comes back from the blip. You see T’Challa meeting the boy for the first time.”
Coogler continued, “Then it cuts three years and on [T’Challa is] essentially co-parenting. We had some crazy scenes for Chad, man. Our code name for the film was Summer Break and the film was about a summer the child spends with his father. For his eighth birthday, they perform a ritual that requires them to go into the bush and live off the land. But something happens and T’Challa has to save the world with his son on his hip. That was the movie.”
Unfortunately, Coogler had to make some major changes to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever after Boseman tragically died of colon cancer in August 2020 (he secretly battled the disease, even while filming Black Panther). The sequel instead begins with T’Challa also dying of an illness; his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) must continue to help protect Wakanda as the new Black Panther while mourning the loss of her beloved older brother.
See where Black Panther: Wakanda Forever landed on our list of the 25 best movies of 2022.