It has been nearly a year since Chadwick Boseman died, and his Black Panther co-star, Lupita Nyong’o, says that she’s still coming to terms with the loss. During her virtual appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Nyong’o opened up about what she’ll miss about starring opposite the actor when filming for the Marvel sequel commences.
“He led the movie with such compassion and just presence. When Chadwick came on set, he was present, and he brought his entire being to that movie. He was just so humble as well,” she said, reminiscing about their time working on the 2018 film. “That leadership will be missed. And he was my friend, so it’s hard to think of him in the past tense still.”
“I do know for certain that he would want us to do this,” she added. “I feel that what [director] Ryan Coogler has planned very much honors him and his legacy. So I feel good about going back.”
Boseman died in August 2020, at the age of 43, following a four-year battle with colon cancer. The late actor played the role of T’Challa, the Black Panther, whom Disney announced in December would not be recast for the sequel, nor will he be digitally recreated out of respect for Boseman’s memory. However, since the mantle is one taken on by whoever is deemed the protector of Wakanda, another character may end up becoming the Black Panther.
“Black Panther 2, opening July 8, 2022, is being written & directed by Ryan Coogler,” the studio tweeted. “Honoring Chadwick Boseman’s legacy & portrayal of T’Challa, @MarvelStudios will not recast the character, but will explore the world of Wakanda & the rich characters introduced in the first film.”
Last month, Nyong’o told Good Morning America that, although it would be different without “our King” on set, the cast and crew of the sequel are determined to carry on Boseman’s legacy.
“I know that all of us are dedicated to reimagining or carrying on his legacy in this new Black Panther, and Ryan Coogler has some really, really exciting ideas that I look forward to bringing to life with the rest of the family,” she revealed.
In addition to his iconic Black Panther character, Boseman has been a prominent presence during the 2021 awards season for his roles in his last two films, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Da 5 Bloods. The late actor has won several posthumous awards, including a Critics Choice Award, Golden Globe, Gotham Award, NAACP Image Award, and SAG Award, with his wife Taylor Simone Ledward accepting each honor on his behalf. He is also currently nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
“Thank you, God. Thank you, Leroy and Carolyn Boseman,” Leward said while accepting Boseman’s SAG Award for Outstanding Male Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. “If you see the world unbalanced, be a crusader that pushes heavily on the seesaw of the mind. That’s a quote by Chadwick Boseman. Thank you, Screen Actors. Thank you, Chad.”