Lupita Nyong’o has revealed that the cast paid tribute to their late co-star Chadwick Boseman before the start of filming for the highly anticipated Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Nyong’o, 39, who reprises her role as Nakia from the 2018 blockbuster Black Panther, was featured on Ebony’s cover story about the sequel.
The actress revealed that before filming on the sequel began, the entire cast paid a visit to Chadwick Boseman’s grave.
Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016, but he kept the news to himself and his close friends. He died in 2020 after a four-year battle with cancer, with the cancer progressing from Stage III at diagnosis to Stage IV near the end.
After his death, Marvel insisted on not recasting his beloved character T’challa, stating that the sequel would be dedicated to Boseman’s memory.
Nyong’o revealed in the interview, ‘We visited his resting place before we started filming and we had that moment as a cast.’
‘We went with the new cast who hadn’t met him as well. It was our way of continuing this journey,’ the actress added.
‘It really doesn’t feel like we have anything to prove to his spirit. I feel very, very centered about how we brought him along with us,’ she added.
‘(Director) Ryan (Coogler)had an artist make this necklace that has Chadwick’s image on it and he wore it every day. So he’s been with us, he knows what we did,’ Nyong’o said.
Her co-star Danai Gurira, who returns as Okoye, revealed in the interview that Boseman’s death took a toll on the cast.
There’s a grief navigation that we were going through as we were stepping back into living in this world without our leader, our King, and our brother. That was a really specific journey to take in it,’ she said.
Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri, added, ‘I knew that he was in a better place, but I selfishly wanted him to still be here … with us, with me.
‘But for myself, I use the film as a love letter to Chad. Every scene, every word I utter is with fullness and with life as he would want me to live it, you know, as he did live,’ she continued.
‘It was hard. But we all used the time to grieve together and support each other. We used the time to fuel the story with our energy, with our love and with the power that was within us because it had to go somewhere, you know?’ she said.