Black Panther’s Ryan Coogler & Kevin Feige discuss the new film; celebrate the legacy of Chadwick Boseman

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A scene from Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

The Black Panther Wakanda Forever Cast sat down to talk about the blockbuster film.

The cast of Black Panther Wakanda Forever united on stage to talk about the latest MCU film. Director Ryan Coogler, Kevin Feige (Producer) and Nate Moore (Producer) along with the cast of the film. Together the cast and crew reflected upon their time spent in production and once again discussed the passing of their beloved friend Chadwick Boseman. The panel was moderated by Jacqueline Coley / Rottentomatoes.

Related: Wakanda Forever Official Black Panther Podcast Debuts This Thursday, Nov. 3rd 

Moderator: Jacqueline Coley: Hello, everyone and welcome.  My name is Jacqueline Coley.  I’m the Awards Editor at Rotten Tomatoes.  It is my honor to welcome the cast and filmmakers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.  Joining us today, we have director, Ryan Coogler. 

We have Letitia  Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Tenoch Huerta.  Producer and president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, Mabel Cadena, Alex Livinalli, and also producer, Nate Moore. 

Okay.  I did the hard part.  Now we can have fun.

Black Panther
Marvel Studios Black Panther Starred Chadwick Boseman (Center)         

And it’s hard to say that, honestly, because this film, right from the very first moment, takes us to a place that I think we’ve all been thinking about.  But it was still just, I think, shocking to see.  But I wanna start with you, Ryan, because yesterday, I’ve already learned, as much as I would love to talk about the journey that you went on and the screenplay and then bringing this vision. 

I know all you want to do is talk about your amazing collaborators because you are the most generous director ever.  So, I’m actually gonna start with that question, which is, what was some of the favorite aspects of collaboration that you got to do on this?

Because I know, from everything from production design and craftsmen to as simple as giving the folks at Talokan their own version of Wakanda Forever.  This was a collaborative project that you sort of went about.  So, tell us about some of these fun collaborations y’all had on set.

Letitia Wright as Shuri in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Director Ryan Coogler:

It was great.  [clears throat] And I think that’s one of the great things, when you get to do a series of films, is that you get to have these mini-reunions, you know?  And it was such an amazing time that we had, making the first one.

And it was, you know, four years had passed.  And it was just great to see everybody again and to catch up and to see how everybody had grown.  See, you know, what kind of new things folks had went through.  We were also coming off of a pandemic. 

You know, we actually started the film, like, right smack in the middle of it.  And, you know, I think everybody experienced a sense of loneliness, you know, during the years that followed, you know, that crisis.  And  it was just great to see some of these folks and give ’em a big giant hug again, you know what I mean?

And what we were all processing, you know, it’s things that people go through, this feeling of grief and loss.  But it’s also great when you don’t have to do it alone, you know?  So, we were able to build that sense of community and we were able to welcome new members, you know, with the actors that portrayed Namor and Talokaneel [phonetic].  So, it was awesome.  It was awesome.  I really feel grateful.

Letitia Wright as Shuri in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Moderator: Jacqueline Coley Yeah, I’ve learned now after doing a couple conversations with Ryan, it’s kind of impossible to get him to brag on himself.  So, I’m gonna use the producers to do that a bit, if we don’t mind, because—

Director Ryan Coogler: Please don’t—

Moderator: Jacqueline Coley I’m gonna try.  I’m gonna try.  Because, look, sir, I will go ahead and say this.  I was lucky enough to be there at the Oscars luncheon when Black Panther was nominated for an Oscar.  There’s already been incredible heights that this franchise has done. 

But Kevin, I know, after Chadwick’s passing, one of the things y’all had to deal with, on top of the grief, on top of mourning him, was the task of bringing this next installment.  Which, I know for everyone, including Chadwick’s family and Ryan and everyone involved, was what you wanted to do. How did that process start, and how did it shift as you guys were going about the task?

Producer Kevin Feige: Well, I mean, Ryan and Nate really will be best to answer that.  In my memory of it, it was, the shock turned into, well, you know, what do we do?  What should we do?  Should we do anything?  And I think relatively soon, it was determined that this amazing ensemble of characters and this world that had been created onscreen needed to continue.

And Ryan pours everything and all of himself into everything he does, and had been working for almost a year, Ryan, right, on a version of the movie with T’Challa in it.  And was finding and pouring his life experience from making the first movie into that.  And then when we lost Chad, all of that, obviously, was then poured into this movie, as well.  And keeping the idea of a celebration of Wakanda and the character at the forefront, in addition to the grief that, of course, is gonna come with that.

Lupita Nyong’O as Nakia in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Moderator: Jacqueline Coley And Nate, I definitely wanted to talk to you.  ‘Cause, for folks that don’t know, my very first set visit was actually to Black Panther, to motherland.  They didn’t let me talk to you, Ryan.  You were too busy makin’ a movie.  He was like, “I ain’t got time for these press folks today.”  But I did get to talk to Nate. 

Related: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Pays Tribute to Fallen Hero

And in that meeting, you definitely talked about the world we were about to get in.  You were so excited about it.  And I just think of that joy.  And at that time, you were thinking of, like, the joy of Shuri.  And you were so excited that folks were gonna get to meet her.  I have to think going into the process of this one, it has to feel very much on the opposite end of the spectrum.

(L-R): Dorothy Steel as Merchant Tribe Elder, Florence Kasumba as Ayo, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Danai Gurira as Okoye in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Nate Moore Producer: Yeah.  I mean, I think, as storytellers, you just wanna be as honest as possible with what the characters would experience in the film after they experience the loss of T’Challa.  And that is not just grief, to your point.

It’s also sometimes joy, sometimes humor.  It is all of the emotions anyone feels with any profound loss.  But we had such a collection of talent and such a collection of characters, who all have a different point of view with that loss, that I think Ryan found ways to express all the different colors of grief through the ensemble.  And that’s not just the Wakandans, by the way, who definitely feel it, but it’s the loss that Namor and the Talokan feel because of the loss of their homeland.

Related: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Post-Credits Scene Confirmed 

So, I think Ryan was savvy enough as a filmmaker and storyteller to weave all those themes across the entirety of the film.  Which is, I think, why hopefully the film will be powerful for people.

Wakanda Forever
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Moderator: Jacqueline Coley Yeah.  It’s not all, I don’t wanna make anyone feel like it’s all doom and gloom.  Because there is so much levity.  There is so much joy.  And I do have to say, some incredible action in this film.  Like, legitimately very incredible…

Black Panther Wakanda Forever releases in theaters on November 11. Black Panther runs 2hrs and 41 minutes and is rated PG-13. Tickets are now available for pre-sale online.


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