How does one make a “Black Panther” film without Black Panther himself? That was the challenge facing writer/director Ryan Coogler and the entire “Black Panther 2” team when star Chadwick Boseman suddenly died after a long, private battle with colon cancer. At the time, Coogler said he was unaware of Boseman’s illness and had spent the entire previous year “preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say [in ‘Black Panther 2’] that we weren’t destined to see.”
Coogler reworked the script and the role of T’Challa was not recast. So what was it like making “Black Panther 2” without Boseman? According to co-star Martin Freeman – who reprises his role as Everett Ross in the sequel – it was expectedly “strange and sad.”
“On the one hand, you’re making the film that you’re there to make, and there are scores and scores of people on set, joined in this endeavor to make the film,” Freeman told Collider. “But there’s also no question that, at the heart of it, there’s quite a gap now, and you felt it.”
Freeman said respect goes to Coogler for putting his all into getting “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” done, but described the strange experience of not having Boseman on set.
“It was odd with Chadwick [Boseman] not being there,” Freeman said. “There’s no way around that. I think everyone would find it pretty strange and sad, but at the same time, things don’t just end. It’s not like, ‘Well, that’s happened, so we just all have to go off and never do it again.’ But it was odd.”
The actor admitted that after Boseman died, Freeman wasn’t sure if “Black Panther 2” would still be made.
“I thought, ‘Okay, well maybe there just won’t be another one.’ But there are still other stories to tell within that world and other great characters. I think, and I hope that we’ve made a good film. I trust Ryan Coogler a lot.”
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is scheduled to open in theaters on Nov. 11, 2022.