Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star, Letitia Wright, will be continuing with the project next month despite rumors of her possible exit from the MCU. According to a new report, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star, Letitia Wright, will be continuing with the project despite rumors of her possible exit surfacing earlier this month. Directed by Black Panther’s Ryan Coogler, the sequel sees a return of many familiar characters such as Daniel Kaluuya’s W’Kabi, Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia, and of course, Wright as T’Challa’s sister and Wakanda’s leading scientist, Shuri. While it remains uncertain how the film plans to address the absence of the late Chadwick Boseman, Marvel President Kevin Feige made it clear that the universe will move on without T’Challa, and that the upcoming film will further the mythology and inspiration of Wakanda.
After Boseman’s tragic passing in August 2020, many were left wondering which hero would be the next to take up the mantle of Black Panther in the MCU. According to some reports, Wright was bumped up to top billing on the project, leading some to suspect that Shuri will adopt the moniker of Black Panther in future films. But after Wright was injured on-set in Boston last month, production on the film paused to allow her time to recover. Her temporary departure and a cryptic video she shared via Twitter last year — where she questioned the safety of Covid-19 vaccines — quickly sparked rumors that Wright was planning on leaving the MCU, with many thinking her exit was due in part to her vaccination status. This caused Black Panther 2 to skyrocket to trending on Twitter last Thursday, with rumors of her departure running rampant.
However, sources close to the production recently confirmed that rumors of Wright exiting Black Panther: Wakanda Forever are false. According to THR, insiders claimed that, “Panther 2 is indeed on track to resume production in late January in Atlanta.” The sources also went on to add that Wright will, in fact, be present on-set, essentially shutting down any rumors of her exit.
While it may be a relief to some that the hilariously witty and super charming character of Shuri will still be a part of the MCU (for now, at least), others haven’t forgotten about Wright’s anti-vaxx sentiments. It’s not a secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has become a deeply divisive social and political issue, and Wright experienced some major controversy for her stance on Covid-19 vaccines. Wright did go on to publicly apologize after receiving backlash for her ill-advised tweet last year, and has since then deleted her social media accounts. Calls to recast Shuri in the MCU picked up shorty after her anti-vaxx tweet went viral, but Marvel hasn’t, and likely won’t, cast a new actress to play the character—unless the need for Covid-19 precautions continues in the coming years.
It’s obvious that a lot is riding on this film, with fans expecting a fitting and action-packed sequel to the first film that will honor the legacy of Boseman. There’s no doubt that it’s a touch act to follow, considering Black Panther went on to earn seven Academy Awards, receiving high praise from casual viewers, Marvel fans, and critics alike. It’ll be interesting to see if the sequel can make as much of a universal impact on audiences as its predecessor, or if the story will crumble under the pressure of delays and some big-time controversies from one of its stars. For now, fans can expect to see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in theaters on Nov. 11, 2022, assuming there are no more incidents on or off-set.