The first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be released in year 2018 was the rather inspiring “Black Panther.” True, its main character already appeared in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” but this was his solo adventure. The titular Black Panther, an African superhero and monarch of a secretive high-tech African nation, became a surprise inspiring figure to real-life Africans and many in the world’s black communities. It was too bad that its star Chadwick Boseman passed away last year. But Marvel Studios is continuing development of a sequel even without him. They even named a new cast addition.
According to Variety, the production staff of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” may have just tapped British actress Michaela Coel to be part of its ensemble cast. Inside sources have it that Coel was seen in Trilith Studios (formerly Pinewood Studios Atlanta) in talk with director Ryan Coogler. Trilith is one of the principal filming facilities for Marvel Studios, and it is known that production work on “Wakanda” forever just started there last month. Studio executives have kept quiet on the matter, but the idea of having Michaela Coel portraying a potential new Wakandan character is interesting considering her previous filmography.
Born in East London of immigrants from Ghana, Coel (Michaela Ewuraba Boakye-Collinson) started out in theatre before breaking into film and television. In the latter she has been in the British anthology series “Black Mirror” and more recently in the BBC One/HBO co-production “I May Destroy You,” which has been a hit on HBO Max and earned her four Emmy nominations. She comes across as one that could definitely hold her own with cast members like Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett and, if he were still alive, Chadwick Boseman, who died of colon cancer in August 2020, his condition kept secret even while filming.
Trying to develop a “Black Panther” sequel without its lead star, especially after deciding not to recast him at all, is a unique challenge for Marvel Studios, as studio chief Kevin Feige might say. While Boseman’s loss had been emotional, Feige notes, “Everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We’re going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud.” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is slated for a 2022 release.
Image courtesy of The Independent.uk