Black Panther
Sterling K. Brown, winner of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for 'Black Panther' and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for 'This Is Us,' Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong'o, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Michael B. Jordan, and Andy Serkis, winners of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for 'Black Panther,' pose in the press room during the 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 27, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. 'Black Panther' is the highest-grossing Marvel film of all time. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/Getty Images)

Ryan Coogler says BLACK PANTHER 2 was originally a father-son story, and would have followed T’Challa getting to know his son post-Blip. The Wakanda Forever writer/ director revealed the initial plans for what Black Panther 2 was supposed to be, prior to the original star, Chadwick Boseman's tragic passing. 'We had some crazy scenes in there for Chad.'

In an exclusive with the New York Times, Ryan Coogler and co-screenwriter Joe Robert Cole revealed the complicated backstory and original plot for Wakanda Forever. Coogler revealed that the sequel was to center on T’Challa’s relationship with his son and would have dealt with T’Challa’s five-year absence after “The Blip” - Thano’s mass extermination turning half the universe into dust.

The co-writers discussed working in the Marvel Universe, and the difficulties they faced making the highly anticipated and hit-sequel. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has grossed more than $420 million domestically and nearly $800 million overall.

“This film was difficult in ways that only the people who made it would know,” Coogler said in a recent interview. “There are things we put in there that felt revolutionary, that challenged the definition of having ‘a good time’ in a movie like this.”

The death of Chadwick Boseman, who played the title role in the original film — a noble but untested leader of the fictional African promised land Wakanda — forced a radical reimagining of the franchise. Coogler and Cole had recently sent Boseman a completed first draft of the script when the actor succumbed to a secret bout with colon cancer.

Their eventual rewrite opened with the death of Boseman’s character, T’Challa, turning the $250 million superhero film that followed into what can be fairly described as an extended meditation on grief and recovery. - NYT

In the video conversation, Coogler and Cole discussed their original vision for the sequel, how they addressed the tragic loss of Boseman and incorporated it into the film. According to the Times, the sequel still would have had Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner as its villain, but he would shared the spotlight with (Val) Valentina Allegra de Fontaine - the C.I.A. director, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and much more U.S. interference. Even as Black Panther battled against the powerful Namor, the film also would’ve made the father-son relationship its main focus. T’Challa would have been tied to his love interest Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) - who gave birth to a son, Toussaint, while he was away.

Coogler said to the Times: “It was, “What are we going to do about the Blip?” .. “That was the challenge. It was absolutely nothing like what we made. It was going to be a father-son story from the perspective of a father, because the first movie had been a father-son story from the perspective of the sons.”

Coogler continued. “In the (original) script, T’Challa was a dad who’d had this forced five-year absence from his son’s life,” Coogler said. “The first scene was an animated sequence. You hear Nakia talking to Toussaint. She says, “Tell me what you know about your father.” You realize that he doesn’t know his dad was the Black Panther. He’s never met him, and Nakia is remarried to a Haitian dude. Then, we cut to reality, and it’s the night that everybody comes back from the Blip. You see T’Challa meet the kid for the first time.”

“Then it cuts ahead three years, and he’s essentially co-parenting,” Coogler continued. “We had some crazy scenes in there for Chad, man. Our code name for the movie was “Summer Break,” and the movie was about a summer that the kid spends with his dad. For his eighth birthday, they do a ritual where they go out into the bush and have to live off the land. But something happens, and T’Challa has to go save the world with his son on his hip. That was the movie.”

The newly written version of Wakanda Forever became a symbol of grief, and centered on T’Challa’s sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), who eventually becomes the new Black Panther getting her vengeance. The original plan would have “basically [been] a three-way conflict between Wakanda, the US, and Talokan (the underwater kingdom ruled by Namor.) But it was all mostly from the child’s perspective.”

COLE: Just practically, everyone was going to be waiting to see how we dealt with it, so doing it right up front made sense. In terms of the characters, we needed to introduce a different version of Shuri [T’Challa’s sister, played by Letitia Wright]. We’re showing the moment that she becomes a different person than the person we met. She’s the smartest person in the world, but she can’t save her brother. What does that do to you?

COOGLER: We wanted to have an emotionally intelligent conversation. It’s about the transformative quality of grief and trauma. There’s this expectation with emotional trauma that you just need time. “Oh, give them a couple weeks off; they’ll come back to work and get back to it.” But that person is completely different in some ways. You just don’t see it because the change isn’t visible. - NYT

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