'Black Panther' Sequel Script Was Very Different Before Chadwick Boseman Died

Before the actor's 2020 death, a completed script draft focused on the king and his young son.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
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Chadwick Boseman is seen in the original Black Panther film.

Matt Kennedy/Marvel

Warning: Some spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ahead.

It's hardly news that Black Panther 2, aka Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, would've been a completely different movie if Chadwick Boseman were in it. The actor, who starred as T'Challa/Black Panther, died at age 43 in 2020 after four years with colon cancer. Without Boseman, the movie's script had to change completely, and grapple with the idea of replacing an irreplaceable superhero.

Now, we know how the Black Panther sequel would have unfolded with Boseman still in the starring role. Writer-director Ryan Coogler and co-screenwriter Joe Robert Cole spoke to The New York Times about the original script.

Coogler and Cole already had sent a first draft of the script to Boseman before his death. Instead of dealing with the loss of T'Challa, as the sequel does now, that script grappled with another major event -- the "Blip," as Coogler and Cole call it. That's the event in Marvel's 2018 Avengers: Infinity War where billions of people on Earth disappear due to Thanos successfully assembling the Infinity Gauntlet. T'Challa was one of those billions, brought back after five years by the Avengers in 2019's Avengers: Endgame.

That script "was absolutely nothing like (the eventual Black Panther sequel)," Coogler said.

The planned film focused on T'Challa and his son, Toussaint, whose mother, Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) remarried after the Blip, raising a child who thought his father was gone forever.

"We had some crazy scenes in there for Chad, man," Coogler said. "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."

Namor, the undersea villain of the movie as released, would still have been involved, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus' CIA director, Val, would also have played an important role.

If Coogler has anything to say about it, he'll make more Black Panther films. 

"I'll do it as long as folks will have me," he said. "But I think it's bigger than just me or Joe. ... I hope people are still making movies about Wakanda long after we're gone."

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