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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Producer Nate Moore On Honoring Chadwick Boseman Through The Film - Exclusive

When Chadwick Boseman made his debut as the Wakandan royal T'Challa in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War," he brought an intense humanity to his superheroic character that ensured his performance resonated with Marvel Cinematic Universe fans everywhere. That feeling only intensified with the first standalone "Black Panther" film in 2018, where Boseman's subtle, sensitive work solidified his character as one of the franchise's most compelling forces, whether he was taking part in the film's spectacular action or grappling with the mistakes of his beloved father. So when Boseman died in 2020 from colon cancer, fans were shocked and saddened, as the actor was not public about his diagnosis.

The loss of Boseman looms large over the sequel "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." The filmmakers' decision to have T'Challa's fate reflect what happened to Boseman gives audiences an opportunity to collectively mourn both the character and the actor through the film. This infuses "Wakanda Forever" with a poignance that's rare for a superhero film, and makes the movie an especially meaningful experience. In an exclusive interview with Looper, producer Nate Moore revealed that one of the challenges of making the film was ensuring it would pay tribute to Boseman's legacy while also providing a way forward for the story.

Moore explained that Phase Four of the MCU, of which "Wakanda Forever" is the final big screen release, is "very much about loss and renewal" after the epic changes brought to the franchise by "Avengers: Endgame." Given the real-life death of Boseman, that theme was especially pertinent to "Wakanda Forever."

Balancing 'grief and loss' with 'hope and renewal'

Nate Moore told Looper how the film's creators found a way to fuse the heartbreaking loss of Boseman with the storyline of the "Black Panther" sequel. "Chadwick's passing was sudden and surprising to us all, and as storytellers, you have to figure out a path forward that makes sense. We wanted to revisit Wakanda again because we knew how much it meant to audiences and to Chad, so this seemed to be a way where we could do that and still honor his passing and not skip past it. 

"[Director] Ryan [Coogler] and Joe Robert Cole are the co-writers who figured out a way to take what we had a little bit from the basics of the plot," Moore continued. "We always wanted to introduce Namor and figure out a character journey for Shuri and Ramonda and all the other Wakandans who then could mourn T'Challa's passing on the screen and marry them together, hopefully, in a film that deals with [not only] grief and loss but also hope and renewal and the promise of a path forward."

Moore noted that once the decision was made to include T'Challa's passing in the film, the goal was to tell a story that was as true as possible to the characters who were impacted. "If you think about Shuri, for instance, here's a woman who her entire life had lived with her brother," Moore pointed out. "He's her older brother, so since she was born, this man was by her side. So his passing would touch her and Ramonda the most deeply. And then you ripple out from there ... You tell the most organic story to the people who were closest to the man. And if the movie works, that's why, because hopefully, it doesn't feel artificial in how we're dealing with the grief; it feels [like] a natural outgrowth of the first film."

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is now playing exclusively in theaters.