Our first look behind the scenes at the upcoming Marvel sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is here. A video showing production underway on an elaborate set leaked online yesterday and is making its way around the web. While Marvel hasn’t addressed what it is we’re seeing in the footage, it very much looks like it could be a setup for the memorial scene many are expecting to see for Chadwick Boseman’s character, T’Challa.
The video was first posted on CoolFreeTV‘s Instagram page. While it isn’t there any longer, it’s still available from different sources, such as on the Twitter feed for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever News. You can see the brief video below.
The video is only eight seconds long so there aren’t too many spoilers to glean from the footage, not to mention that much of the set is obscured by scaffolding. The set seems to be of a design meant to reflect Wakandan architecture, with ornate runes etched into gold columns as well as an impressive statue of a black panther at the very end of the video. Whatever the room is meant to be, it’s clearly not a janitor’s closet. One possibility is that we’re looking at a redesigned Wakandan throne room.
Additionally, someone claiming to work on the set next door to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, posted a photo that they say shows a pool tank being used in the sequel to the Chadwick Boseman movie. It’s believed that this will be used for underwater scenes, which many are expecting to see as part of the plot. While it has only been rumor up to this point that the movie will have underwater scenes, this tank will help support that speculation.
The late Chadwick Boseman first assumed the role of T’Challa, Marvel’s Black Panther, in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Two years later, Boseman went from being one in a whole gaggle of Marvel heroes to leading his own solo film, Black Panther. The film was a huge critical and commercial success. The film raked in $1.3 billion worldwide at the box office. It also earned seven Oscar nominations, and brought three of the coveted statues home. As BBC noted, two of the three Oscars made history. Ruth Carter who for costume design and Hannah Beachler — who shared the win for production design with Jay Hart — became the first two Black winners of their respective awards.
Chadwick Boseman went on to reprise the role of Black Panther in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and the 2019 follow-up Avengers: Endgame. It was widely expected Boseman would reprise the role in a sequel to Black Panther, but fate had different and much more tragic plans.
On August 28, 2020, through Chadwick Boseman’s Twitter feed, his family confirmed the actor’s passing and revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2016. As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed at a December 2020 Disney Investors Day presentation that T’Challa would not be recast in order to “honor the legacy” of Chadwick Boseman. Speaking to Deadline the following January, Feige said that the sequel would be “about furthering the mythology and the inspiration of Wakanda.”
The decision to not replace Chadwick Boseman has not gone without controversy. In March 2021, film reviewer Emmanuel “E-Man” Noisette began a change.org petition to recast T’Challa, and as of today, it has over 36 thousand signatures. In a video accompanying the petition, Noisette says that if the plan is to kill off T’Challa in the narrative, that this “would be at the expense of the audiences (especially Black boys and men) who saw themselves in him.”
The full title of the sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, was revealed this past May, and otherwise, specific plot details have been scarce. Black Panther co-writer/director Ryan Coogler will return to once again fill both roles on the sequel, with Joe Robert Cole as co-writer. Many of the original’s cast members — including Angela Bassett, Martin Freeman, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, and Letitia Wright — are expected to reprise their roles. Also, earlier this month, Variety reported Michaela Cole of I May Destroy You fame had been cast in the sequel in an unknown role.
The release date for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is July 8, 2022, but before then fans will get at least one last chance to, if not see, then at least hear the late Boseman play T’Challa. Before his passing, Boseman recorded a performance for the upcoming animated series What If…? The episode takes place in an alternate timeline in which T’Challa replaces Peter Quill as Star-Lord.