Art imitates life: Letitia Wrighton turning grief into strength for ‘Black Panther’ sequel

Wright in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” —PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARVEL STUDIOS

With Chadwick Boseman having succumbed to colon cancer in 2020 after a four-year battle, it’s easy to blur the fine line that separates the painful circumstances surrounding that fact from the fictional art-imitates-life tale of his character T’challa aka Black Panther. The character is the very first Black superhero first introduced to comic book fans in 1966 via Fantastic Four #52.

In “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which opens in Philippines cinemas on Wednesday, the grieving citizens of Wakanda are up in arms against invincible forces raring to invade their sub-Saharan kingdom in the wake of King T’challa’s death.

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Also figuring prominently in this story is the antihero Namor aka Sub-Mariner (Tenoch Huerta), who decides to take action “to protect his underwater community.”

Will a new superhero emerge to save the day, or will someone be bold and brave enough to take over Black Panther’s mantle in T’challa’s stead? While Black Panther Vol. 5, launched 13 years ago, did introduce a worthy successor, a superhero’s jump from page to screen is never a done deal—so we’ll just have to wait and see.

But a “daring” journalist from our recent roundtable interview with Letitia Wright, who plays T’challa’s teenage sister Shuri—dubbed by some as “the smartest person in the world, even more so than Tony Stark”—did try to get the 29-year-old Guyanese-British actress to confirm if Shuri would indeed “pick up the crime-busting cudgel” on T’challa’s behalf.