Women lead Wakanda through turmoil in ‘Black Panther’ sequel

FILE PHOTO: Cast member Letitia Wright attends the premiere of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in London, Britain November 3, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LOS ANGELES — At the start of the follow-up to 2018’s groundbreaking Marvel movie “Black Panther,” the kingdom of Wakanda is reeling.

The beloved King T’Challa dies at the opening of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” a script change made after actor Chadwick Boseman passed away from cancer in 2020 just before the sequel was due to start filming.

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Walt Disney Co’s Marvel Studios decided not to cast another actor in the role of T’Challa. Instead, writer and director Ryan Coogler crafted a new film that put female characters at the forefront.

“T’Challa surrounded himself with powerful women,” actor Letitia Wright said in an interview ahead of the movie’s global rollout that starts on Wednesday. “We see these women in this film step into another level of leadership, together.”

“Black Panther” broke ground as the first superhero movie with a predominantly Black cast. The film took in $1.3 billion at worldwide box offices, and became the only superhero movie ever nominated for best picture at the Oscars.

Box office experts expect “Wakanda Forever” to bring crowds into cinemas.