“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” Stars Winston Duke & Tenoch Huerta on the Emotional Sequel
It goes without saying that when Ryan Coogler assembled the squad to start filming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, it was going to be an emotional shoot. The sequel to Coogler’s cultural and commercial juggernaut, 2018’s Black Panther, was forging ahead without its lead, Chadwick Boseman, who tragically passed away at 43 on August 28, 2020. The script had to be rewritten, and although the process has been kept largely under wraps, the entire spirit of the film had to be changed. Black Panther had lost its Black Panther, and the world had lost not only a star in Boseman but a warm, thoughtful human being who was only just getting started.
Coogler and his talented cast and crew found their way. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is slated for a November 11 release date and is one of the year’s most eagerly-anticipated films. Two major players in the sequel, Winston Duke, who reprises his role of M’Baku, leader of the Jabari Tribe and one of the heroes of the original film, and Tenoch Huerta, a new face in the film, playing Namor, the leader of the Kingdom of Atlantis and the film’s villain, spoke briefly with Collider about the bittersweet excitement of making the film. We suggest you read the whole interview there, but here are a few takeaways that caught our attention.
The feelings on the first day on set without Chadwick Boseman:
Duke: There was a lot of melancholy. In one way, it was very joyous to be back with people you love and care about and who are open to just play and experiment and create. And then, it was really sad, not having our guy and our friend, who was someone we looked up to, and was someone who expressed that they looked up to you. It was just really sad not to have that someone we knew as a person, and not just this artifice on a screen. He was a real person, and we really missed him. It was something that we dealt with, every day, and something that we got to understand, every day, that we’re not the only people grieving. Not only the people who are in front of the camera are grieving, it’s everybody. So, it was a lot of melancholy.
On M’Baku’s expanded role in Wakanda Forever:
Duke: You’re gonna see more. In some ways, he’s the same old M’Baku, where he’s very honest, very direct, and unapologetic. He’s so cool. But we also get an expansion of who he is. His role has grown. He’s survived so many of the current events of their world. He survived the Infinity War and End Game, and the great snap. He’s gone through that, and now he’s a part of the tribal council, and he’s more forward-facing in the world. You really get to see him grow in his role, and you see how everyone utilizes his presence. It just grows, so you’re gonna see a lot more. If you liked him, you’re getting more.
On stepping into the role of the villain as Namor:
Huerta: It was a process. The first day, when I was hanging on the wires, at some point, I could feel everything in my shoulders, in a good way, and I realized what I was doing, at that moment. It was like, “Okay, this is big.” And then, with time, you keep going, and you discover pieces of the character. When you have this director, all the sets, and these people around you, it’s easier. They give you time, and they create an atmosphere where you can create. That’s beautiful. I’d never imagined that, in this big machinery and in this big industry, there was room for creation, but Ryan [Coogler] always created that atmosphere.
You can read the entire interview here.
For more on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, check out these stories:
Featured image: Tenoch Huerta as Namor in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.