Ryan Coogler had completed the script for Black Panther 2 just weeks before Chadwick Boseman passed away, which obviously forced a total rethink of what the sequel could possibly look like. It took a long time for Coogler and his co-writer Joe Robert Cole to reimagine Black Panther without its star, and to come up with a story that would honour him as well as be entertaining.
Speaking recently to The New York Times, Coogler revealed what would have happened in the sequel, if Boseman had not tragically passed away aged just 43. “It would have seen T’Challa learning how to be a father in the wake of the Blip; It was, ‘What are we going to do about the Blip?’ That was the challenge. It was absolutely nothing like what we made. It was going to be a father-son story from the perspective of a father, because the first movie had been a father-son story from the perspective of the son.”
“In the script, T’Challa was a dad who’d had this forced five-year absence from his son’s life. The first scene was an animated sequence. You hear Nakia [T’Challa’s love interest, played by Lupita Nyong’o] talking to Toussaint [the couple’s child, introduced in Wakanda Forever in a post-credits sequence]. She says, ‘Tell me what you know about your father.'”
“You realize that he doesn’t know his dad was the Black Panther. He’s never met him, and Nakia is remarried to a Haitian dude. Then, we cut to reality and it’s the night that everybody comes back from the Blip. You see T’Challa meet the kid for the first time.”
Coogler continues; “Then it cuts ahead three years and he’s essentially co-parenting. We had some crazy scenes in there for Chad, man. Our code name for the movie was ‘Summer Break,’ and the movie was about a summer that the kid spends with his dad. For his eighth birthday, they do a ritual where they go out into the bush and have to live off the land. But something happens and T’Challa has to go save the world with his son on his hip. That was the movie.”
Namor was still going be a ‘villain’ in the first script; “Val [the CIA director, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus] was much more active. It was basically a three-way conflict between Wakanda, the US and Talokan. But it was all mostly from the child’s perspective.”
Looking ahead in the MCU, check out our guide to Marvel’s Phase 5.