Lupita Nyong'o Is Glad 'Black Panther 2' Didn't Recast Chadwick Boseman's Role: 'I'm Very Biased'

Lupita Nyong'o says not recasting Chadwick Boseman's part in the franchise is "laying to rest [T'Challa] and allowing for real life to inform the story of the movies"

Lupita Nyong'o and Chadwick Boseman
Lupita Nyong'o (R) and Chadwick Boseman in 2014. Photo: Jeff Vespa/VF14/WireImage

Lupita Nyong'o is addressing the decision not to recast King T'Challa in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

The Oscar-winning actress opened up to The Hollywood Reporter in a cover profile ahead of the release of the sequel to the 2018 superhero film that starred the late Chadwick Boseman in the title role, saying she supports T'Challa's chapter being closed.

But, clarified Nyong'o, 39, "That is not the death of the Black Panther, that's the whole point."

"It's laying to rest [T'Challa] and allowing for real life to inform the story of the movies," she added, admitting that while she realizes "there are all sorts of reasons why people want him to be recast," she doesn't "have the patience."

"I don't have the presence of mind, or I don't have the objectivity to argue with that," Nyong'o told THR. "I don't. I'm very biased."

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BLACK PANTHER, from left: Lupita Nyong'o, Chadwick Boseman
Lupita Nyong'o and Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther (2018). Matt Kennedy/Marvel/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Boseman died in August 2020 at the age of 43 of colon cancer and filming for the sequel began 10 months later, with Ryan Coogler returning as director and co-writer.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige first announced that Boseman's titular role would not be recast during Disney's Investor Day back in December 2020. The previous month, executive producer Victoria Alonso said that Boseman's character would not be rendered digitally either.

In a recent Empire cover feature surrounding the upcoming release of Wakanda Forever, Feige, 49, said the idea of recasting Boseman's T'Challa "felt like it was much too soon."

"[Marvel legend] Stan Lee always said that Marvel represents the world outside your window," he continued. "And we had talked about how, as extraordinary and fantastical as our characters and stories are, there's a relatable and human element to everything we do."

"The world is still processing the loss of Chad. And Ryan poured that into the story," Feige added.

Lupita Nyong’o: Proud of How She Weathered the Storm
Lupita Nyong'o on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter. Christian Cody for The Hollywood Reporter

In her interview with THR, Nyong'o revealed that she knew Boseman was sick but not terminally, and learned of his death via a text from Viola Davis.

"I couldn't believe it," the Us actress said. "I was paralyzed."

Of their working relationship while he was sick, Nyong'o said, "There were moments when Chadwick said no to me, and I was not happy with him" — but now, she has a larger understanding of why he had to make certain decisions due to his health.

"He affected how I move in the world," she added of her late costar. "But that's the thing about Chadwick. Chadwick wasn't trying to have everyone be like him. What he inspired was you to be your best self."

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in theaters Nov. 11.

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