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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has shut down production temporarily, according to THR. The reason for the shutdown is to allow star Letitia Wright, who plays T’Challa’s sister Shuri, more time to recuperate from an injury she sustained on the set two months ago in Boston. Wright’s injury, which reportedly happened while she was shooting a stunt, is said to be more severe than first indicated.
After Wright was injured, she returned home to London as Wakanda Forever continued filming, mostly at Marvel’s main production hub in Atlanta. But now it seems that director Ryan Coogler has shot everything he can that doesn’t directly involve Wright. The production will close down officially at Thanksgiving, with the plan for now to resume in early 2022.
A rep for Wright said in a statement to THR, “Letitia has been recovering in London since September from injuries sustained on the set of Black Panther 2 and is looking forward to returning to work early 2022…Letitia kindly asks that you keep her in your prayers.”
In an interesting side note, THR referred to Wright and her character as being “the lead of the sequel,” although Marvel to date has not confirmed that nor given any hint of the film’s narrative. But that casual reference, combined with the fact that Coogler and Marvel must now wait for her to fully recover before completing the movie, might certainly lend more weight to speculation that Shuri will assume the Black Panther mantle in the film.
Wright and her character were arguably the freshest face and biggest breakout from the cast of the original Black Panther, which grossed $1.3 billion in 2018 and became the first superhero movie nominated for Best Picture.
But uncertainty surrounded the inevitable sequel after the film’s beloved star, Chadwick Boseman, died of cancer in August 2020. Marvel said at the time that the role of T’Challa would not be recast, and Coogler set about reconfiguring the script of what is now Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Wright has courted controversy in the past year by sharing a video online that questioned the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. She also reportedly expressed those views on the set of Wakanda Forever. It is not known whether the actor herself has been vaccinated.
At the time of Wright’s injury, Marvel said that it would not impact the release date of the film, which was at that time July 8, 2022. It was moved last month to November 11, 2022 and will stay there, according to THR.