PHILADELPHIA -- "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," the highly anticipated Black Panther sequel hits theaters worldwide on Friday.
With the tragic and unexpected death of its star, Chadwick Boseman, the cast and creative team returned to Wakanda for honor and healing.
Their grief is palpable. It's so real, so raw and so relatable to anyone who has lost a loved one.
"It feels like an opportunity for us as a family to just come together and make something that's really, really beautiful," says Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri. "We explore the ways in which they, as mom and daughter, struggle through grief."
The way the cast collectively mourns the loss of Boseman, we can feel that pain through Shuri, Queen Ramonda, and all of Wakanda as they bury King T'Challa.
"Of course, we're very emotional," says Angela Bassett, who plays Queen Ramonda. "It's how you process and use that, and maybe put it in the work."
The script to the sequel originally had King T'Challa grieving the loss of time after the blip.
Now, director Ryan Coogler had to decide: how does Wakanda go on? He said he took cues from their leader.
"When we lost him, it only made sense to follow in his footsteps," Coogler says. "He was a guy who led by example. We were trying to follow that example."
In this sequel, Wakanda is facing new foes and its people, and leaders, are tasked with finding strength.
The cast hopes you know that as painful as this film was to make, it is absolutely a celebration of life.
"It's the power of the person," Lupita Nyong'o, who plays Nakia, said of Boseman. "He just had a spirit. He lived his life to the fullest. He loved himself and expressed that love to other people as well. I'm just so grateful I got to know him."
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