The cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever just got a bit bigger. Variety has reported that Michaela Coel was spotted meeting with the film's director, Ryan Coogler, at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta and she is expected to join the star-studded cast. Marvel has not commented on the matter and is not expected to do so because the Disney-owned studio is historically tight-lipped regarding its biggest films.
Joining the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is simply a continuation of Coel's rise to fame in television in film. Last year, she launched her hit show, I May Destroy You, on BBC One and HBO Max. The gut-wrenching 12-episode series explores the life of Coel's character, Arabella Essiedu, as she seeks to rebuild her life after being sexually assaulted. Despite being snubbed the Golden Globe Awards, the limited series won over critics and became the highest-rated show on Metacritic in 2020. Most recently, Coel and company earned not one, not two, not three, but nine EMMY nominations for their work.
Beyond adding Michaela Coel to the cast, Coogler and company have a few more important questions to answers. First, Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger was seemingly eliminated at the end of the first film. However, he has continued to tease the idea that he could return in a sequel. Second, Letitia Wright, known for her role as Shuri, made controversial comments about COVID-19 and vaccinations last year. As a result, many fans pushed for her to be removed from the film. While nothing has been confirmed, Coel joining the cast could signal that Wright is being removed. Above all else, the first film's lead actor, Chadwick Boseman, passed away due to colon cancer last summer. Without Chadwick Boseman, many are left wondering how T'Challa will be portrayed, if at all, in the second film. Despite all of the questions surrounding the film, Winston Duke is confident that this "family" will come together to create "something special" in Atlanta.
"It was very emotional to read the script. It was emotional to pack to go back to set. But we're all a bit of a family now and we grieve together, and we're making something really special," Duke told Collider about the new film.
Production of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is underway in Atlanta, Georgia and the Marvel film is expected to land in theaters on July 8, 2022.
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