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How Kobe Bryant Inspired T'Challa's Black Panther 2 Tribute

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever production design Hannah Beachler explains how the late Kobe Bryant inspired Wakanda’s touching T’Challa tribute. Serving as the conclusion to Phase 4 of the MCU, Ryan Coogler’s sequel follows Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Ramonda (Angela Bassett) as they attempt to work through their grief following King T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) death. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever not only serves as a tribute to T’Challa, of course, but to Boseman as well, who tragically passed away in 2020 after a battle with cancer. Coogler’s follow-up to his 2018 original film was met with mostly positive reviews, with audiences and critics alike praising the way in which the sequel handles Boseman’s passing.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Beachler reveals that the T’Challa mural featured in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was partly inspired by the response to Bryant’s death in 2020. She explains that she and her team looked to real-world examples in terms of how societies honor those who die, which often includes immortalizing them in murals and artwork. Check out Beachler’s full comment below:

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Another version of the sequel was planned before Boseman died, but, instead of shelving the whole project upon his passing, it was reworked into a film that honors Boseman’s legacy and provides hope for the future. While Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sees Shuri facing off against Namor (Tenoch Huerta) and becoming the new Black Panther, the film is really about Wright’s character working through grief. The sequel’s emotional ending sees Shuri finally embrace her grief after attempting to suppress it or, as seen during her final fight with Namor, turn it into rage. The film’s final moments also feature scenes of T’Challa flashing across the screen before the ending credits role, making it clear that this is a movie very much dedicated to Boseman.

In addition to characters working through T’Challa’s passing, thus mirroring the real-life struggles that many people close to Boseman experienced, the film also provides hope for the future. Although T’Challa may be gone, his legacy will live on not just in the form of the new Black Panther but in the form of his son, Toussaint (Divine Love Konadu-Sun), whom he had with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). Toussaint, whose Wakandan name is actually T’Challa, is revealed during Black Panther: Wakanda Forever post-credits scene and represents how Boseman’s character’s legacy will endure, both within the world of the film and without.

It remains to be seen how Toussaint will play into future MCU movies, but the character will evidently serve as a reminder of what Boseman and his character brought to the MCU. After all, it wasn’t just the comic book character brought to life that MCU fans loved, but Boseman’s unique portrayal of him that so clearly struck a chord with audiences around the world. In addition to Toussaint, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever also sets up an interesting future for Shuri as the new Black Panther, who will undoubtedly carry her late brother with her in spirit during whatever challenges she faces next.

More: Black Panther 2 Sets Up The Perfect Phase 6 Avengers Motivation

Source: Vanity Fair

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