‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ was supposed to explore T’Challa’s relationship with his son.
Ryan Coogler has opened up about his original idea for the sequel until lead actor Chadwick Boseman died of cancer in August 2020, explaining the idea was “nothing like” what eventually came to screen as he planned to centre it around the bond between fathers and sons, and would have dealt with T’Challa’s five-year absence after ‘The Blip’.
While Sub-Mariner Prince Namor was always intended to be the villain, the focus would have been on T’Challa’s relationship with his and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o)’s son Toussaint, who was born while he was away.
Ryan told The New York Times newspaper: “It was, “What are we going to do about the Blip? That was the challenge. It was absolutely nothing like what we made. It was going to be a father-son story from the perspective of a father, because the first movie had been a father-son story from the perspective of the sons.
“In the (original) script, T’Challa was a dad who’d had this forced five-year absence from his son’s life.
“The first scene was an animated sequence. You hear Nakia talking to Toussaint. She says, ‘Tell me what you know about your father.’
“You realise that he doesn’t know his dad was the Black Panther. He’s never met him, and Nakia is remarried to a Haitian dude. Then, we cut to reality, and it’s the night that everybody comes back from the Blip. You see T’Challa meet the kid for the first time.”
The movie would then jump three years after the conclusion of ‘The Avengers: Infinity War’ to find T’Challa bonding with his son, with the director admitting he had some “crazy scenes” planned for his late lead.
He added: “Then it cuts ahead three years, and he’s essentially co-parenting.
“We had some crazy scenes in there for Chad, man. Our code name for the movie was ‘Summer Break’, and the movie was about a summer that the kid spends with his dad. For his eighth birthday, they do a ritual where they go out into the bush and have to live off the land. But something happens, and T’Challa has to go save the world with his son on his hip. That was the movie.”
The original film would have given Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ CIA director character Val a bigger role.
Ryan added: “It was basically a three-way conflict between Wakanda, the US, and Talokan. But it was all mostly from the child’s perspective.”
The rewritten version of the sequel became a project centred on grief and vengeance, with T’Challa’s sister, Letitia Wright’s Shuri, at the heart of the tale.