Black Panther: Wakanda Forever “does not shy away from the loss of Chadwick Boseman”, one of the movie’s stars has said.
Lupita Nyong’o said the film had been “emotional but therapeutic” to make and that the cast had “put our grief to good use” in the process.
Boseman, who played King T’Challa in the original 2018 film, died in 2020 from colon cancer.
Speaking at the world premiere of the Black Panther sequel in Los Angeles, cast members paid tribute to his talent, sense of humour, and his impact on their lives.
Asked how she would feel seeing the completed film, Nyong’o, who plays Nakia, told the PA news agency: “I have no idea, I’ve been bracing myself all day.
“It was an emotional movie to make but it was also therapeutic to get back together and share in our grief and put our grief to good use,” she said.
“This movie doesn’t shy away from the loss of Chadwick Boseman, it embraces it and we seek to honour his legacy in it.”
She added: “There were moments where we broke down, and there were moments where we laughed at memories we had of him, and there were moments where we just sat in silence.
“So I think that today is going to be a little bit of all of that.”
Letitia Wright, who plays Boseman’s onscreen sister Shuri, said his loss was “as tough as it sounds” and that she had put “my heart in this for him”.
“Everyone is going to feel our heart,” she told PA.
“It’s a moment for us to honour him and we’ve really taken it, it’s our heart, it’s my heart in this film for him and I’m praying that you guys feel the same.
“(The loss) was as tough as it sounds, painful, but one that we channelled into the film, tried to tell the truth and tried to honour him.”
Angela Bassett, who plays Wakandan queen Ramonda, added: “We’re going to feel his spirit, we’re going to miss him dearly but we’re going to pay homage to him, because he is my son, he is her brother, he is their king.
“We can’t forget each other and the impact this has made on our lives in life, in this movie and in Wakanda.”
Director Ryan Coogler said the process had been “complicated” but that he too felt Boseman’s presence at the event.
“We miss him deeply, he inspired us, but I feel like he’s here. When I see the crowds… when I see everybody, I feel like he’s with us still,” he told PA.
“So, do I think tonight is going to be emotional? I can’t predict how people are going to react emotionally, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.”
Other famous faces from the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the event included Daniel Kaluuya, who appeared in the first film, Simu Liu – star of Shang Chi And The Ten Rings, and Iman Vellani, from Ms Marvel.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is due for release on November 11.
It was confirmed on Thursday that popstar Rihanna had recorded a track for the film, titled Lift Me Up, which is due to be released on Friday.
The singer also attended the premiere with her partner, US rapper ASAP Rocky.