It looks like M’Baku and Nakia were in the running to become the new Black Panther. Played by Winston Duke and Lupita N’yongo, respectively, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever screenwriter Joe Robert Cole told Rolling Stone that M’Baku and Nakia were considered as Black Panther replacements.
“We would kick around the ideas, and try to extrapolate where the story goes and what’s the most impactful choice — what’s the best journey?” Cole said. “And where do you go after the film in terms of those characters. M’Baku certainly was someone that got kicked around a little bit.”
Cole explained that T’Challa’s younger sister Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, was an easier choice since the character ultimately becomes the new Black Panther in the Marvel comic book series.
“There’s a natural organic-ness, I guess is the best way to say it, to her becoming Panther [because of what happens in the comics],” he said. “But you kick the tires on all sorts of ideas. And you just want to make the best decision and do what’s best for the story.”
When the Rolling Stone reporter, Brian Hiatt, said that Nakia would’ve been a great choice for the new Black Panther, Cole agreed. “That got kicked around! Her name got kicked around for sure,” he said.
Although Chadwick Boseman’s death changed the Wakanda Forever script, the introduction of his son remained in the original plot. In the film, a mid-credits scene reveals T’Challa’s child, who lives with Nakia in Haiti.
“T’Challa had a child in a previous iteration of the script prior to Chad’s passing. Him having a child was always in the DNA of what we wanted to do,” Cole said. “We just weren’t sure, after he passed, about the best way to incorporate him. So there were various iterations of his son being in our new story. And we finally landed on the reveal at the end.”
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